Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Before Rosali Salemi started taking classes at Nashua Community College, her creative outlet was to redesign book and DVD covers using desktop publishing programs.

“I didn’t like the covers they came with, so I designed my own,” said Salemi. “I have a collection of over a thousand books and DVDs. I spend a lot of time looking at them, so I wanted them to look appealing.”

The time spent tinkering with design software was also the start of her budding interest in computers.

Salemi, who graduated from Milford High School and took a full-time job at Wal-Mart, was urged by a friend to consider taking classes in computing. She spent the next seven years taking classes part-time at Nashua Community College before transferring to the University of New Hampshire at Manchester in 2014 to complete a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems.

“I decided on a bachelor's degree because it covers a wider range of skills," Salemi said. "You have a better chance when you start job hunting if you have a bachelor's degree.”

Salemi chose UNH Manchester because it was close to her home in Milford, NH. She also liked the small classes and the industry-oriented Computer Information Systems program. After taking courses in database development, website development and coding, she decided her creative interests would be best suited to a career in web development.

"Web development seemed like a good match because you need to know how to write content, create an aesthetically pleasing site and know the nuts and bolts of creating a website,” Salemi said.

Salemi knew that a bachelor's degree wouldn’t be enough and that she also needed to begin networking with local industry professionals. In January 2017 she landed an internship with the Mont Vernon, NH based software company Interware Development Co., Inc. The small, woman-owned company creates software solutions for services such as the processing of fees for renewing vehicle registrations via the websites of local government agencies and municipalities.

“I really liked being in a professional office environment, which I hadn’t experienced before,” said Salemi. “It was great to get some perspective and learn beyond books and group projects.”

During the four-month internship, Salemi worked on the company’s website, performing bug fixes and content updates, and designed an email template for communication with customers. One of the projects Salemi completed was adding a code so customers can only enter zip codes in one of two acceptable formats, otherwise an error message displays. She said this prevents errors during the payment processing.

Salemi said she enjoys the web devleopment field because it combines technical, creative and interpersonal skills, and that collaboration is key.

“It’s important to connect with other people," Salemi said. "Some people do that with blogs. I decided I wanted to do it through designing websites."

Salemi plans to intern again this fall, hoping to find a larger company where she can get even more diverse projects and continue to build her portfolio. She wants to get as much experience as possible before graduating from UNH Manchester in May 2018.