A Groundswell of Momentum (Startup Stories 17.03)

 Jon Lehto, ProNav, HF 2017

Jon Lehto, ProNav, HF 2017

A groundswell of momentum -- that is how I would describe the effects of being a part of Hacker Fellows. I initially came into the program excited to learn, but without an effective outlook on my future in software development, I now see my job as a career and my occupation as a pleasure. The Hacker Fellows program has given me the insight to learn and had helped me advance my career with a company that is keen on learning, ProNav Marine.

My start in software may be a little unusual. I had the opportunity to run a paper route when I was 10. I did that for a year and a half and left the proceeds in a bank account for another year. I then went ahead a bought the coolest thing I could think of, a laptop! It just fascinated me. 

 My first Dell laptop

My first Dell laptop

I started staying up late trying to figure out how-on-Earth simple 1 and 0’s could transmit art and ideas across the world. This was the start of my career in software development. Encouraged that not only could I learn about the world, but I could also help build software, I had started asking around for work in anything computers. I got a break at 16 when two college kids decided to hire me to build websites for them. From there was a non-stop, accelerated path into creating a career. 

 
 My early web design work with  Xeratec

My early web design work with Xeratec

 

At eighteen, I started working for a larger data management company. Following I had found some limited success in facilitating website contract on the side. Then at twenty-one, I was admitted into Hacker Fellows, and once again found a renewed excitement in a career in software development. Hacker Fellows helped me become employed full time with ProNav, a startup company based out of Houghton, Michigan.

 
 Screenshot of ProNav app

Screenshot of ProNav app

 

Working at ProNav has helped me develop wholeheartedly my interest in all things computers. I now have the privilege of working on an enthusiastic team that wants to teach me everything they know. I have been able to get a grasp of how to secure producers and where to market products. I have been able to work with circuit board designs and learn about practical hardware applications. However, I have mostly been developing two apps and interacting with communication over WiFi and BlueTooth.

 
 Product testing at ProNav

Product testing at ProNav

 

Hacker Fellows provided me with the tools to write elegant code and to taught me not to be afraid of new technologies. I now am empowered to suggest a new direction or technology in the projects I work with. 

Hacker Fellows has also encouraged me to join a group called Tech Talk. Making burritos, drinking coffee, and talking tech. Being in this group of software developers has allowed me to flesh out the merits of everything from object-oriented design to approach the idea of freelancing. Tech Talk, and more importantly Hacker Fellows, has helped me turn computer programming into a lifestyle.

Shoot me a note if you want to attend Tech Talk in Houghton/Hancock. 


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Jon Lehto is a 2017 Hacker Fellow who studied Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University. He is currently working with ProNav Marine in Houghton/Hancock.