Computer science major Mike Dunnegan ’16 builds coding skills at BuildingBlok

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Mike Dunnegan ’16, sporting Colgate maroon, stands with the BuildingBlok team.

Mike Dunnegan ’16, sporting Colgate maroon, stands with the BuildingBlok team.

Colgate students are participating in internships in a variety of fields and locations this summer. This post is by Mike Dunnegan ’16, a computer science major from Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., who is interning with BuildingBlok.

This summer, I am working for a tech startup in New York City called BuildingBlok. BuildingBlok offers a cloud-based construction management application. My job involves writing test code and developing new features for the app.

Technology has always fascinated me, and BuildingBlok is on the cutting edge of the current technological revolution. The app connects construction professionals, making their managerial responsibilities far more efficient than ever before, by organizing invoices, schedules, contacts, and much more.

BuildingBlok’s CEO messaged me over LinkedIn during my spring semester and asked to set up a call. I quickly scanned his page and saw that BuildingBlok was hiring an intern skilled in Ruby on Rails — a popular web development framework. I had worked as a Ruby on Rails intern last summer at app developer SpicyTuna Labs. This was exciting! Surely he had scouted me for the position!

Nope. He wanted my former boss to work for him. But, I got my foot in the door, answered his questions, and explained that I’d be perfect as his Ruby on Rails intern at BuildingBlok. We set up an interview in New York City, I completed a developer test project, and the CTO hired me for a paid position over Skype. I felt so smooth.

BuildingBlok has a great dynamic. Despite the fast-paced and intense environment, everyone’s always ready to crack a joke. It mimics the small, personal atmosphere that Colgate offers. I get treated as an equal, and I get recognized for my accomplishments.

Working on BuildingBlok’s software has helped me sharpen my critical thinking and programming skills, while collaborating with a team of smart and interesting people.


So far, I have completed two major projects: I have written test code for BuildingBlok’s timesheet feature, and I have implemented a usage tracker. I’ve written about 2,000 lines of code, which have been pushed into production. It’s great to know that my code is being used and is helping build BuildingBok.

Software development isn’t easy. We write code, and it doesn’t work. We fix it. We write more code. That doesn’t work either; it can get frustrating. That’s the story of any software developer. But, getting lost in abstract data manipulation becomes incredibly rewarding once the code works.

Out of college, I’m looking to get a similar type of job in software development, and perhaps I will work for BuildingBlok again.