What You'll Wish You'd Known about Software Development

Jake Linenthal (B.S.'08) and Brandon Roberts (B.S.'15)


The primary goal of this talk is to give a snapshot of our professional life and answer questions of students interested in entering the industry. We work on Milliman MedInsight, a platform for doing analysis on all kinds of healthcare data. Some interesting uses of our software include:

  • Evaluating the quality of care provided by physicians
  • Predicting the probability that someone will be admitted to the hospital
  • Finding disparities in care across geographic regions or demographics


MedInsight is primarily a set of complex, interconnected web applications. Web development is a fickle beast. Javascript is among the most popular languages, but it is far from the easiest to work with. Front end developers are tasked with piecing together a myriad of libraries that solve vastly different problems.

React.js is a powerful library and paradigm that simplifies web development using one directional data flow and functional programming concepts. I will give an overview of React.JS and discuss the following:

  • Is React better than MVC (Model-View-Controller)?
  • Isn't React slow? Surely we can't do better than our pals JQuery, Ember, Angular, or Backbone?!
  • Why you should take that Programming Language Paradigms course! 


Healthcare data is a fickle but societally interesting beast. I will discuss complex and sometimes counterintuitive data issues like:

  • What does it actually mean for a person to be admitted to a hospital?
  • If John Smith performs a surgery as a heart specialist and later treats someone as an ER doctor for a kidney stone, should they be treated as the "same" physician?
  • How can one classify / analyze / derive meaningful conclusions about the myriad of services that healthcare providers offer? The industry has recently increased the number of ways to classify patients by an order of magnitude - has it helped?

Speakers' Bios:

Brandon graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2015 with a B.S. in Computer Science. Jake graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2008 with a B.S. in Math and Computer Science and will receive an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 2017.