Computer science student, startup innovator

Meet Devon Bernard ’16 Computer Science.

Bernard’s experience with programming began at the young age of 13 when he used it to create 2D indie games. His portfolio of languages started with C#, but quickly grew to include JavaScript, PHP, C++, C, and Python. The passion for programming, having started by the indie games, soon extended to building websites, browser extensions, and desktop tools. According to Bernard, the reason behind this new-found passion was “to increase (his) productivity and have fun.” He knew RPI was the right fit because it is a reputable engineering school, mixing well with his focus on science and engineering.

Currently, Bernard is keeping busy with a variety of projects. One such project is EcoValve, a smart faucet that won the 2014 New Hampshire Startup Challenge Business Plan Competition. He has numerous other software ventures that require constant releasing, marketing, and fundraising. Programming knowledge has helped him in the workplace beyond knowing the details of each language.

He says, “Programming is a strategic way of thinking and problem solving. Developing this ability makes it easier to analyze situations and find optimum solutions. Also, having this skill set gave me opportunities to connect with others and gain their insight into other non-technical and business experience.”

Despite a full schedule already, Devon has no plans of stopping. When asked where he hopes to be in 10 years, he replied that, on a professional level, he hopes to have his projects develop into profitable and sustainable businesses that will make a difference in the world. On a personal level, he doesn’t plan to stop coding, either. Using his talents, Bernard hopes that he has a future of “solving intriguing and challenging problems that will change the world for the better.”

Bernard has used the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship for many of his projects, citing it as a “great resource for advice, getting feedback, and making the right connections.” He adds, “Whenever I have a new idea or need business guidance, I ask for their opinion and expertise.” To hopeful entrepreneurs, he leaves three pieces of advice: “Don’t fear failure, pivot early and often until you find what works, and entrepreneurship isn’t about instantly finding success, it’s about the persistence and dedication to keep getting up after failure, learning from your mistakes and others, and believing in yourself until you make it.”

For more information on the Severino Center, visit: http://scte.rpi.edu/.