Received Transfer Management: Improving the Recipient Experience for Dropbox Transfer; Cloud on the Horizon: Rise of Cloud and its Effect on the Novice Developer

Khator, Raghav, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Graham, Daniel, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

From interacting with people on the other side of the globe through social media to accessing information about nearly anything on Google, the digital era has brought a new time of increased accessibility. Cloud computing and cloud applications such as Dropbox and Amazon Web Services (AWS) account for a large part of the digital era’s growth. This portfolio consists of two papers. First, a technical paper details an internship project for the Dropbox Transfer service, viewing cloud computing from a cloud service developer’s perspective. Second, a science, technology, and society (STS) research paper addresses how cloud computing has made a career in software engineering more accessible to people switching into the field. The final deliverable for the technical paper was the received transfer management system, a new system that helped Transfer users locate their previously received transfers on the Transfer page. After working with the design and product teams in Transfer to refine the system’s user interface and backend design, the system was bug tested before it was rolled out to the Dropbox office. Through interviews and cost analyses, the STS paper analyzes how cloud computing has increased access to resources and information to help novice developers get into the computing field.
Dropbox Transfer is a cloud product that allows users to deliver up to 200 gigabytes of files to their customers or colleagues. To find their previously received transfers, Dropbox Transfer users would have to look through their email inbox or their direct messages to find the transfer link, slowing down their workflows and decreasing recipient satisfaction. Working with the product manager and designer, the requirements for the feature and a new page design inspired by the existing sent transfer management page were laid out. After the requirements were set, the first step was to create an initial database table schema with the help of the team’s backend expert. Next, the table was created in the Dropbox database and the application programming interface (API) routes to integrate with it were built using Python. To use these API routes on the frontend, Typescript and React methods were created to display the user’s received transfers and load the fully designed page. Once the feature was tested by the team, it was released to 100% of Dropbox employees and set up for the release to 100% of Dropbox Transfer users. The received transfer management page allowed users to find their received transfers in a much more efficient manner, improving their experience with the product and their likelihood to convert to a paying user.
As college tuition rises and salaries start to stagnate, people are beginning to look to technology jobs to help them pay the bills. Instead of going back to college, people choose to self-teach the necessary skills through personal projects and online courses. To learn industry-standard skills, novice developers need access to industry-level resources. Since hardware is expensive, aspiring developers are turning to cloud computing to get the same resources they would have had at a large university or company. Using the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT), this paper will analyze how cloud computing has made a career in software engineering more accessible to novice developers. First, after reviewing the literature to determine the skills necessary to work as a software engineer, this paper presents the influences of developers and customers on the evolution of the cloud by analyzing the origins of cloud computing technologies such as AWS and Dropbox using the SCOT framework. Second, compiled from ten interviews with current software engineers who switched into the field, a frequency analysis of the most helpful technologies shows that AWS was used to gain access to resources for projects and YouTube was used to gain access to technical knowledge for those projects. Finally, by comparing the costs of cloud services to the equivalent hardware, cloud services were found to save novice developers hundreds of dollars in project resource costs and increase the accessibility of computing resources through affordability. By increasing access to computing resources and technical knowledge, cloud computing has increased access to high-paying technology jobs for those looking to switch into the software industry.
From designers selling their work online to new developers creating small projects on virtual computers, cloud computing has diversified the internet. This portfolio explores how cloud computing has helped two different groups of people. The technical paper focuses on a new feature for Dropbox Transfer, a service that helps freelancers manage their business through the sharing power of Dropbox. The STS paper focuses on how many cloud computing technologies have helped new developers improve their skills and resume to be hired as software engineers. Both these papers encompass the flexible nature of cloud computing by analyzing its meaning to different social groups. Through developing for the non-technical user and researching the benefits for the technical developers, this portfolio built a deep understanding of the values embedded in the design of cloud computing and the effects of those values on the users of cloud computing.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Cloud Computing, Social Construction of Technology, Website Development

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Daniel Graham
STS Advisor: Bryn E. Seabrook

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