Addressing the Tech Talent Shortage in Nebraska

Here in Nebraska, IT and other technical sectors are facing a shortage of qualified talent.

Nebraska Dev Lab is helping to address the lack of developers in our area. Our Integrated Pipeline Program is designed for individuals at all experience levels to grow their skills or prepare them for a career change within their organizations.

To learn more about Nebraska Dev Lab, email or schedule an online meeting with Education Program Manager Malika Yadgarova.

Doane University
Don't Panic Labs


Sometimes our industry’s terminology varies and can lead to some confusion. Two examples are the terms “developer” and “programmer”.

When we talk about entry-level programmers in the context of Nebraska Dev Lab, we mean individuals skilled in creating coding artifacts and who can follow established patterns but require significant supervision and oversight.

Entry-level developers are skilled in the tools and techniques for designing and building software, and they can analyze, design, develop, and test their software with some guidance.


Each entry point – or tier – is based on the current skills of the individual. Regardless of where an individual joins the Program, they all finish at the same place: as an entry-level full-stack developer.

Nebraska Dev Lab Integrated Pipeline
Nebraska Dev Lab Tier 1

Tier 1 (Novice)

This tier is designed for individuals with no programming experience and who are seeking a career change. At the end of the 20-week immersive experience, these individuals will be high-quality entry-level software developers in their sponsor organizations.

Tier 2 (Programmer)

The second tier assumes basic programming knowledge but not necessarily experience in modern software development techniques. Here is where participants put into practice what they learned in Tier 1 or what they have gathered through previous experience to emerge as full-stack programmers. As part of this tier, participants will spend five hours a week at their sponsor organizations as part of a practicum with their mentors.

Nebraska Dev Lab Tiers
Nebraska Dev Lab Tiers

Tier 3 (Emerging Developer)

Here is where participants jump into the team aspect of software development. Participants will work in groups on an actual software project. They will finish the tier as emerging full-stack developers. As part of this tier, they will spend ten hours a week at their sponsor organizations as apprentices with their mentors.

Tier 4 (Developer)

The final tier answers many questions about how to best architect and design software solutions, such as the one they created during Tier 3. They will emerge as full-stack developers. As part of this tier, they will spend twenty hours a week at their sponsor organizations as apprentices with their mentors.

Nebraska Dev Lab Tiers

The Nebraska Dev Lab Integrated Pipeline Program takes a different approach to educating aspiring software developers.

With its thoughtfully constructed curriculum, the Program provides a depth of learning not often found in typical undergraduate programs and code camps.

Nebraska Dev Lab comparison matrix

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To learn more about Nebraska Dev Lab, email or schedule an online meeting with Education Program Manager Malika Yadgarova.


What is Nebraska Dev Lab?

Nebraska Dev Lab is a partnership between Don’t Panic Labs, a software development company in Lincoln, NE and Doane University. Its purpose is to offer innovative training programs that help address the shortage of software developers in the Lincoln and Omaha region.

Who are the sponsor organizations?

Sponsor organizations are companies in the Lincoln and Omaha area in need of software developers. These organizations commit to sponsoring a participant(s) in the Integrated Pipeline Program by paying the participant’s program expenses as well as providing a wage for the duration of the program.

Sponsors provide their participants with a software development position upon the successful completion of the program. Some organizations may sponsor individuals already working for them. Others will be sponsoring individuals outside of their organization. In this case, organizations and participants will be paired as part of the application and selection process.

Who are the participants?

Participants are individuals sponsored by companies to be in the Integrated Pipeline Program. Some participants currently work in the company sponsoring them and are being retrained as software developers. Other participants do not currently work in the company sponsoring them and will be hired as software developers by that company upon completion of the program. These individuals will be paired with a sponsor company at the end of the application and selection process.

What are the qualifications for participants?

We have the goal of a 100% success rate. Therefore, candidates must be committed and motivated to completing the program and pursuing a software development career at their sponsor organization. Candidates must demonstrate they are problem solvers with the confidence, perseverance, creativity, independent learning ability, and teamwork/communication skills to do so effectively. Prior education/training/experience demonstrating problem-solving/reasoning abilities is a plus. Programming experience is not a requirement.

What is the application and selection process to be a participant?

The first step is to understand the purpose of the program and the role and qualifications of a participant. If an individual possesses the commitment, motivation, and problem-solving skills necessary to complete the program, and is available for the full 20 weeks of the program on a full-time basis, that individual is invited to apply for the Integrated Pipeline Program. Invitations to apply can come from Nebraska Dev Lab, a sponsor organization, or a community organization aware of the program. If you need an invitation, please contact Nebraska Dev Lab.

The next step is to complete the application. After reviewing the applications, and possibly asking the applicants to complete a short survey and exercise, select applicants will be invited to a half-day workshop/interview at Don’t Panic Labs approximately one month before the start of the program.

Shortly after the workshop/interview, participants selected for the program will be paired with a sponsor organization (if they are not already paired) and invited to participate. Formal agreements with their sponsor organization will be signed at that time. These will vary by the sponsor organization.

How much does it cost to sponsor a participant?

The cost of the Integrated Pipeline Program is based on the Tier each participant begins.

  • Tier 1 is $15,000 (20 weeks of instruction)
  • Tier 2 is $10,000 (15 weeks of instruction)
  • Tier 3 is $6,000 (10 weeks of instruction)

Compared to the costs of recruiting and training entry-level developers, the Integrated Pipeline Program is an amazing value and a great investment. Its price is also competitive with other training programs.

How much will sponsor organizations fund participants for living expenses during the duration of the program?

The amount will vary by sponsor, but the minimum amount is $15 per hour. Some sponsors may provide more.

Is health insurance provided to the participants for the duration of the program?

The availability of health insurance will vary by sponsor. Generally, a participant already working at a sponsor organization will maintain whatever benefits they have. A participant not employed at a sponsor organization may not be provided health insurance.

How many participant positions are available?

The program works in small cohorts of around ten participants who will start at Tier 1. We are currently identifying organizations to sponsor participants.

It is anticipated that each cohort will have a mixture of participants who already work for their sponsor organization and participants who do not currently work for their sponsor organization.

What if I have additional questions?

Please email any additional questions to