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12 Min Read

Applying Learning to Create Practical Solutions with Liberty’s Estimation Station

SIP Title: Liberty’s Estimation Station
Student Name: Hyrum Johnson, Game Programming

A rite of passage unique to University of Advancing Technology (UAT) students, the creation of their Student Innovation Project (SIP) is an essential step before graduation. For most UAT students, coming up with a fresh idea for their SIP can be a challenge that requires brainstorming, critical thinking and perhaps even a small epiphany.

For Hyrum Johnson (Game Programming), the idea for his SIP, Liberty’s Estimation Station (L.E.S.) came about quite naturally, as the family business is in construction. Estimating is a time-consuming, but crucial, element of contracting any project. It all goes back to the family business, as Hyrum’s father started Rockwell Homes, a top builder of houses in Eastern Idaho, as well as a custom home building business called Liberty Homes—the namesake of L.E.S. While home for Christmas and working for Liberty Homes, Hyrum’s brother presented him with a common problem: Why is it so difficult to get an accurate quote for a home building project?

With this dilemma in mind, Hyrum easily dreamt up the possibility of a software that can not only help contractors tally up actual costs of a project based on square footage, but also factors in fluctuating material costs. For example, by using past data, L.E.S. can calculate changes in prices for concrete, lumber and other essential materials. And with this vision of a solution, Hyrum set to work on L.E.S., a software designed to create more accurate quotes for home building. An ambitious goal to be sure, but UAT would turn out to be just the environment needed to make his vision a reality.

Hyrum was a motivated student in high school as well. He began taking college coursework long before receiving his diploma, so he can speak firsthand to what makes the UAT experience different from other universities.


The classes are smaller and not as lecture-based—you get your hands in there and do the projects,” Hyrum explained. There are not as many quizzes on the theory behind code, rather, you actually write code and make projects out of your code.”

Originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, Hyrum knew he wanted to be a game programmer from a young age; he just needed to find the right degree program to help him learn the skills and knowledge. The clear answer arrived after Hyrum filled out his career interests on his SAT form: A flyer from UAT advertised its one-of-a-kind Game Programming degree, exactly what Hyrum was looking to find.

In order to bring his SIP from idea to fruition, Hyrum would soon develop a slew of skills at UAT. From Python to C#, he had to learn multiple programming languages, as well as develop a keen understanding of machine learning and algorithms. He says he is grateful to his professors at UAT for guiding the direction of his learning in order toachieve his complex SIP goal, as well as the freedom of “long hours with me, myself, and I” needed to actually complete the project.

Specifically, Hyrum is grateful for the guidance of Professor Tony Hinton.

Professor Hinton helped me a lot with the AI and machine learning,” Hyrum said.“Everything I needed help with, I could go and talk to him about it. He told me that I needed to learn Python, so he kind of put me on the right course. He’s been a great help, and I am really appreciative of him.

Hyrum feels that UAT coursework has been both harder and easier in some ways than he anticipated.

Liberty-Inbody-2It's rigorous coursework, and there's a lot I'm learning that I never thought I would be learning. But I've been able to pick it up so quickly that I've surprised myself with how natural coding feels to me,” Hyrum said. It's been a crazy journey doing all this advanced programming and I’ve thought, ‘Wow, there's no way I could learn thatand I just learned it.

Hyrum will soon be moving to Baltimore to complete a religious mission, but he hopes to eventually apply the skills he learned at UAT toward a career in the game industry. He’s keeping an open mind in terms of the studio and location of his future job, but he would love to work for one of his favorite video game publishers or developers, like Activision or Treyarch. He feels the practical experience he’s gained at UAT can help get him there.

There's not a teacher that's sitting up there lecturing you, which is very nice. I don't really like lectures,” Hyrum said. It's great to have teachers who have hands-on experience who can help you—everyone is really accommodating.

Begin Earning a Game Programming Degree at UAT:

Did this student’s story spark your interest in UAT? Now is the perfect time to request more information or even apply for admission! Wherever you are at in your journey toward pursuing higher education, UAT’s friendly Admissions and Financial Aid teams can offer you support and guidance. Take the next step into your future by reaching out today!


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