Alumni Success Stories
GVSU graduate co-founds Michigan Software Labs
November 22, 2019
Joshua Hulst graduated from GVSU with a BS in Computer Science (Honors College) in 2009. After graduating from GVSU, Josh completed his MS in Computer Science at Michigan State University with a thesis in the area of computer security. An avid life-long learner, Josh is currently working on his MBA at the University of Michigan. After working for a time at GE Aviation, Josh co-founded Michigan Software Labs with Mark Johnson, where he continues to serve as a Managing Partner, consulting with clients to deliver custom software strategy and leading internal teams to deliver software solutions. Since its launch in 2010, Michigan Software Labs has grown rapidly. Based in Ada, Michigan, the firm has grown to a team of 30 professionals delivering custom software solutions to Fortune 500’s companies such as Caterpillar, Danaher and many others.
Under Josh and Mark’s leadership, Michigan Software Labs has also earned a number of industry recognitions, such as Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces, Clutch Top UX Design Agencies in the USA, and most recently, West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to work for. Last month, the company announced it will invest over $840k to add 27 additional jobs at its Ada location, partially supported by a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant of $108k.
Over the years, Michigan Software Labs has hired a number of GVSU Computer Science alums. Josh is an enthusiastic supporter of GVSU’s School of Computing and Information Systems. In early November, Josh visited GVSU’s campus where he spoke about production software development to a group of computer science students enrolled in a mobile app development course. Michigan Software Labs also recently hosted the GVSU Computing Club at the company’s Ada site and regularly sponsors the computer science senior project course and internship program providing valuable experiential learning opportunities and mentorship to GVSU computer science students.
When asked how his studies at the GVSU School of CIS helped prepare him for his successful career in the software industry, Josh indicated that well-rounded classes with experience in every area of software development gave him the foundation he needed to build his career upon. He says that his studies at GVSU taught him how to learn, which has been critical in his work as a consultant. He also mentioned the vibrant and growing software community in the West Michigan area, and organizations such as Software GR and the many software-related events which he could regular attend to learn, network, etc.
Josh advises current CS students at GVSU to use their time as students to build a strong foundation in both technology and professionalism. He encourages students to interact with businesses and learn to think in terms of what value the software solutions they create can bring to real people and organizations. The technical details are very interesting, but the opportunity to make an impact on real lives even more so.