Hometown: Angus, Ont.
Program: Computer Science
My experience at Lakehead-Georgian has been full of incredible learning opportunities, chances to network with experts in the Computer Science industry, and positive interactions with a supportive community of peers.
Before entering the program, I had only some practical experience with the technology stacks required for workplace programming. After a year of studies with a hands-on curriculum and knowledgeable faculty, I rapidly expanded my skill set and successfully prepared myself for my career in computer science.
My peers and I learn more than just the technology stack or programming language in our daily courses. Our professors teach us how to effectively use the tools around us (using unique features in code editors, version control systems like Git, debugging tools, independent problem solving, and good practices when querying databases) and how imperative these concepts are when working with real-world applications.
The faculty at Lakehead-Georgian are all very friendly and knowledgeable about their field of study. If you have a question about the coursework, need practical advice on a problem, or have to talk to someone, your professors are always there for you! All my professors go above and beyond to ensure everyone thoroughly understands what we’re learning, how we apply it to our schoolwork, and why it is best practice to do it that way.
My peers have all been very supportive too. If one of us is stuck on an issue or has a question, we are happy to guide each other in the right direction and help each other grow as programmers. We actively look forward to lending a helping hand to anyone who asks, a quality I find is crucial in a developer community.
I have involved myself in many projects during the school year, although the one most important to me was one with the most significant impact on my peers. In early December 2021, a few friends and I wanted to create notifications for assignment and examination due dates.
My peers had already designed a dynamically changing Google Sheets workbook for this purpose. However, to have someone manually remind everyone when and what was due would be difficult. So as programmers, we did what we do best: automate it.
Using open-source Python libraries, we created a Discord bot for our community server, providing features such as daily due date announcements, private study group creation, and course time reminders using scheduled events. I helped lay the groundwork for interfacing with the Google Sheets API, implementing event scheduling with HTTP requests, and exploring ways to improve the bot’s features.
This project is very special to me because of its positive impact on my peers and the important lessons it taught me about software development.
After deploying this project, my peers and I had a much easier time keeping track of when urgent due dates were coming up and became more punctual in handing assignments in. It helped everyone set a goal toward working on projects before the deadline and planning what to work on day by day. Based on the feedback we received about the bot, the automated notifications saved everyone from forgetting a due date at least once.
In terms of takeaways from this project, I found that you can’t always find the solution written for every problem. Sometimes, you have to help yourself to find the answer you need. Devise a strategy to determine the root cause of an issue. Read the documentation or cookbook to see how you can configure the code to your purposes. Use various tools like debuggers to understand what your programming does under the hood. These lessons freed me from dependence on resources like Stack Overflow, turning me into a better problem solver and programmer.
I chose the Lakehead-Georgian Computer Science co-op program because it would allow me to acquire a diploma, degree, and relevant work experience in a field of study that I love.
I admired the idea of having a career-oriented curriculum from college and a theoretical education from university, all in four years of study. My long-term goal for post-secondary school was to become job-ready and academically knowledgeable in my field upon graduation. A co-op program would also allow me to get my footing in the job market and gain valuable work experience I would not otherwise get in other programs. Many friends and mentors told me that having previous job experience was vital when applying and competing for post-graduate job opportunities.
Thus, I needed a post-secondary program that would give me all three!
After finding out about the Lakehead-Georgian program through a school event and seeing how it fit my aspirations, I knew it was the one for me.