Conestoga news

March 24, 2022 10:39 AM

IT forum connects students to industry

Students and faculty in Conestoga’s School of Applied Computer Science and Information Technology gathered virtually on March 3 for a day-long forum hosted in collaboration with the college’s student chapter of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS).

CIPS is a national federation that certifies IT professionals across the country and abroad. The society works to advance the IT profession by fostering standards, best practices and integrity for the benefit of professionals and public interest.

The event featured presentations and workshops led by the Conestoga community and industry leaders. Topics included job networking, cryptocurrency, cyber security, mental health, the future of work, and programming. A panel of Conestoga graduates was also on hand to share their professional journey with students.

“The pace of innovation and technology no matter what field you’re in is constantly evolving, so as long as you can learn and problem solve, those have been the big things that I have found as an advantage,” said Justin Frenette, a 2011 graduate of the Software Engineering Technology program and co-founder and technology director at Him & Her. “I found that Conestoga and the practical skills you’re being taught, the work ethic, the problem-solving will outperform a lot of the just theory-based learning that you would get from other schools. I found that’s been the number one contributor to success.”

Frenette and other panelists also cited the co-op opportunities, hands-on learning and exposure to extracurricular activities as key supports in their development and finding success at school and after graduation.

“Whether it was helping find a co-op or the professors, I found that everybody at Conestoga really cares about you and your career,” Frenette continued. “They’ve been a big part of my success and my career path, and also Him & Her and the business I started.”

Other panelists included Chris Banks (’19, Computer Programmer, and vice-president of product development at Limbik), Craig Johnston (’19 IT Network Security, and network engineer at ATS Automation Tooling Systems), Christopher Renaud (’06, Computer Programmer/Analyst, and chief technology officer at Derivative Path) and Margaret Tavares (’19, Computer Programmer/Analyst, and business development & operations manager at Vehikl).

"The School of Applied Computer Science and Information Technology is proud to once again act as a central meeting place for industry partners, alumni and learners," said Jim Edwards, chair. "I would like to thank all of our speakers for sharing their backgrounds and experiences with our students." 

Conestoga’s School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology is based at the college’s Waterloo campus with access to one of the fastest-growing technology sectors in North America. Leading-edge programs offer a 21st-century education that prepares graduates for exciting careers in the innovative world of information and communications technology. With a strong connection to local industry, project-based and work-integrated learning enable students to solve real-world problems and engage in new technologies that empower a professional journey in a rapidly growing sector.