Devansh Shah learned about WIMTACH in the early days of summer 2021 when he joined a WIMTACH Hackathon. He’d joined the competition with friends for a fun challenge, but through the process, learned about an opening for the role of Student Researcher for an upcoming collaboration that enabled students to develop their skills for real world business use. “We did not end up doing that well, but we did end up on the radar of Dr. Purnima,” he said. With a simple application for the role, he’d started on an extended learning journey with a team of skilled developers within the WIMTACH team, a journey that he’d previously described as among one of his most enriching experiences to date. In August 2021, he officially joined WIMTACH as a Front-end student developer for an applied research project collaboration with Naborino Inc. His work contributed towards his co-op requirements for his Software Engineering Technology program at Centennial College.
Although Devansh was initially slated to work with the Naborino team for an 8-month term, after proving himself, he was among the student developers who were selected to continue on for another project collaboration with the company. This enabled Devansh to really hone in on his goal to become a professional Front-end developer and gain the confidence to program independently. “Coming into WIMTACH I did not have as much knowledge as I do [now] about a lot of things, but WIMTACH gave me the opportunity to learn about the whole software development lifecycle and various technologies that I had previously no exposure of,” he said. “They gave us the scopes to learn about things on our own, which I think is the best part, that you are learning at your own pace, and you are applying your knowledge to use instantly.” For Devansh, this was a very important feature of his internship. He emphasized that having the support and freedom to really craft your learning experience with the guidance of senior developers enabled him to learn efficiently. He improved faster than he expected; he was able to gain instant feedback and clarity on subjects to learn in his independent study outside of school or his internship.
The Naborino research project focused primarily on creating a web application to support group buying for neighborhoods and communities within the Greater Toronto Area. This project enabled Devansh to gain his first practical exposure to different technologies such as Angular and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) such as, Rest, RPC and SOAP APIs, and critically, the skills needed to become a mature Front-end developer. “It was the thing that drew me towards the project initially,” he said. His role on the WIMTACH research team enabled him to gain insight into how development projects were structured and how he might carry out his own creative ideas in the future.
Teamwork was a major hallmark of this success. Devansh especially enjoyed the experience of learning from other students on his team. In fact, a big part of his confidence to learn, was driven by the knowledge that everyone was in the same boat as him since the other students were often learning about subjects for the first time, just like him. As a result, he felt reassured in knowing that one mistake wasn’t going to be the end. This inspired Devansh to push himself to really meet the needs of his team to ensure that they could rely on him to contribute towards a smooth development process. “All of them were new to the environment that we were exposed to and so it was a really good environment where we were all learning from each other and by sharing that knowledge, I think we grew a lot more than we could have done individually,” he said. He enjoyed his experience so much, he chose to continue as a part-time developer long after his co-op requirements were met. In the end, he was very proud of his work as well as the work of the research team; it was also a great comfort to know that their efforts were appreciated by Naborino Inc.
Now a Product Engineer at DLT Labs, he uses many of these lessons regularly to inform his decisions at work. For instance, one key responsibility of his current role is gaining an understanding of the needs of businesses that require the services of his company. Fortunately, for Devansh, this is a skill that he had carefully refined through his regular interactions and participation in project meetings with the Naborino research team, in which he learned about how to acquire knowledge needed to design custom applications while also using the Agile Methodology and Scrum Framework. More, since the DLT Labs development team is structured like the WIMTACH research team, Devansh was able to find his footing quickly. “I know how to communicate with my team and use collaborative tools a little bit better,” he said. “I think WIMTACH really prepared me for the role.”
Devansh hopes that other students will consider a co-op internship with WIMTACH to gain the exposure they need to prime them for professional developer roles. “I think having that kind of exposure in a safe, nurturing environment would be really good for anyone starting out new, so I recommend WIMTACH to anyone who is looking to gain a new experience,” he said. “WIMTACH has provided me with a lot of confidence.”
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