Just an hour before Juan Munoz Rivera’s scheduled remote interview for a WIMTACH student Android developer role, his WIFI adapter stopped working. Without a bike of his own, he ran three kilometers to the nearest Best Buy to purchase a new adapter and ran back home in time for his interview with just five minutes to spare. He explained that he was eager to join WIMTACH after learning about the hands-on experience provided to students while studying in Centennial College’s Game Programming course, and he was fixated on earning a position. “When they told me that they would like to hire me as an Android developer for the project, [it] was very special for me,” he said. “I was so glad that someone was willing to give me a chance here in Toronto.”
When he finally joined WIMTACH, Juan assisted the research team with the development of a novel social media platform for a WIMTACH industry partner. As a student Android developer, he developed features like a wallet which enabled users to save and earn tokens as well as make transactions. He also designed components of the User Experience framework, assisted with Back-end development, and debugging for the project. “I saw it through until the very end,” he said.
Following the success of his Android development work, he was also tasked with assisting the WIMTACH team in a project collaboration with Winters Instrument as a Mobile developer. This opportunity introduced him to the Flutter framework. “I have to admit that I was a little bit scared, a little bit nervous about trying to work with this unknown technology for me,” he said. “They trusted me so I decided to jump right into the project and everything worked fine.”
Learning how to use Flutter posed an initial challenge for Juan, but ultimately, he was able to learn the fundamentals skills of how to use the framework in a matter of weeks. Since he was familiar with various object-oriented programming languages like C Sharp and Java, he was able to transfer those skills in learning how to use Dart, Flutter’s programming language. Relying on a mix of resources such as the official Dart documentation files, help from teammates, tutorials and Chat GPT, he was able to get helpful guiding tools for using the language. He explained that Chat GPT was especially useful when he was not able to find resources online.
These multi-streamed paths of learning paired with the application of his knowledge on an on-going project reinforced his software development skills. Although Juan already had two years of development experience before joining WIMTACH, he found that working with other WIMTACH student developers who were more proficient than him helped a lot. Juan noted that he improved on his design skills as well as his proficiency with architectural patterns. He also learned about Jet Pack architecture, components for android development, and how to apply the MDP architecture. “You can learn so much from working on a team and you can learn so much from experience itself,” he said. “There is nothing like hands-on work in a real-life environment.”
Working closely with other student developers like Sina Sarshar Pour to overcome challenges throughout projects helped Juan to also build his collaboration skills. Through teamwork, he was able to learn effective communications skills, and in particular, how to explain ideas to express a sense of urgency for different tasks and also explain the nuances of how to circumvent challenges. He found this education especially useful in one instance, when he discovered that a data set was not working as programmed for a feature and needed a team member to solve the issue. With his renewed experience working in a team, he was able resolve this error. Additionally, he noted that working with another senior Android developer provided him with a mentor to build upon his knowledge.
Armed with this experience, in just a few months after graduating from Centennial College, Juan was able to get a part-time professor role at an academy in Toronto, teaching students how to develop video games. He was recently offered a full-time position as an Android developer in a small company in the Toronto area. “I am pretty sure that most of my experience at WIMTACH had a lot of weight on that decision for them to hire me,” he said. As a result of his positive experience at WIMTACH he is always recommending WIMTACH to his roommate. “There is no doubt in my mind I will recommend WIMTACH to absolutely any student here in Centennial College,” he said.
For more stories, please visit: https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/news/