When Thi Thu Ha Nguyen was a high school student she slowly began learning about the development world and programming. Driven by this curiosity, in 2018, she decided to seek further education by enrolling in Centennial College’s Software Engineering program which has a co-op requirement for students.
“I wanted to try something new and I wanted to work with logic. For programming you work with logic a lot,” she said. “I really like that once you get familiar with the rules of programming … later you can be creative.”
After learning more about programming, she began internships in the beginning of 2020, with the goal of becoming an independent and mature developer. However, the early stages of the Covid-19 quarantine period in Ontario, made it tough for her to really gain the full benefits of her learning term. With the shifting climates of workplaces during that time, she found that it was hard to really learn the skills she needed.
“At that time, I was very new to web development,” she said. “Covid-19 had just started … it disrupted my internship so I didn’t learn much at that time but I learned some concepts for web development.”
Fortunately, this past April, when she was looking for another co-op placement, a friend introduced her to WIMTACH and she applied for a position as a Student Researcher. “In the beginning when I entered WIMTACH I was a front-end developer and my first project was Wavez,” she said.
Since then, she’s had many opportunities to grow her developments skills at WIMTACH. In fact, while working on a project for Dicentra, she became well equipped as a Full-Stack Developer, often switching between Front-end and Back-end web development for the project.
“It was kind of a very good experience for me and I think it’s also meaningful for my career path later,” she said. More, she really felt that she gained a lot from the collaborative learning environment at WIMTACH.
“I’m very lucky because I worked with a very great team. They are all students so we understand each other and some of them are senior so they support me a lot in dealing with problems and new features and they think outside of the box,” she explained.
She added that beyond the technical skills that she’s been able to absorb, working with many people on a team helped her to resolve programming problems fast and it also encouraged her to think outside of her programming process when coming up with solutions to her problems.
“They give a lot of good directions to develop features which I never thought of,” she said.
Working alongside supportive teammates, she was able to improve her public speaking skills. As well, she felt that WIMTACH facilitated a safe space for her to come out of her shell.
“I really appreciate the way the team supports each other,” she said. “[Initially] I didn’t communicate a lot but because they are very open and they are supportive, I started communicating.”
Through regular presentation sessions with her team, over time, she was able to build more confidence in her work. “At the end of the week, we have some sessions to share knowledge so in that session you present whatever you find interesting during the week and that also helped me with presentation and communication skills,” she said. “Somehow that boosted my confidence.”
With her graduation around the corner, Thi Thu Ha has started thinking about the employers that she would like to join after she’s completed her program in December. Still, she’s not worried about the prospect of finding a job and hopes that eventually she will gain a role as a Full Stack Developer.
“I’m a bit confident because of my experience in WIMTACH,” she said. “At WIMTACH I worked independently and I worked with clients … and I collaborated with all members of the team … we interacted and communicated to work as effectively as possible and that is one thing that I’m going to add in my interview. I have some real experience with clients and with a big team.”
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