Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, WIMTACH has continued its efforts to support its Student Researchers to gain experiential learning, job opportunities, employable skills and industry knowledge of digital health sectors. This series will highlight how students and faculty who work with WIMTACH are managing the ongoing changes to their daily lives.
The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Centennial College students to make necessary adjustments to flatten the curve while discovering a new sense of normalcy. As both a Software Engineering Technology student and a Student Researcher at WIMTACH, Keshav Joshi, a student and a Student Researcher at WIMTACH found balance between work and school because of two vital components: support and collaboration.
“At the very start [of the pandemic], it was a bit challenging for me. But WIMTACH brings real-life experience to the College through its projects and the collaboration you need to complete them. My colleagues have been supportive, especially Majura. He’s been too supportive, motivating me and believing in me to do the work.”
Keshav first heard about WIMTACH through a friend who has been working with WIMTACH since their first semester together last year. “In the first semester, she referred me to Majuraand said there’s a project over there that relates to my expertise, which is mobile application development.” Even though he didn’t have prior experience related to his studies, it was his dedication and determination to enter the IT industry that made his application to work for WIMTACH successful.
All of the projects Keshav has worked on are College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) Program projects wherein companies receive $10,000 vouchers to address their specific challenges with innovative solutions.
His first two were with Northline Canada and Cupanion. Northline is an intelligent traffic company that deals with traffic and infrastructure. Keshav’s main task was to develop a mobile application to control the security cameras found at major road intersections. For Cupanion, he helped develop a mobile application that could communicate with a companion wearable device. Cupanion is an environmentally conscious company that makes reusable water bottles and other products that, when used, facilitate a donation to select charities. But it’s his third project that he’s currently working on that has presented an unexpected challenge: communication.
Before the pandemic, students would work closely together, share their progress and problem-solve on the spot. For Mama’s Life Products (MLP), a natural skincare company, Keshav is working on a mobile application that will accompany an e-commerce website the rest of his team is working on. Since the project began in January this year and is still ongoing, the way the WIMTACH has been working has changed immensely.
“The challenge is the reporting of the tasks because the look and the feel of the product are very important. Although there are scheduled meetings with the client, Majura and my team members, meeting the requirements of the client is difficult through virtual meetings. But we’re getting it done”
Collaboration is a key factor that has kept WIMTACH applied research projects going as scheduled. Student Researchers (with WIMTACH team) are corresponding using Slack, Microsoft Teams, email, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other online tools at fixed times. It has provided structure during these uncertain times, which has kept most projects on schedule. This continued structure caused Keshav to notice “a big change and a big growth” within himself, and he can trace the beginning of this change to the beginning of his time at WIMTACH.
“I’m handling the MLP e-commerce mobile application well because I feel confident in doing the work. If I wasn’t working at WIMTACH, I would’ve never thought about virtual reality or augmented reality. My speciality was Java, but I’ve gotten exposure to different technologies and platforms, and it has turned into my daily routine. WIMTACH has given me the never-give-up attitude and that’s pretty much the IT industry. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that WIMTACH has prepared me for it. In the future, I see myself as a successful IT professional.”
He’s well on his way. Recently, Keshav received an offer of employment from Northline Canada to work with the company as a Software Engineer.
His advice to students struggling during this time is simple: Stay focused and clear on what you have to do. It’s difficult, but not impossible.
For updates on WIMTACH’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://mailchi.mp/d9a20aac07f0/covid-19-update
To learn more about the CVTA program, please visit https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/about/frequently-asked-questions/
For more information on WIMTACH projects and services, please visit https://wimtach.centennialcollege.ca/