Studying programming was an obvious choice for Manar Elgamil — the field is bursting at the seams with opportunity in her country of Egypt and beyond. However, she lacked passion and wasn’t sure of her ability to work in the field long-term. But, once she came to Dalhousie University to pursue a Bachelor of Computer Science, she realised there was more to the practice than met the eye. “After completing my first semester, I fell in love with programming and knew that I was pursuing something that I would like to do for the rest of my life,” she explains.
By joining Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science Elgamil got to rub shoulders with some of the industry’s best — each of whom had a unique role to play in enriching her journey to mastery. Their insights were crucial when she designed her first app in a single term. The process involved working with more experienced students, interacting with teaching assistants who acted as real-world clients and collaborating with others to perfect the innovation.
Life outside the classroom has been equally experiential. Elgamil, like all computer science undergraduates at Dalhousie University, was presented the opportunity to gain work experience through co-op placements with esteemed companies. For her, this meant working as a data science intern at MOBIA Technology Innovations. For others, the institution’s commitment to ensuring every student applies knowledge has translated into fruitful placements at IBM, Twitter, and the Ocean Tracking Network.
Postgraduates enjoy similar opportunities, which is precisely why Qiwei Sun set his sights on the Faculty’s Master of Applied Computer Science. “The programme’s structure was made up of numerous project-based courses that would let me enjoy experiences within the industry while strengthening my coding skills,” says the student from China.
In the classroom, he’s certainly advanced his existing skills while developing new ones. At Dalhousie University, anyone can do so with the right tasks. So far, Sun has successfully built a distributed database and a server-less hotel booking system. He is currently on the lookout for the perfect winter co-op that would aptly allow him to continue putting knowledge into practice. Thankfully, there’s no need to look too far — opportunities abound close to Dalhousie University’s vibrant campus.
The Halifax advantage
Situated on North America’s East Coast, Halifax in Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities — partially due to the fact that its local tech industry is expanding exponentially. Hence why Dalhousie University has been able to effortlessly fill its network with prominent decision makers from renowned organisations. These connections play a pivotal role in ensuring experiential learning opportunities to students across the Faculty of Computer Science’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
It’s little wonder why the Faculty boasts a 100% placement rate or why its cohort is as diverse as can be —- 67% of students are international, representing a whopping 71 countries. A majority chose Dalhousie University for its door-opening capabilities.
“Since the university helps students find co-op placements for three work terms, we get to graduate with one year of experience, thus differentiating us from other fresh grads who don’t have any experience,” attests Elgamil. “I am very interested in working for a start-up company, and Halifax with its booming tech industry certainly offers many opportunities related to that.”
To ensure all students enjoy an enriching journey to optimum employability, Dalhousie University keeps its offerings just as inclusive as they are exciting. The WeAreAllCS initiative and the renewable Women in Technology Scholarship both aim to champion and support a new generation of female tech powerhouses. These launches have resulted in a 170% increase in female-identifying students at the Faculty of Computer Science.
It’s easy to thrive at a university that wants you to, which is why all budding computer scientists arrive at Dalhousie University with just a dream before leaving with the confidence to make it a reality.
“I want to be a full-stack developer at IBM in Halifax,” shares Sun. “My Dalhousie University education has definitely prepared me for the job I will soon apply for.”