In the second year of BCIT’s Computer Systems Technology (CST) Diploma, speciality options add depth and enable graduates to emerge with well-rounded skills that are essential for a career analyzing, designing, and developing software solutions. Starting this year, CST is adding a new Tech Entrepreneur Option designed to meet the needs of small tech companies and students who want to create their own startups.
Teambuilding as a foundation for success
More than two-thirds of Canadian tech companies have only one to four employees. These small firms need to be nimble to grow and compete in the thriving sector. For students who hope to build their own start-up company, or expect to work in one, the Tech Entrepreneur Option will help them learn the wide range of skills needed to start and grow a company.
Instead of the usual Computer Projects Practicum, students in the Tech Entrepreneur Option will work on creating a business from the ground up, including ideation, market validation, legal requirements, business plan, pitching, and creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
D’Arcy Smith, CST Program Head at BCIT Computing, says anyone can come up with an idea, but coming up with one that is valuable for someone else is what it’s all about.
“The foundation is teambuilding. During the first few weeks, students will have to figure out how to work together, and small groups will be assigned at random to work together and see if the idea is viable,” he explains. Each student will end up spending about 500 hours working on a business in a group setting.
Ideation, pitching and positioning
During the ideation phase, students will vote for the top ideas they want to investigate further. D’Arcy believes ideation is a great way for students to work on their own idea in a safe place, to explore and fail, and then try again.
Students will also learn how to pitch and position ideas so that they are ready to present to various audiences, such as investors, potential employees and customers. This will prepare them to take part in the New Ventures BC competition, which starts in April 2019. In the fourth term, students will learn about UX and UI prototyping. They will test what they have designed with users and keep iterating.
The new CST Tech Entrepreneur Option launches at the BCIT Downtown campus in Vancouver this Fall. Leaders in the industry are invited to contact D’Arcy Smith or Jason Harrison should they wish to offer mentorship to students.