Computing Industry Sponsored Student Projects: “A great reminder of why we do what we do”

Three times a year, BCIT Computing organizes Industry Sponsored Student Projects (ISSP). Students participate in what makes a BCIT Computing education special: working with a real client, on a team, and towards a set of IT deliverables. After three months of hard work, 40 teams of Computer Information Technology (CIT) and Computer Systems Technology (CST) diploma students showcased their IT solutions.

“The biggest boon and highlight for me are my teammates,” says CIT student Jimmy Ho. “Collaborating in a remote environment is a difficult task to coordinate, but with the positive attitude my teammates had, it made for a great experience. As everyone in the team had different strengths, we all elevated one another to create a great final product.”

Jimmy and his six team members designed a nurse scheduling web app, Smart Roster, for BC Women’s Hospital. Smart Roster helps to optimize schedules, ensure quality of patient care, and increase staff satisfaction rates.

“With the practical experience this course has provided me, I’m well equipped to step into the IT industry”

Client Anna Aibin has nothing but praise for the students. “I want to thank the students for taking such a complex nursing paper scheduling system and converting it into a web program. It helps alleviate the workload and minimize human error. Thank you so much.”

Another project that receives great praise is the CST student team that helped technology company Terratap create a new community platform. CEO Judy Hamilton: “The creative side that you [the team] brought was absolutely amazing. It really inspired us to bring this project in a direction that we never thought of. If you continue working as you have done, you’ll have wonderful careers.”

A critical element and a common denominator for having a successful product at the end of term turns out to be: communication. Communicating effectively is often a challenge in itself, let alone during a pandemic and working remotely.

“My biggest take away was how important communication was between the client and our team,” says Jimmy Ho from the CIT Smart Roster team. “By fully understanding the client’s vision and business goals, I believe that our team understands and prioritizes tasks that lead to a polished, functional prototype.”

“The ISSP was a truly unique and exciting experience for me. Not only was I able to work with industry clients, but I was able to apply project management and technical skills to solve real-world problems. With the practical experience this course has provided me, I’m well equipped to step into the IT industry.”

CST student Yashsvi Girdhar, whose team worked on improving the website of financial technology company Shackfolio, can relate to Jimmy’s assessment. “Having weekly review meetings with the client helped us understand the industry standards and requirements. The client’s appreciation – they offered to help out with employment letters – made me realize that the (soft) skills we have gained in BCIT have been worth it.”

The Dean of the School of Computing and Academic Studies, Dean Hildebrand, was genuinely impressed with some of the presentations he was able to see throughout the three days: “A lot of effort was put into the presentations, and it was fascinating to watch them. The ISSP is a great program, and it is a great reminder of why we do what we do: giving students real-life problems to prepare them for the job market in the best possible way.”

“Being able to use my problem-solving skills for a real-world product was something that has given me more confidence in entering the workforce”

Several students echoed the Dean’s words. CIT student Roy Ortega, whose team worked on image detection using machine learning and deep neural networks for the company Search and Rescue Technology, was one of them.

“I’ve learned that I have the necessary skills to succeed in the tech industry. Having the experience to practice communicating effectively has proven invaluable, especially since I will be working remotely for the most part. Also, being able to use my problem-solving skills for a real-world product was something that has given me more confidence in entering the workforce.”

The next ISSP term starts in January 2021, with a record pool of 120 projects for students to choose from. If you have an IT project that needs a push to get it jumpstarted or finished, consider working with BCIT Computing students. ISSPs are a low-cost way to support your industry IT projects, and it’s free if you are a non-profit.    

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