IT students look to make good first impression

Dave Stewart
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Danielle MacNevin, left, Ooka Island, chats with Mitchell Corish, a second-year UPEI computer science student, during an IT speed-dating event in Charlottetown.

More than 50 take part in Innovation Technology Association’s annual employment speed networking event in Charlottetown

UPEI student Greg Murray was just hoping to make a good first impression.

The fourth-year IT student at UPEI was one of more than 50 students, some of them recent graduates, taking part in the Innovation Technology Association of P.E.I.’s (ITAP) annual IT employment speed networking event on Friday in Charlottetown.

It works the same way speed dating events do.

Students spend five minutes with employers before the bell rings and they move to another table, hoping they left the employer with a good enough impression that it leads to a job interview down the road.

“I’m looking to make some good contacts,’’ Murray said. “I have found they usually lead to a job interview.’’

Murray is looking for any kind of entry-level position in the information technology sector.

“I’m going to be graduating (this spring) so I’d like to try and line up some contacts for the summer. I’m pretty open to anything.’’

Shaun Ready, another UPEI graduate-to-be, said he likes the casual nature the speed networking event creates.

“I find it’s good practice for job interviews,’’ Ready said. “It’s definitely important to make that first good impression but it’s not the same (pressure) as a regular job interview.’’

Representatives with 10 IT Island companies, all of them in the process of hiring, took part. They included Thinking Big, SwiftRadius, Timeless Technologies, DeltaWare Systems, Telos Entertainment, Ooka Island, Sculpin QA, Sprypoint Solutions, Cogsdale Corporation and Invesco.

“This is our third year at this event and the first two went very well. We ended up making some relationships, several of which (led to) those individuals working with us,’’ said Ron Myers of Thinking Big, an IT business in Charlottetown.

“You get a short-term, face-to-face (meeting). When a resumé comes in in a month or a week or a couple of years later you can attach a face to the name.’’

Mike Gillis, with ITAP, said Friday’s turnout was their strongest one yet.

“This is a unique opportunity for post-secondary IT students and recent graduates to meet with IT employers who are recruiting for entry-level positions,’’ Gillis said. “We try to make it a bit different from your typical job fair.’’

ITAP will hold the typical job fair March 26.

Danielle MacNevin, with Ooka Island, said they’re looking for programmers that can handle upgrades and fixes.

Ooka Island is a literacy company that creates video games that teach children three to seven years old to read.

“We want to make the learning much more organic,’’ MacNevin said. “We want to have the learning based on actual data generated from thousands or hundreds of thousands of players so that it’s more of an achieved learning. (We want) the machine to learn and then provide improved instruction for (children) using the tools and methods that we already have in the game.’’

MacNevin said they plan on hiring in the spring or fall.

Organizations: ITAP, Cogsdale Corporation, Invesco

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Ooka Island, IT Island

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