The Informatics advantage
By Marilyn Smulders - May 26, 2010
Samantha Babin was studying biology but searching for something else. On his way to finishing his first degree, Don Doiron was worried that a career in music wasn’t for him. Elvin Smith was interested in computer science, but was concerned “that it seemed so square.”
Four years ago, the three students came together in Dalhousie’s first Bachelor of Informatics class, test-driving a new co-op degree program that turned out to suit each of them perfectly. Interested in an academic education combined with practical experience, the three students have found jobs ahead of graduation and believe their Dal degree gave them the edge.
Back when the new program was being designed, organizers kept referring to the Bachelor of Informatics as “the intersection where people and computers come together,” recalls Norm Scrimger, professor with the Faculty of Computer Science, where the program resides.
It turned out to be an apt description, says Mr. Smith, from Nassau in the Bahamas, who is already working at Research in Motion in Bedford. “I can be the programmer, the troubleshooter, and the go-between who can explain all the technical jargon to the end user … the program was very people-oriented.”
“I didn’t even know what ‘html’ was when I joined the program,” laughs Ms. Babin, from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, who just landed a job at Blue Cross. “We learned that, and so much more too, about communicating, writing reports, giving presentations, and working in teams.”
The other exciting part about being part of that first class was the chance to enhance the experience for students coming after them. “The professors were very receptive to feedback and extremely approachable,” said Mr. Doiron, a data analyst with Capital Health.