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Dalhousie University: Where computer science students are empowered to push boundaries

Posted by Study International on February 5, 2024 in Alumni & Friends, Students
Nick Pearce photo.
Nick Pearce photo.

Studying at Dalhousie University was a natural choice for Noah Lincourt. Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he grew up surrounded by students and alumni with nothing by great things to say about the institution. Plus, nothing sounded more appealing than staying close to his roots. “Many friends left the East Coast after high school, but having such a connection to Halifax, I never considered leaving,” he says. “And knowing Dalhousie is such a great institution helped me decide to stay here.”

Initially accepted to study Engineering at Dalhousie University, Lincourt opted to pursue the Applied Computer Science programme instead at the last minute. “My father is an engineer, and my mother is a social worker, so I grew up in a household where both technical and non-technical skills were of interest and were celebrated,” he says. “The Applied Computer Science programme perfectly highlights this, blending computer science and management practices to develop well-rounded technologists.”

That’s precisely what Lincourt is today as a software developer at AXIS Capital. The graduate is responsible for developing and enhancing the team’s .NET web applications using C# and SQL.

“I believe that the curriculum provided by Dalhousie set me up for success,” shares Lincourt. “I was given the technical skills to complete my job and the non-technical skills to keep the job.”

Dalhousie UniversityWith 63% of students coming from out-of-province and 23% from outside of Canada, students at Dalhousie University effortlessly build their intercultural and communication skills. Source: Dalhousie University.

Lincourt specifies proficiency in web development, SQL, problem-solving, communication, and relationship building as the most valuable skills he gained as a student. These were honed throughout the programme and particularly through the real-world experiences it unlocked. The Faculty of Computer Science’s  Co-op sees students applying their newfound knowledge while developing specialised skill sets. Lincourt believes completing three co-op terms as an undergraduate student enabled him to step into the working world confidently.

“They gave me the chance to see how the industry operated, learn what I did and did not like in terms of technologies, and really allowed me to work with and learn from intelligent individuals,” he says. “The programme highlighted aspects of the work, but you engage with those concepts much deeper when you join the industry.”

Exposure aside, Lincourt credits his education for teaching him the importance of staying relevant in the ever-evolving tech industry. “It taught me to be a problem-solving technologist who can be agile when it comes to technology,” he shares. “Most of the technologies I work with now, I did not learn in university. This demonstrates that my education has allowed me to be a flexible, lifelong learner.”

Sebastian Dionicio, a current Bachelor of Computer Science student, is well on his way to achieving the same level of professional versatility. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, his interest in understanding the internal workings of technology sparked a desire to decipher the magic behind machines that could solve any problem, access vast amounts of information instantly, and even play chess. “Through this field, I aspire to help advance humanity,” he says. “And I believe Dalhousie can give me the foundation I need to positively impact the world.”

Achieving such outcomes requires exposure, so that’s precisely what Dionicio set out to gain, starting with an internship at Amazon. The opportunity significantly enhanced his technical skills, providing exposure to cloud computing, systems design, software quality assurance, DevOps, and Distributed Systems. “I believe these honed abilities serve as a crucial milestone for my career, offering immeasurable benefits by fortifying my trajectory in the field of computer science,” says the student.

Dalhousie UniversitySebastian Dionicio secured an internship as a software engineer at Amazon during his first year at the Faculty of Computer Science. Source: Dalhousie University.

Dionicio credits his successful application to the solid foundation he gained upon joining the Faculty of Computer Science. From core concepts to advanced technologies, the programme he chose was, after all, designed to equip students with the tools needed to thrive in competitive environments like Amazon and push the boundaries of being a computer science student.

For example, Dionicio is leading a team in developing and upgrading the University of Toronto’s COBWEB, an agent-based research modelling software. Additionally, as the President and Founder of DALCSL, a Dal Society, he is working on training a team to represent Dalhousie in the ICPC 2024. “These projects relate directly to my studies because they require me to use a broad range of computer science knowledge, which can be traced back to several of my classes in university,” he shares.

With still two more years to go, Dionicio has already made significant strides toward his career goals. Currently, his plans revolve around immersing himself in Big Tech and securing a place at the forefront of technological advancements that shape the way we live, work, and interact with the world.

“I believe that the skills, knowledge, and exposure I have gained as a student at Dalhousie University have prepared me well enough to start my journey into this highly competitive field,” he says. “I am very thankful to all the faculty members, as their support has helped turn my dreams into reality.”