Company: Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Position: solution delivery analyst – IT planning Employed: three years
Where did you go to school? What program did you attend? University of Toronto, Scarborough campus (UTSc). I attended a specialist program in computer science (information systems stream) and towards the end also earned an additional major in French.
What drew you to your current field? A combination of factors. First of all, unlike most people who choose to study computer science, I did not have any exceptional ability or liking for math in high school, but I enjoyed learning languages very much. That applied not only to human, but also to programming languages. In addition, at that time (slightly before the dot-com crash) the field of Information Technology looked like a true El Dorado. To geek boys of the period, like myself, it was the frontier of innovation, the embodiment of progress, the unexplored realm of opportunity and the concentration of all things cool. And last, but not least, my high school computer studies teacher (Mr. Raptou of R.H. King Academy) was an exceedingly cool and charismatic guy.
How did you find your current position? I was in the co-op program at UTSc, which requires its students to do at least three work terms before graduation. My third work term was with OLG in the department of IT planning and performance management. By the end of the term, I was offered part-time employment on the basis of one day a week to complete some unfinished work, and the following summer I was offered another work term by OLG, which I accepted. When I graduated, I was offered a one year contract with OLG, which was eventually extended to permanent employment.
What is the most challenging aspect of your position? Coping with constant change is probably the greatest challenge. I must create and maintain code, databases, and reports that deal with data and concepts, which keep on changing all the time.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The feeling of having come up with a useful piece of information, which will positively influence how this company is run, by creating insights and enabling decisions.
What skills have you learned through your work experience? I am probably a better problem solver and conceptual thinker than I was before, since this job throws a lot of challenging problems and complex concepts at me on daily basis. I have also greatly improved my communication skills and presentation skills.
What do you think it takes to be successful in this career? You need a lot of patience and persistence so that the difficulties do not stop you. Good technical skills and the ability to pick up and hone such skills entirely on your own without any help. Obsessive attention to little details combined with an ability to let go of the little details and take a big-picture, long-term, strategic view of things when needed. Finally, you need good communication skills.
What are your future career aspirations? It is difficult to say at this moment with 100 percent certainty. I am very much interested both in IT and in business. I like the challenges involved in working with data and turning it into useful information for business purposes. Areas like business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, project portfolio management, and financial planning and analysis all hold a lot of interest for me.
What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job? Look for a position that would offer you an opportunity for growth, learning and development, a job where you will have an opportunity to show some initiative and achieve something above and beyond a regular co-op student’s or intern’s contribution. jp