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From a non-computer user to an application developer

A story by Harpriya Kaur, a former student Research Assistant at the Centre for Elder Research

Harpriya Kaur

I never thought of being an Application Developer, working for a renowned financial institution like CIBC. Looking back now, I can’t believe I was once a computer hater.

But then, one night I had a dream that I launched my own mobile application and everybody was so amazed to see my creativity. The next morning, I suddenly realized that I was looking at the phone from a designer’s perspective; that was my first vision of a career in software development. Today, I am in my 3rd and final year of the Software Development and Network Engineering program at Sheridan College.

It was totally unbelievable for me that I achieved an excellent GPA in my very first semester and was selected as an “International Student Ambassador”. These achievements inspired me and made me confident that my dream won’t remain just a dream. I believe that a dream can only become a reality if we act, plan and believe that we have the potential to achieve it.

For my first co-op term, I worked with the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research as a Research Assistant and Mobile Application Developer where I supported the front-end development for a comprehensive health and medication mobile application called Health Espresso. It aims to assist the growing demographic of older adults, and individuals who are visually impaired or print disabled, manage their medications and health information in an organized way.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to become an Accessible Learning Peer Mentor, where I am developing a mobile app that will serve all Sheridan students with accessibility needs, allowing them to access the services and resources available to them. Looking to contribute to my community with the knowledge I had gained, I joined a non-profit organization called ETAG (Elder Technology Assistance Group) as a Technical Assistant. I helped older adults (55+) learn how to effectively use advanced technologies to enhance their everyday lives. This experience gave me a client-centric perspective, helping me see that even a relatively small change to a process, service, or product can make a big difference to people.

Currently, I am working with one of the coolest teams in CIBC Business and Corporate Banking Technology-  “Skunkworks”. So far, this has been a wonderful experience. Through this term, I will not only be gaining back-end developer skills, but I’ll also be learning about business analysis, a critical and beneficial skill for the agile developer.

Looking at my journey, I feel so motivated to continue learning and exploring. My personal experiences, challenges as well as my triumphs will serve me well in inspiring others that truly any dream is possible, as long as you work towards it!

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