IT Student Expo a “gigantic confidence boost” for Durham College students eyeing tech careers

After months of hard work, students at Durham College (DC) were excited to showcase their innovative projects at DC’s annual IT Student Expo on April 3.

In the gymnasium, dozens of booths were set up so students could give live demonstrations of their capstone projects and discuss how their work could potentially benefit their peers and the general public. The expo highlighted work from students in several IT-related programs including Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design and Implementation, Computer Programming and Analysis, Computer Systems Technology, and Cybersecurity.

Among the presenters were Computer Programming and Analysis students Dallas Smith, Glasford, and Henry Peng who worked together to develop an app called My Transit to help make using GO Transit much easier and more streamlined.

The idea began with complaints from Smith’s girlfriend about her regular commute.

“For example, if she sees her train is canceled or delayed, she can stay with her friends longer and she doesn’t have to rush and leave to get to Union,” Smith said, as he pointed to a delayed train on the app. “That’s kind of where my idea for the app came from, I made it for her but then I realized we could do more with it.”

My Transit also allows the user to purchase tickets through the app instead of having to use a Presto Card and users can save their frequent trips on the app.

“It will track that exact trip and it will tell you the platform the train will be on, an hour in advance. In the stations you only know 10 minutes prior so this will tell you earlier and it has live updates.”

Moving forward, the students said they were hoping to connect with GO Transit and share their app with them.

Andrew Graham and Sebastian Castelan Rodriguez had money on their minds when designing PennyPilot, software for computers and phones that allows users to input their spending to track a variety of metrics about their spending habits.

“As a college student you probably have a lot of friends who are, let’s just say, not very good at managing their money,” Graham said. “The idea behind PennyPilot is to give people access to actually being able to manage their money and in a way that is fun and entertaining.”

Amelia Eric-Markovic was inspired by her mom forgetting her grocery lists to a create Homie, an IOS app to help users keep on top of small, tedious tasks. It contains an event calendar, a to-do list and a shopping list so you never have to rely on paper.

“Homie is here to help you organize every facet of your life, whether it’s assignments or just your typical tasks,” she said. “It’s managing your life as a student and as a student with a life outside of this as well.”

Eric-Markovic’s dream is to work with Apple and she’s hoping her skills earned through the Computer Programming and Analysis program combined with coding and design work on her IOS app will land her an internship with the company this summer.

DC faculty who supported the students said the IT Student Expo teaches them to market and advertise their creations.

“The thing that we find with this event is it’s this gigantic confidence boost for students who are already capable but don’t realize it,” said Kyle Chapman, a professor in the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Information Technology (SEIT).

Stephen Forbes, a professor in the same faculty said the event is a great display of how students have matured and gained experience over the semester.

Stephen said, “Here at Durham College, we try to focus on getting them to build not only the technical skillset, but what we call durable transferable skills.”