Opportunity for Experience and Self-improvement: Marcelo’s Story

Portrait of Marcelo

Getting a fresh start can be challenging yet exciting. The world is full of new and exciting opportunities, but that excitement is coupled with the uncertainty that things may not work out. For Marcelo, a student in the Computer Systems Technology – Software Development program at Mohawk College, that uncertainty was tempered when he was able to gain some experience in his field by working in a co-op position. 

Marcelo has always loved to code, and he spent many years working in an adjacent field before deciding to move into IT. I’ve always worked as a programmer, but before I was building parts in an aerospace engineering factory. I have 14 years of experience in that, which made it a little bit difficult to change to the IT field,” said Marcelo. I decided to go abroad and get an education in a different country, as I thought it would be easier to change fields that way.”

When choosing where to move abroad, Marcelo settled on Canada, where he joined the -Computer Systems Technology - Software Development program at Mohawk College. While his plan is to get an education that will create a foundation for his new career, Marcelo has another objective that he hopes to accomplish through the co-op position offered through is program.

"Marcelo outside the Fennell campus communitty garden"My goal is to learn a new language. I started to learn English three years ago, so I'm not that experienced. I’m trying to push myself to improve every day,” said Marcelo. “I'm not good with people. I like the numbers. But one of my other goals was to improve my personal skills and my communication.

Marcelo’s program offers him and other students the opportunity for experiential learning by spending eight months working in the field in a paid co-op position. “After almost eight months in my co-op with the web team, I feel confident to do everything related to the web. I use PHP, I use JavaScript, I use too many programming languages to list.”

He added, I helped to build the InTouch magazine. This was the biggest project I worked on, there were a lot of links and images to manage. I had to work with the graphic design team, so I had to learn how to work in a group with other people, but we got it done, and I'm proud of that.

Marcelo feels that the time he spent in his co-op has brought him closer to his goals both professionally and personally, having pushed himself every day to reach his language goals and improve his communication skills. “Through this experience, I gained a deeper understanding of the IT industry and its career possibilities. I learned how to manage projects from start to finish, how to collaborate with a team and how to communicate effectively,” he said. “This experience showed me the importance of attention to detail, and how to design visually appealing pages that engage with the audience.”

I'm so happy when I'm walking through the college and I realize while looking at a lot of displays in the hall, ‘Oh, I built that one.’ For others, it may look simple, but for me, it's great because it's my work. I feel very happy and proud of those achievements,” he continued.

As his co-op finishes and Marcelo looks back on his experience, he has advice to share with students who are preparing for their own co-op positions.

Keep challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, and don't be afraid of what's ahead. Study and work hard; do your best, and good things will happen.”