St. Clair College students have a new digital tool to help them with everything from building a resume to honing their interview skills, while improving their financial literacy.
The help comes in the form of a website and mobile app created for the school’s Enactus Club by a team of students from the Mobile Applications Development program.
It’s called InterACT and the app is for the sole use of St. Clair College students, according to lead developer Ndricim Strazaimiri, who will be graduating this year from the Mobile Applications Development program. Users must have a St. Clair College email account to access the app.
Strazimiri, a member of the Enactus technology team, was approached by the group’s faculty advisor, Michael Spadotto, and Kaitlyn Pecaski, a fellow Enactus team member and project manager, about the idea of building a mobile application to help students develop job-ready skills.
Pecaski said the goal for Enactus is to bridge the gap between graduation and entering the Canadian workforce, and there are plans to expand the project to post-secondary schools across the country.
Because this was such a big project, Strazimiri enlisted the help of his Mobile App classmates – Ali Dali, Abel Anderson, Ghaith Darwish, Fadi Findakly and Tyler Bucasas – to work on the software. The group worked on the project over the past year, including on weekends, holidays and during their summer break.
Meetings took place online because of COVID restrictions, but that posed another obstacle, Strazimiri said. “We used to sit next to each other in school and say, ‘okay, line three, do this thing. Line five, do that thing.’ Being totally online, it’s like you just ask the person, I want this functionality and you don’t know how the person will handle that. This was kind of a challenge,” Strazimiri said.
So, the team coded and then tested the program and did more coding and testing, to ensure the functionality was what Enactus wanted.
The platform features a resume clinic, which allows users to upload their resumes, have them looked at by members of the Enactus team and receive recommendations or guidance on how to improve them. There are opportunities for students to practice their interview skills through mock interviews conducted by the Enactus team and the site also offers financial planning tools to show students how to save money.
“In just eight months, they have produced an Android App, iOS App, and website with all of the features we wanted to implement,” Pecaski said. “Their hard work and dedication continue to be outstanding, and I am so grateful to have such an amazing team.”
Peter Nikita, program coordinator for the Mobile Application Development program, said he has already seen the benefit of the app, as many college students have booked mock interviews and used other features of the app since it went live. “Software development is a hard job, with hard to quantify results, unlike a sales team which can put numbers on their work” Nikita said. “It is through work integrated learning opportunities such as these where we see real achievement, success and passion.”
Strazimiri, 30, an international student from Albania, had a strong base on which to build his skills. He was a web developer in his native country, but he had been looking to further his knowledge through post-secondary programs in Canada. The Mobile Applications Development program at St. Clair was a perfect fit. “I wanted to expand my knowledge in coding and being able to develop more complicated software.”
Nikita said the three-year advanced diploma in Mobile Applications Development prepares students to be software developers. The program touches on web, iOS and Android development. In the final three semesters, students are exposed to game development.
“There’s always going to be a market out there for people wanting to hire app developer and software developers,” Nikita said of the demand for students with such skills. “So that’s a worldwide market, and we’ve had students graduate and move all over the world.”
But there’s also a growing demand locally in the field of IT, Nikita said. “The tech community here is strong and growing. We have a new Quicken Loans company opening downtown. I think because they have come into Windsor-Essex, it’ll mean some other companies are going to come in. So, people who want to try to find work locally, certainly will be able to. But these students are so computer literate, that they can find work from their home and their clients can be anywhere in the world.”