Professional development graduate courses

Posted on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Be fully ready for the job market

We are excited to be offering new Professional Development courses to better prepare our graduate students for their career in industry and give them the communication, networking, teamwork and project management skills they need to succeed.

Get ready for the job market with Professional Development Workshops (ELG 5301 or GNG 5301)

This new three-credit course is custom-made to develop and enhance your professional skills as a Master of Engineering (MEng) student by offering a series of workshops where experts and special guests share their expertise on communication, team building, entrepreneurship, design, as well as academic writing, and literature review.

As a graduate student, you can now obtain credits towards your degree by attending practical workshops that will help you:

  • Develop valuable skills for the job market
  • Connect you to useful resources
  • Grow your network
  • and facilitate your integration.

Through the workshops you will work in peer groups to complete hands-on and online learning modules covering a variety of topics, such as:

  • Goal setting techniques and career strategy
  • Life coaching
  • Effective communication skills
  • Resume writing and critique
  • Interview skills
  • Professional development and leadership skills
  • And much more

These workshops are offered in partnership with the Hojjat Salemi International Students Workshops (sponsored by uOttawa Alumni Hojjat Salemi), the Faculty of Engineering Professional Development Club (run by graduate students) and the Center for Entrepreneurial Engineering Design.

Course offered online starting in June 2020 and will be available for all Masters of Engineering students (non-thesis).

Astha Tiwari, President of the Professional Development Club and Digital Strategist at uOttawa

“The first time I sat with this group of students, all from different programs, I realized that there was a lot of potential in working together since we all shared a common goal of developing ourselves professionally. One year later, it’s incredible to see the progress that each of us has made by helping each other. I’ve developed many valuable skills, but also, I gained a lot of confidence.

After putting this Professional Development Club together, I was able to find a volunteering opportunity with the City of Ottawa. Since I had no previous work experience, I learned a lot from this. I got the Canadian work experience exposure that I needed. This opportunity, along with the workshops, led me to getting a job at the University as a digital strategist.”

Rajshekhar Mukherjee, intern at Synopsys Inc

“One of the most important things I’ve learned from these workshops is how to present my skills to employers. I’ve developed many skills, but I’ve learned that it’s as important to be able to present them effectively as it is to work on them. You will have to package your skills accordingly to the position you want, and to do this, you have to do your homework on the company. Find out what they do, what they need, and what you have to offer.”

Patricia Da Silva Nuncio

“Ever since I’ve arrived to Canada, I’ve wanted to help others and improve people’s lives. One thing I’m passionate about from my field is solid waste management. I started thinking then about how I could make a difference, and I had this project in mind that I was really passionate about. I was able to get an interview with the City of Ottawa, but unfortunately, I did not get the position.

That’s when I started getting more involved in the Faculty so I could improve my professional skills. I took a design course, offered by CEED, which helped me develop my project from the start.

I went to many workshops organized by the Professional Development Club. Last fall, I went to a workshop that taught me how to use Linkedin. I really enjoyed this workshop, and afterwards, I even started helping other students by showing them how to improve their profiles and how to make the most out of the platform.

I also found the Women Startup Network. I went to one of their events to get the opportunity to practise the skills I had been working on. I was then approached by a woman who took interest in my project and in my ideas, and she helped me find a way to help people. Now, I’m actually going to get the chance to propose my project to the City of Ottawa.”

Earn real-world experience working on an Industry Internship Project (GNG 5902)

After successful completion of the Professional Development Workshops course (ELG 5301/GNG5301), Master of Engineering students can acquire valuable industry experience with the Industry Internship Project course (GNG5902). This six-credit course consists of an internship either within a Canadian government department or private sector company, and the assignment of a supervisor from the University.

The minimum requirement for the internship is 300 hours of work in one semester. However, as a continuing activity, it can continue over several semesters and more hours can be invested. This provides maximum flexibility in meeting the interests of both students and industry. The internship can be a paid internship, but is not required to be.

Improve your career opportunities through internships and projects

Farzaneh Farshad

“My brother was a student at Concordia University in Mechanical Engineering 10 years ago. After his graduation, he couldn’t find a job for over two years. There were two reasons: he didn’t have any references, and he didn’t have any Canadian work experience.

From the first day I arrived to Canada, he’s been telling me to get involved during my studies and to gain professional experience. So, even if I had worked for 5 years back in my country, I listened to him: I went to any events or workshops I could find. I’ve learned to build my soft skills. I’ve learned to network. I built my list of references.

When I finally got an internship, at first, even writing a simple email wasn’t easy. English is my second language, and the culture is different, so I had a lot to learn. I got to improve my communication skills a lot through this experience.

I built the confidence to start sharing my ideas with others, and to my surprise, not only did they love my ideas but the team also helped me innovate and develop them. My advice to other students would be to work on your soft skills, to gain experience by volunteering, and not to be afraid to speak when you have ideas.”

Ajay Modagi, intern at the City of Ottawa

“I’m currently doing my internship project with the City of Ottawa. My project involves designing a survey for the city’s new mobile application. Once the survey is published, I will also get to use the answers to make data visualization. In the end, my project will help the city upgrade and improve their app.

I think the most important thing I’ve learned from my experience is how to network. It’s not always easy to approach people and talk to them, especially if you can’t find the opportunities to practise. Through this project, I was constantly in contact with professionals from my field, and this really helped me develop my soft skills.  The more comfortable you get just talking with others, the easier it becomes to network.

Snehita Singh, intern at AedoAI Inc.

“I worked on a project for AedoAI Inc., a startup company which provides digital solutions to construction companies with the power of data analytics and business intelligence.

If you’re from another country, it’s possible that you have experience working with a certain type of technology, or that there were restrictions or access-level problems. But, when you’re working in the Northern American part of the world, you can be sure that you’ll be working with their latest technologies and trends. Taking part in this project provided me not only with a work experience in industry, but also with the chance to learn about the latest technologies they are using.

At university, you’re learning about all these theories and concepts, but it’s amazing to get to actually apply these concepts to real problems. For example, I had been learning how to script and automate things with partials in class. Then, when I was working with AedoAI Inc., I noticed they were doing some things manually, and I thought, “wait, I can do it with a partial”, and I got to apply these scripts, and they worked! There is so much to learn and when you’re working on the field you get such great learning opportunities every day.”

Simardeep Singh

“I took part in a volunteering project for the City of Ottawa. We were working on heat stress mapping, which is a very interesting project that involves data mining and machine-learning.

One problem that I faced trying to find an internship is that no matter what professional experience I had back in India, it wasn’t relevant here. I had many interviews where I started talking about my 5 years of experience back home but it didn’t interest employers. However, they did ask me about the experience I had gotten and the projects I had worked on while at the University of Ottawa.

I believe it’s important to use your time at university to really work on yourself, to learn from your peers, and to start sharing your knowledge with each other. Once you’ve been able to find a volunteering opportunity, or any type of experience, it becomes possible to go out and get that job you want. I actually have to choose between two job offers now, which I have this volunteering opportunity to thank for.”

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