Their Journey into the IT World
The grade 10 Computing students had the opportunity to meet two alumni from San Andrea, Ms. Maria Cauchi,BSc (Hons) IT &Networking andMr. Ryan GrixtiBSc ICT (Hons)CCEwho shared their journey into the IT World.
Maria, who is currently reading for a Masters in Business Information Systems Management, began her presentation with how she started off in computing. She spoke about the different modules she studied during her undergraduate degree; including Steganography and how it is used by criminals to hide secret data within an innocent looking picture. Some other topics she spoke about were Computer Forensics and how data can still be retrieved even after it has been deleted, as well as New Media.
She explained how new media such as Facebook and Twitter are changing the way we use the Internet. She also showed a video that was aired on the show Gadgets about her Tangible User Interfaces undergraduate project – which used fiducial markers to represent objects in the real world. The project consisted of picture-blocks of different instruments placed on a glass surface with a web cam placed underneath. When a block is placed on the glass surface, the webcam would detect the fiducial marker and start playing the sound of that particular instrument. The volume of each instrument could also be increased or decreased individually, by turning the block clockwise or anticlockwise.
She explained that the aim of the project was to enable young children to play with these interactive blocks that allow them to learn the different musical instruments and form their own mini orchestra. She also highlighted the fact that, this project goes to show that new technology is moving in a direction where computer inputs are no longer being given by mice and keyboards, but by our fingers through touchscreens and in this case even by using children’s picture-blocks.
She then continued to speak about her present employment as a Logical Security and Database Administrator with PSA Peugeot Citroen. Her responsibilities include SQL query reporting for all the different departments, administration of logical security, network administration, leading IT-related business projects, user support and technical writing.
She has also previously worked in Web design and development, Java programming, GUI Design, as well as Testing & Quality Assurance. She discussed typical problems encountered at work and explained the importance of the IT department in the business she is in, stating that she has to provide at least 50 reports every month to different departments within the company.
To wrap up her presentation she encouraged students not to worry too much about not knowing which area in IT they wish to pursue. The IT industry provides plenty of opportunities to learn and discover new things – “You will go out there and you will learn continuously as you go along.”
The next presentation was from Mr. Ryan Grixti, who received a full sponsorship for hisMasters in the field of microelectronics and microsystems. He explained his journey from secondary school to the IT industry. He stressed the need for Mathematics as well as Physics to help with Computing. He could not emphasize enough the need for Mathematics when dealing with higher Algorithms and mathematical functions. He explained how that in a business environment, information is more complex and how important it is to plan everything out with the hardware and the software configurations.
He showed the students his FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) board which he programmed using a hardware description language and described how he controlled it from the keyboard and outputted to the monitor. His undergraduate program also included a project, Obstacle Avoidance Robot, in which he and his team designed a robot that maneuvered its way down a hallway without bumping into any objects. He showed the students how the robot was constructed with sensors and motors to communicate with the software. This group project helped students understand that through team work they could accomplish different tasks. He showed the students how he used multi-points of view for the robot to work.
He also stressed to the students that academic credentials coupled with social skills ‘can take you far in the computing industry.’He explained that while he was working atMelita plc.He came into contact with so many different people. “You have to be able to connect with different individuals when dealing in the working world.” He explained how his department was responsible for mobile roaming and how the company worked with different international clients.On the job he also had the chance to learn a new programming language, Perl.
Ryan finished his presentation by showing a very captivating video about the importance of computer code and just like learning another language, everyone should take some coding class. The video titled, “What most schools don’t teach!” can be viewed on Youtube.
The students eagerly asked questions and enjoyed this interaction with them. Maria and Ryan both provided the bridge between the academic world to the working world. The students could easily relate to them since both Ryan and Maria only graduated from San Andrea in 2006!
I would like to thank all those who helped made this talk such a success!
Teacher of Computing
(above and below) Maria giving her presentation to students
(above and below) Ryan giving his presentation to students
Exchange of gifts between Ex and Present San Andrea Students