For the past four years, the Regina Open Door Society holds a Tech Skills Showcase where newcomers show off their skills to employers in the tech sector in Regina. Over the past two years, the event took place virtually, but this year it was back in person!
At this event, participants form teams and take on challenges to demonstrate their technical skills to employers who participate as mentors, judges and visitors. Because this is a full-day event where groups must work together, participants also get to demonstrate their teamwork, collaboration, and interpersonal skills.
Here are this year’s challenges!
A Multicultural Atlas of Regina
Challenge: How can we present the city’s multicultural nature to current and future residents?
Your team will need to collect data on diversity and multiculturalism (language groups, nationalities, ideological/religious groups, ethnicities, etc.) and visualize it on a web dashboard.
You might start with some Statistics Canada census data and then visualize it using a library or platform of your choice, making it available to view on the web.
City of Regina Open Data Accessibility & Ease of Use
Challenge: The City of Regina’s Open Data Website has a number of interesting datasets available as simple file downloads. Many of them require you to download the entire dataset and then search it for what you’re looking for. For example, there is a spreadsheet listing all known Regina addresses with city-owned lead water line connections. Rather than downloading the entire dataset it might be easier, for example, to text your address to a phone number and receive a YES/NO response as to whether or not your address is known to have a lead water line. Your team will need to take one or more files from the City of Regina’s Open Data site and make the information contained in the file(s) easier to use.
Citizen Engagement & Transparency
Challenge: Oftentimes residents of Regina hear about important decisions made by their representatives only after the fact when they are reported in the media. How can residents of the City of Regina know that something they care about is being discussed at an upcoming City Council meeting?
Set up a system that will obtain upcoming City of Regina City Council agenda documents on a regular basis. Generate an alert of some kind (tweet, e-mail, etc.) when a term of your choosing is mentioned in the City of Regina agenda. Make sure to include a link back to the original PDF document!
We had two teams with a variety of skills. Team number 1 took on challenge number one “A Multicultural Atlas of Regina.” They built a website where they showcased Regina’s Diversity through data visualization.
Team number two took on Challenge number three, “Citizen Engagement & Transparency.”. They built a customizable interface that allowed users to add information, look up post, and create email alerts, so that, eventually, something like this could serve as a way to stay updated with what’s happening in the city.
After long deliberation, the judges chose team number two as the winner!
Wei Huang, who participated in this year’s event, shared that “this is a great event for building confidence and connections. You can demonstrate your skills and abilities. This opportunity is beneficial and good for those struggling to find a job.”
We are so grateful to all the employers who continue to join us every year and make this event possible by lending their expertise as Judges and Mentors. This year, participants met representatives from Access Communications, ISM, the Government of Saskatchewan, Solvera, SaskPower, Variable Hub, and Calian Agriculture.
Employers who participate as mentors play a critical role in the success of our participants. They give participants guidance and advice and see what they can do independently and in a group. Ultimately this is also an excellent way for employers to get a well-rounded sense of what participants can do and find talent.
This is what we have heard from this year’s mentors:
“It’s really beneficial as an employer because you can get a deeper candidate pool.” Rob Anderson – Saskpower
“We hired a woman a couple of years ago at this event. We saw that she was taking charge, displayed great leadership skills, was highly skilled, and worth hiring. We gave her an interview on the spot and hired her immediately.” Greg Beauregard – Callian Agriculture
Overall, this is an excellent opportunity to make connections, understand the expectations for interviews, and build confidence for finding a job in the tech industry.
If you missed this year’s Tech Skill Showcase, stay tuned for our next one in February 2023!
This event is powered by Innovation Saskatchewan and hosted at Innovation Place.