orange iconOperational Response Level: Restricted ›

Computer and Information Systems Technology

A Real Diego

June 19, 2015

Photo of Diego Santos

BIT Space bad boy Diego Santos

Diego Santos is an enthusiast of web/mobile technologies, programming, and all things cool. Though more focused on backend PHP and JavaScript/HTML5, he also has solid Java skills for Android and is starting to get into Cordova apps development. FIFA DiegoA self-proclaimed “authentic Brazilian guy”, Diego loves soccer, both on the field and, because he’s a bit of a nerd too, of course in video games.

He also happens to be a really nice guy.

Q: What attracted you to the BIT Program (and Canada, and Winnipeg) in the first place?

Actually, I only got to choose a country, and the Brazilian government picked my city and College. I chose Canada because it is famously a really friendly country. For international students this is really valuable. I don’t regret my choice.

Q: What were you hoping to get out of this BIT Space Development  project when you first heard about it?

I already got really excited right from the beginning. As soon as I heard about the idea of the project, I was pretty sure that I was going to have new challenges every week and that I would be getting a lot of knowledge and experience from that. That’s what is really happening now.

Q: Have the program, the project, and Winnipeg met your expectations?

Actually, this entire experience has exceeded my expectations.  I was pretty sure it would be amazing for me to learn a new language and culture, and to study in a great college, but I feel like I am a totally different person from the one who arrived here a few months ago. Before coming to Winnipeg I was still living at home with my family, so just being out on my own was a big change. But being surrounded by so many different cultures and ways of thinking here has made a big impression.

Q: What has been the most useful thing you have learned so far through the project?

It’s hard to pick  just one thing. My programming skills have of course improved massively, but I’ve also learned how to work in a team (including how to do team programming using Git), how to work with Scrum, and a bunch of other cool stuff (like unwinding with a Newcastle at the King’s head).

Photo of the team winding down at the King's Head after another sprint retrospective

Diego showing everyone how it’s done at the King’s Head after another Friday’s sprint retrospective

Q: What is the most challenging thing you have learned so far through the project?

I think that the biggest challenge was to create our own WordPress plugin. That was something totally new for me and the documentation is not that easy to read. So the team and I spent an entire week just figuring out small pieces of how to get this done.

Q: What has been the most enjoyable part of the project?

Definitely the most enjoyable part is the chance to create cool stuff from scratch.

Q: What has been the most frustrating part of the project?

The most frustrating part was at the beginning of the project when we were not familiar with Panoramas and the existing code. So we had to study the documentation and the code and fix a lot of bugs.

Q: How will what you have learned so far (and anticipate learning) through the project impact your future?

My intention is to continue working in IT. At this point that probably means working for an IT company, but launching out on my own is also a possibility. I hope to work on big projects. Though I have done quite a bit of front-end development in my BIT Space project, I think I still prefer working on the back end. And all the knowledge that I’ve gotten working on this project will be valuable for sure and will help me to succeed professionally.

Q: What have you have been working on this past week, and what have been your biggest challenge and your proudest achievement related to that?

WordPla screen capture

Screen dump of new WordPlā game plugin

In the past week I was developing a new vocabulary game for the PanoPla plugin where users click on a panorama hotspot and then have to pick its corresponding term from a list of vocabulary words. The biggest challenge was to start working as developer in WordPress. Though I had worked in WordPress before, it was pretty basic stuff and I had never created a plugin from scratch as we did during the project. The proudest achievement so far, I think, is the creation of two JavaScript/PHP games from scratch, being the first time trying something like that.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering the BIT Program?

I would say just go for it. The courses are really great and definitely give you the needed tools to be an amazing programmer. The BIT project is really promising and I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be huge. So keep an eye on it!

Diego definition

Q: What will be your best memory of Winnipeg?

I’ll take with me for the rest of my life a bunch of great moments and experiences from Winnipeg. Here I experienced new things, met cool people, learned a lot, and became someone better than I was before. It’s hard to explain. Independence can’t help but change you. But it’s so many of the little things I have experienced here, like someone holding a door open for you, that remind me every day that I am in a different culture. It is also a very positive environment where people value honesty and integrity, and where you can take people at face value. It is refreshing to be surrounded by caring people, the kindness of strangers.