Category Archives: Careers

The Horizons Fellowship


Just got this in my inbox…

The Horizons Fellowship

The Horizons Fellowship supports 10 outstanding university students in their pursuit to become tomorrow’s leaders in technology. The program is a part-time 6-month experience (or full-time summer experience) that teaches software engineering and provides students with the network and perspective needed to launch their careers in tech. The program requires no prior computer science or programming knowledge. It is open to current university students of all ages. Students develop the arsenal of highly employable software engineers as well as the perspective of entrepreneurs.

Application Process/Criteria

·         Currently enrolled in a 4-year university program

·         Submission of transcript, resume, and standardized test scores on

·         Series of fit and technical interviews

·         Applications are on a rolling basis. The final deadline is July 20th 2016 but we encourage students to apply sooner as the program is already filling up.

Horizons Fellowship Details

·         800+ hours of learning to build web applications

·         1-on-1 mentorship from technology industry leaders

·         Speaker series consisting of entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, product managers and designers from successful technology companies & leading venture capital firms

·         Lifelong access to the Horizons Career Network

Tenure-track positions in materials engineering

The Faculty  of Engineering at the University of Ottawa is recruiting in the area of materials engineering.  The description of the positions is posted at under ‘Faculty of Engineering’.  The deadline to apply is March 1, 2016.

Engineering Degrees Provide Biggest Returns

Originally published here.

A new report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York breaks down the return on investment enjoyed by holders of bachelor’s degrees in the United States and reaches the conclusion that engineering majors reap the biggest economic rewards amongst all subject areas.

The study, conducted by economists Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz, calculated the return on investment of tertiary degrees by first looking at the wage disparity between degree holders and high school grads over the past four decades. A model was then used to calculate the lifetime earnings of each group, factoring in both the cost of tuition fees and the opportunity cost of pursuing a tertiary education in order to obtain final figures for returns on investment. While holders of bachelor’s degrees see a 15 per cent return on their education investment on average, engineering majors come in well ahead of the back, with a return on investment of 21 per cent.

Engineers are also significantly ahead of the second place holders – math and computing majors and health majors, who enjoy returns of 18 per cent on their education expenditures. Business majors take fourth place, with returns on investment of 17 per cent.

At the opposite end of the scale were holders of degrees in the liberal arts, education and agriculture and natural resources, all of whom saw returns on investment well short of the average. Education majors enjoy returns on investment of under 10 per cent, while holders of liberal art degrees see returns of just 12 to 13 per cent.

engineering degree

While training in engineering or computer science provides the biggest returns, the economic promise of these degrees has failed to boost their popularity amongst undergraduates, and they comprised only eight per cent of all degrees issued in the United States the 2011-12 school year. This is less than half the percentage for the most popular type of undergraduate degree – that of business studies, which accounted for around one-fifth of all degrees issued in the same school year.

According to the study’s authors, the reason for the relative want of popularity of engineering and other science-related subjects is the very same reason for the high levels of remuneration they provide – the difficulty of pursuing these areas of study compared to easier subjects such as commerce and accounting.

“Not all majors are feasible for every college student,” said the authors. “For example, recent research has shown that graduating with a math or science major is more difficult than pursuing other fields of study.”

Salary gaps

Engineering wins!   Taken from

Post Grad Earnings

Post Grad Earnings


The UK experience

A few years ago, I had the marvelous opportunity to work and study in the UK, with funding from the UK via the British Council.  It was a great experience and one that I would recommend to anybody.  It was also not an experience unique to me since many others have had the same wonderful opportunity.   The British Council has made a short film documenting how other scholars have fared in these types of experiences.  The short film can be seen below.

Longer versions can be found on the British Council’s Youtube page.

The surprising truth about what motivates us

What Star Wars Teaches Us About Career Management

It’s been really difficult using the Force to convince your HR manager or boss to see things your way: Your threats of turning fellow workers to the Dark Side sound hollow and that Jedi mind trick you’ve been working on for the past six months doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere. Your big promotion? You might as well be working in the Spice Mines of Kessel.

So what’s left? Use the implicit wisdom and shared experiences of those inhabitants of a galaxy far, far away to raise your profile and keep your reputation free from coworkers’ derogatory “bantha fodder” references.

“You have failed me for the last time, Admiral.” -Darth Vader
File Under: Employer Selection; Workplace Culture; Employee Grievances
Star Wars Moment: Several Empire commanders are either choked, threatened or murdered for challenging Imperial authority and/or failing on their respective missions. In one memorable scene in Episode V, Captain Piett is quickly promoted to Admiral Piett just after the former Admiral Ozzel is choked to death by Lord Vader, due to his clumsiness and stupidity.
Real-World Lesson: If your company’s chain-of-command allows for the somewhat indiscriminate sacking and/or killing of employees for speaking up or failing on business initiatives, find a job elsewhere.

“I suggest a new strategy, R2: Let the Wookiee win.” -C-3PO
File Under: CRM; Relationship Building; Networking
Star Wars Moment: C-3PO advises R2-D2 to allow Chewbacca to win at a space-age chess game aboard the Millennium Falcon. Wookiees can “pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose,” advises Han Solo. “Wookiees are known to do that.”
Real-World Lesson: Always allow your boss or most important customer to beat you at golf, get the best seat at a restaurant and tell the same story you’ve heard 30 times before.

“Execute Order 66.” -Darth Sidious (a.k.a. Dark Lord of the Sith, a.k.a. Chancellor Palpatine, a.k.a. The Emperor)
File Under: Recruiting; Employer Culture
Star Wars Moment: The Army of the Republic troops, which eventually become part of the evil Galactic Empire, are all clones, and we see the failings of “clone behavior” and the disastrous outcomes. Order 66 results in a mass Jedi murder.
Real-World Lesson: Individuality and entrepreneurial thinking are typically underappreciated in most organizations today, but companies with too many clones (a.k.a. “yes men”) rarely enjoy sustained business success.

“Soon you will learn to appreciate me.” -Jabba the Hutt (and his gross tongue)
File Under: Workplace Culture; Networking
Star Wars Moment: Princess Leia must sport virtually non-existent “slave” attire in Episode VI as she is forced to sit at the side of Jabba the Hutt in his main audience chamber and sail barge.
Real-World Lesson: Even if you look like Princess Leia (circa 1980s!), don’t wear a bikini (or any revealing garb, for that matter) to poolside corporate events—real-life Jabbas will be watching.

“It’s very dangerous putting them together. I don’t think the boy can handle it.” -Mace Windu
File Under: Human Capital Management; Succession Planning
Star Wars Moment: The Jedi Counsel assigns an impressionable and unstable Anakin Skywalker, who is supposed to bring balance to the Force, peace to the galaxy, etc., to serve as the “personal representative” for Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to the Jedi Council. Never mind that Palpatine makes most Jedi Knights uneasy and fear for the future of the Galactic Republic.
Real-World Lesson: Not the wisest idea to allow the “chosen one” and the best hope for the future of your company to be mentored or influenced by an individual you don’t fully trust.

“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” -Obi-Wan Kenobi
File Under: Retirement Strategies; Succession Planning
Star Wars Moment: An aged Obi-Wan Kenobi allows himself to be struck down by his former apprentice Darth Vader, who chastises Kenobi: “Your powers are weak, old man.”
Real-World Lesson: Sometimes “more seasoned” and “longer tenured” employees will be asked to “take one for the team.” How graceful will your exit be?

“Commander, tear this ship apart until you’ve found those plans!” -Darth Vader
File Under: Project Management; Risk Management
Star Wars Moment: Rebels are able to acquire a secret set of plans to the Empire’s Death Star, and eventually exploit a weakness and destroy the moon-size battle station.
Real-World Lesson: If you’ve got to nail “The Big Project,” think carefully about the worst, most gaping vulnerability in the project. And don’t, under any circumstances, allow that vulnerability to leak out onto, say, the Internet.

“But beware of the Dark Side. Anger, fear, aggression—the Dark Side of the Force are they.” -Yoda
File Under: Training and Development; Networking
Star Wars Moment: Yoda sagely instructs Luke Skywalker during his training on Dagobah, with guidance such as: “Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say…. You must unlearn what you have learned.” Skywalker says that he’ll try. “No!” says Yoda. “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Real-World Lesson: There’s a wealth of value for you in listening to the wisdom of another, older employee’s experiences—especially if that colleague has been mentoring others for 800 years. (Yoda wisdom for future Madoffs: “If once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny.”)

“It’s not fair.” -Han Solo
File Under: Skills Development
Star Wars Moment: In Episode V, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO are thwarted as they try to get away from the Empire (again) as the Millennium Falcon fails to make the jump to light speed. Damn hyperdrive! Solo makes a bold move and gets creative about hiding out from the Empire.
Real-World Lesson: Technology sometimes fails us when we need it the most. Also, be ready to try something radical and different with your career choices.

“You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It’s your choice.” -Luke Skywalker
File Under: Networking
Star Wars Moment: As our heroes are about to be pushed into the digestive tract of the all-powerful Sarlacc in Episode VI, Luke instructs Han Solo to stick close to Chewbacca and Lando because, as Luke says, “I’ve taken care of everything.”
Real-World Lesson: If there’s a rising star in your company and he gives advice or takes you under his wing, you’d better oblige him. (In other words: Stay close to the guy who’s got the “light saber” in the company.)

“I’m looking forward to completing your training. In time, you will call me master.” -The Emperor (a.k.a. Dark Lord of the Sith, a.k.a. Chancellor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious)
File Under: Employer Selection; Industry Switch; Networking
Star Wars Moment: In Episode VI, during a verbal spat with confused and proud-papa Darth Vader looking on, The Emperor derides Luke Skywalker, claiming that his biggest weakest is his “faith” in his Rebel Alliance friends, and that Skywalker is foolish for not joining the Dark Side.
Real-World Lesson: If you have trust in your present employer’s future strategy and coworkers’ competence, don’t let a rival employer sway you into joining his organization by using overconfident FUD.

“Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor. We’ll be destroyed for sure.” -C-3PO
File Under: Risk Management
Star Wars Moment: At the beginning of Episode IV, storm troopers blast through the door of Princess Leia’s starship and come charging in. The first ones through the door are killed by Princess Leia’s loyal guards.
Real-World Lesson: There are times when it’s a good strategy to be a “fast-follower” rather than the first one to jump to a new or risky assignment.

“I think she kinda likes me.” -Luke Skywalker
File Under: Relationship Building; Office Politics
Star Wars Moment: During the Star Wars saga, siblings Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia share several awkward moments and kisses, as a bewildered Han Solo usually looks on.
Real-World Lesson: Working closely with family members can be confusing at times and emotionally difficult.