Top software engineer credits co-op, friends for success

IEEE Victoria Section Gold Medal in Software Engineering



By Maria Lironi

At 22, Cecelia Redding is beginning a bright new future at one of Canada’s top firms.

She is also the recipient of this year’s IEEE Victoria Section Gold Medal in Software Engineering for having the highest graduating GPA in her class.

The Ottawa native credits her high marks, in part, to the friends she made in first year.

“I met all these people who became a support group that I could build upon,” says Redding. “We studied together, had fun rock climbing and golfing and also went on trips up island and to Seattle.

“Although I prefer to study for tests on my own, for assignments it is good to talk things through with others to see how they see it. Being able to openly ask questions if you didn’t understand something was a great support, especially for someone who was new in town. I certainly didn’t want to be home by myself struggling through assignments.”

Her marks were also helped by the fact that the faculty’s strong focus on project work fit with her hands-on learning style.

However, it was her co-op experience that made the biggest impact on Redding. “My co-ops actually changed how I approached school,” she says. “I learned it’s best not to split up a project before talking to people about their interests, and that projects take a lot longer than you might expect. By applying this knowledge I had happier team members which translated into better work and better grades.”

In all, Redding completed five co-op work terms during her degree including three placements at wireless communications leader Research in Motion (RIM), where she now works as an embedded systems software developer at the RIM headquarters in Waterloo.

“I think what I liked best about UVic was that everyone I met was excited about what they were doing no matter what they were studying. UVic has a lot of resources to help people with their degrees and people really shine in that environment. As far as studying software engineering, UVic was a good place to do it because of its flexible and young program. The professors are young so it’s easy to relate to them, and the class is small so you make friendships easily.

“The five years I spent at UVic were great.”

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