One of the great things about UIT is that everyone who teaches you has real-life experience in the industry. In a typical university, the professors are academics who have studied the fields they’re in for many years. For a lot of subjects, that model seems to work pretty well, as the professors know quite a bit about what they’re teaching. But for some subjects, that teaching model just seems wrong. For example, look at programming and business – the two core features of the UIT program.

I know I’d definitely rather learn programming from people who practice it every day as part of their job. And I know I’d want to learn how to run a business from people who have that experience of their own! That’s why we have mentors. Not only do we get the dynamic duo of Rob and Eric every class but we also have guests come in occasionally. This week we had two separate mentors come in.

First, we got to meet Gavin Uhma. He’s the founder of this program, and the ‘U’ in the name of it. We each pitched our chat apps for him briefly as well as showed him our demos. Personally, mine didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.  I kind of rushed through it. Part of it was because I was slightly nervous. Part of it was because I was sick as a dog (which contributed to the nervousness). After the presentation I mentioned to Eric how I felt about it. After talking with him, I agreed that it’s better to do a presentation while you’re sick, than to not do it at all.

The same week we also had Gab White come to UIT to do a workshop on design. Gab is a professional web developer/designer from Halifax. In the workshop, she gave everyone some valuable insights on how to make a web page not just visually appealing, but a good experience for the user. She also showed us how to use the mockup creator, Sketch. It’s a pretty cool program I must say!

I wasn’t sure how much the class would interest me, only because of the fact that I’m much more of a programmer than a designer. When I’m working on something that has a visual interface, design sometimes gets put on the backburner. However, I found the workshop really interesting, and Gab gave a great presentation. Surprisingly, it was relieving taking a break from coding for once, which was an unexpected feeling. And thanks to the presentation, it will be easier for me to get through the design side of programming, using Sketch. Also, it will help me out in the future if I have to collaborate with a designer. I’ll be able to know where they’re coming from and put myself in their shoes better!

I prefer design to code, like I probably said in the past. I’ve been playing with Photoshop for something like 5 years or so. I really enjoyed Gab’s workshop, because it was good to learn concepts I’ve only ever done in Photoshop, and Sketch seems much quicker and easier to work with. I still have Photoshop on both my computers, but I’ve been wireframing my SaaS in sketch, which so far I’ve been really enjoying.

Sketch is super simple and intuitive. With my Photoshop experience, it was no problem to pick up over the last week or so. Gab covered the basics of website wireframing, which was quite fun to learn. She also shared a spreadsheet with her design resources which is incredibly useful to have. I think we should get more of those!

In my opinion, it was a great idea to bring in a mentor to teach a whole new aspect of the class. I think it worked really well, and just looking around the class I can see people wireframing their apps and they look a lot better than the other stuff we’ve made so far. I’m really excited to see how everyone’s website will turn out. I’m glad we had someone come in who had a background in design and really knew what she was doing.

My SaaS is going to be implemented into my chat app, so I’ve been redesigning the login, chat and the market-thingy. It’s a place where you can pay tutors to come help you with homework or any math equations you may need to figure out. So far I’ve had no issues with Sketch at all, it’s been really fun to use. One thing though, I wish the magic wand tool worked better like Photoshop in Sketch, but it really sucks.

We started learning Angular this week too. Its looks pretty neat, and I’m pretty excited to get working with it on Mathboard.