For GIS – Applications Specialist graduate Trent Kading, his time at Frost Campus was a whirlwind. With 16 courses over the course of 10 months, intense group projects, intramural sports and on-campus events, the 2016 graduate reflects on his time in Lindsay, Ontario as being hectic.
Trent came to Fleming College after earning his Bachelor of Arts in Geography with a Geomatics Option from Wilfrid Laurier University. A GIS professor at Laurier had recommended the renowned Fleming program to Trent when he expressed interest in gaining more practical knowledge.
“My overall experience at Frost Campus was a memorable life experience,” said Trent, who spent every day on campus completing assignments and participating in extracurricular activities. “Throughout the weekdays the campus is buzzing with people, inside and out. The weekends, however, can be very quiet apart from the GIS labs where, as my fellow GIS students can attest, we spent more time there than anywhere else.”
Despite the heavy GIS workload, Trent said he was able to squeeze in some fun thanks to accommodating departments and services at Fleming College. “The Athletics Department was extremely helpful in arranging times for intramurals,” said Trent, providing the example of Indoor Soccer games being scheduled for a time GIS students could participate. “The same goes for the Auk’s Lodge Trivia; being unable to attend Trivia due to class, on request they would host a second-round of Trivia an hour later.”
One of the projects that kept Trent busy was his GIS co-op with classmates Michael Flewwelling and Keith Stickwood, where the team built a virtual tour of Frost Campus for the Fleming College Marketing Department. “The overall experience was very stressful but overall gratifying,” said Trent. He said the team strategically worked on the project during regular business hours like a job, explaining, “this allowed me to gain a greater understanding of time management, as it allowed the group to split up tasks rather than trying to do everything together.”
Trent said he is using the problem solving and client relationship skills he gained during the GIS co-op in his current job at Safe Software, where he was hired after graduating from Fleming College. “Being able to solve problems and interact directly with a client translates to exactly what my job entails. It allowed me to develop my skills in a positive way that I would not have experienced otherwise,” he said.
Trent currently works as the FME Desktop Tech Expert at Safe Software in Surrey, British Columbia, where he helps clients with technical inquiries. Safe Software incorporates GIS to handle spatial data, and Trent focuses on Esri and database topics in his role. He also creates articles and tutorials for Safe Software’s Knowledge Base.
“The Fleming education did help me get the job, especially with the problem solving aspect of the program and the direct correlation with the position I got,” said Trent. Although Trent believes no post-secondary program can fully prepare you for the “real world,” he does believe Fleming’s GIS program prepared him as much as possible. In particular, GIS students gain presentation skills, problem solving skills, and hands-on experience, which Trent said are applicable to your career.
The Fleming College graduate relocated for this career opportunity and is glad he took the risk. “BC has turned out to be a great experience. The scenery, the people, even the touristy attractions are wonderful,” he said. “The advice I would give to those pursuing this career path is to be open to new experiences. I found that when applying to jobs, I was limited by what was within travel distance within Ontario (GTA namely). By broadening my scope, I was able to find a position that matched exactly what I was looking for.”