Jack of All Trades. Master of Some.

I’ve never been one to have an intense and enduring passion for any particular subject. Instead, I find myself mildly interested in a vast number of really unrelated fields. These interests are often short-lived and as a consequence, I have no expertise in a any single area. “You’ll become a jack of all trades!” my friends warned me, “If you’re too scattered, you’ll never be good at anything” they mocked me. Well, I’m glad to say they were all wrong.

Three-quarters of the way through my placement at uOttawa Design Services*, I can truly appreciate the benefits of being so “scattered.” Although my official role is to be the main software developer for Grow Wave — an autonomous and wirelessly controlled hydroponics system we are working on — the scope of my day-to-day tasks is all-encompassing. During my first week of work, I went to the Simon Nehme Entrepreneurship School with my supervisor (a happy coincidence) and we worked on developing the business model for Grow Wave, conducting market research, obtaining consumer validation, and even pitched the idea to potential investors. Ever since, I’ve been alternating between working on programming the microcontrollers that power our device, building a user-friendly web-app for it, and creating the back-end that ties them together. Sprinkle in a bit of welding, laser-cutting, and CAD design here and there and you get a gist of how diverse my job is.

Would I say that I am proficient with each and every one of the tasks I am assigned? Absolutely not, not even close. It is only because I have dabbled in so many activities in the past that I am savvy enough to get the job done (or at least know where to get help). Of course, I want to become exceptionally good at certain things, but not at the expense of having a broad skill set. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to become a jack of all trades and a master of some.

I really want RBC and the uOttawa Co-op office for setting me up to work in an environment so uniquely suited to my personality. I thought working in a startup would be fun, but my experience so far has been far beyond what I imagined.

*uOttawa Design Services is a team of dynamic engineers and students that help their clients create and develop a wide range of products and ideas. You can find out more about them here.