Dalton Pearson is a 2019 graduate of Niagara College’s Computer Programming program and served as both a research assistant and research associate with the Research & Innovation division, most recently with the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre. Dalton is currently employed as a software systems engineer for Praemo in Kitchener.
Tell us about where you work:
I currently work for a company called Praemo in Kitchener; we are primarily a data science company. We use machine learning and data science to provide real-time monitoring and anomaly detection for the industrial sector.
Describe your role and what you like about it:
As a software systems engineer, I tend to deal with a lot of areas, but generally, I am responsible for how data enters, moves through, and is stored, within our systems. I also manage our infrastructure, technologies, and development workflows. But on any given day, I can find myself working in any area since I have an understanding of how all our systems work and interact with each other. This is the perfect position for me; primarily backend-development, working with big-data, and we use Python, which is a huge plus in my books.
How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped you prepare for your current role?
My experience at R&I was instrumental in landing my current position, since we were dealing with similar problems at both places – making sense of large amounts of data. I was able to re-apply a lot of the solutions and technologies that we came up with at R&I with a high level of confidence.
A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?
The project that will always have a special place in my heart is working on the RoamIO Jumbo land robot project with Korechi Innovation. It was one of those great projects that was very rewarding and just bolstered my love of programming. That project was also largely written using Python, which is what we use at Praemo.
What led you to Niagara College in the first place?
I had some friends who went to NC, and they gave it glowing reviews.
Most memorable experience at NC?
That would have to be winning the Community Project Competition for the scoring website that we created for Squash Niagara.
A faculty member who influenced you?
Marsha Baddeley – a great professor and she always kept me challenged and hungry for harder problems.
A mentor at R&I?
There’s a couple: Mike Duncan [PhD] – he is both one of the most intelligent and down-to-earth people I know, and he always pushed me to reach my full potential. Also, [former senior research associate] Ryan Tunis – he really took me under his wing and would always toss new and harder problems my way. We’re now close friends.
“I was able to re-apply a lot of the solutions and technologies that we came up with at Research & Innovation with a high level of confidence.”
What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?
Work on hard problems that you find rewarding and don’t be afraid to move fast and break things – it’s a unique learning environment that you won’t see anywhere else. Try as many technologies as it takes until you find one that works for you and your problem.
After being in the workforce, what have you learned?
In my experience, software development is a true meritocracy, where hard work and talent are rewarded. I’ve learned not to be afraid to ask for what you think you’re worth and don’t settle for less; the right opportunity will come around, and you’ll both be lucky to have found each other.
Proudest achievement since graduating?
Becoming a professional Python developer.
Interests outside of work?
We have a ping pong table at work, so I play a lot of ping pong both inside and outside of work. I’m still always working on my own personal software projects that solve the problems that I deal with.
If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?
Software is the direction the world is going – embrace it or get left behind.
Anything else you want to say?
I will always value my time at R&I and all of the friends that I made there. It was the experience of a lifetime; thanks for taking a chance on me!