Co-op opportunity with WAMIC solidified benefits of team work

Elzo Honorato

Elzo Honorato graduated from the Computer Programming Analysis (Co-op) program at Niagara College in 2021. While in school he was employed with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC), earning experience working on projects with external industry partners. Today, he is a data consultant with Newcomp Analytics. 

Tell us about where you work (name and type of company) and your current position/title:

I work for Newcomp Analytics as a data consultant. Newcomp is a company specializing in data consulting and development that provides data analysis for hundreds of clients across all industries around the world.

Describe your role and what you like about it:

I am a data consultant who works directly with clients providing data analysis, data export and data visualization using IBM software, such as, Cognos Planning Analytics with Watson and Cognos Analytics, as well as many other tools like Alteryx, Power BI, and Tableau.

As a consultant I work with clients from all over the world which provides me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge of data approaches in different industries.

How has your experience with Research & Innovation helped prepare you for your current role?

While working at R&I, more specifically at WAMIC, we worked on a project where we developed smart candles for a local company which helped me to prepare for my current consultant job. I learned how to communicate with clients, to meet their expectations within a specified deadline, and to take ownership of the project with my teammates, which prepared me for managing my own projects with Newcomp Analytics. 

A memorable applied research project during your time at R&I?

While working for R&I, I had the opportunity to work for WAMIC and AETIC, where I could work as a software developer and IoT developer. However, developing the smart candles was the most remarkable experience since I had to learn how to program microcontrollers and learned a lot more about IoT devices and cloud computing. Finally, seeing the excitement in the client’s face when the project was delivered was indeed rewarding. 

What led you to Niagara College in the first place?

As an international student, Niagara College provided the best academic experience in my life. The departments at the college are well organized and very helpful for new students. Also, the Computer Programming and Analysis program is well designed to prepare current students for their co-op term. This aspect of the college is what led me to study at this institution.

Most memorable experience at NC?

My most memorable experience at Niagara College was my time at WAMIC. I have many memorable experiences working with different students from different programs on the same project, such as, Mechanical Engineers and Electrical Engineers. I met incredible people there and made many friends, who I still have contact with. I can still picture us working on the same project and trying to solve problems as a team.

“I learned how to communicate with clients, to meet their expectations within a specified deadline, and to take ownership of the project with my teammates, which prepared me for managing my own projects with Newcomp Analytics.”

Is there a particular mentor at either R&I or a faculty member who influenced you?

I could mention many faculty members that helped me through my years at Niagara College. However, three of them were, particularly, vital for my formation.

In my program, I would like to thank Marsha Baddeley for being a great professor. She is an excellent professor and makes the boring part fun. She was very supportive when mentoring me in many projects during my program.

At WAMIC, Dr. Al Spence and Amal Driouich made my co-op term very remarkable. Dr. Al Spence helped me in developing a better understanding in [Internet of Things] IoT devices and microcontrollers by using different programming languages and approaches I did not learn in class. Amal Driouich, at the same time, helped me to improve my strengths and weaknesses during this period. They also gave me feedback that, eventually, helped me to get my current job.

What advice would you impart to current research students or future alumni?

Be open and ready to learn new tools and techniques you have never seen or heard before. It is crucial to a future research student to be able to read and write documentation. Take this opportunity to identify what you lack and take advantage of the senior members of your department to learn more about career paths.

After being in the workforce, what have you learned?

I have learned how to deal with clients and to work with different people to reach the client’s needs and goals. R&I contributed to my career in many ways, however, I would highlight the desire and ability to learn more, which is crucial for any student and professional.

Proudest achievement since graduating?

I am proud of finding a great place for my co-op term where I work on projects from the very first steps until delivering it. My co-op internship was crucial to my growth as a professional. I found a secure and great job even before graduating and during my last interview session they mentioned that they loved hearing about my co-op projects.

What are you passionate about at the moment?

Data visualization became my new passion, as my company provided me with many courses and opportunities to become an expert on it. As a data consultant I have the privilege to travel and to be up to date on many new data spreads and visualization software that are coming up. It is always exciting when your company gives you the chance to learn the newest tools. 

Interests outside of work?

When I’m not working, I am reading. I love reading philosophy and theology books. I always had the desire to be a Theologian and I spend most of my free time searching, studying, and expanding my knowledge about God and the Bible. I also enjoy history and old languages, such as koine Greek (Old Greek) and Hebrew, which help me a lot in reading old philosophy books and the New and Old Testament of the bible in its original languages.

If you could have a billboard message seen by many, what would it say?

As long as you live, seek knowledge because an intelligent heart obtains knowledge and the ear of the wise will always seek knowledge.