Heading to Canada!

Hello folks!

I am moving to Canada! After a lot of research and thinking (along with my wife), we decided to move to Canada, a thorough change in our lives! I applied to the Conestoga College located in Kitchener, Ontario where I am going to attend to their embedded systems program for two years. Kitchener is a relatively small city (a population of about 230,000) located east of Toronto (about 1-hour drive). The Kitchener metropolitan area is know as Canada’s “silicon valley) and includes two other cities: Cambridge (south of Kitchener) and Waterloo (north of Kitchener), the area has a population of about 523,000. Waterloo has a famous and highly regarded university (University of Waterloo) and a lot of technology companies have offices or branches there (such as Google, Blackberry, NCR, D2L, OpenText, etc.) and even auto companies such as Toyota.

One of the Conestoga College campi

I have first heard of the Conestoga College in mid-2016, while I was searching for embedded systems programs in Canada. I must say the program courses are very interesting and I am sure it will boost the resume of most professionals (as I expect to myself). In 2016 I’ve made a trip to Canada and along with my wife, visited the college. Program coordinator, Mr. Rudy Hofer, took us on a tour through campus, showing labs (which  have some Blackberry equipments), classrooms, etc. I also took the chance to finally meet in person Magdugal Rexon, an Indian student who attends to the embedded systems program and helped me a lot with the doubts I had before making my decision. I have no doubts that tour showed me that college was the right place for me!

With my friend Magdugal Rexon

Talking about the program itself, it is a full-time (some classes in the morning, some in the afternoon), four-semester program, three of them are in classroom and one (third) can be a co-op or a career-management course. This program is focused on graduated students who want to have a hands-on embedded system experience (as some engineering programs are mostly theoretical). As far as I know, this is a Lato Sensu post-graduation program.

First semester has the following courses (as of 2017 program):

  • Embedded Programming Principles – C programing for embedded systems, algorithm development, modular coding, etc;
  • Entrepreneurship;
  • Electronics Design Principles – this is electronics with focus on embedded systems (power supply, signal conditioning, etc.);
  • Digital Design Principles – digital electronics, including logic synthesis, timing, clock generation, etc;

Second semester:

  • Bare Metal Programming – microcontroller programming without the use of an operating system;
  • Data Structures and Algorithms for Embedded Programming – this course approaches efficiency and performance analysis of embedded software algorithms and data structures;
  • Operating Systems Design – overview of operating systems and concepts regarding multitasking;
  • Embedded Systems Hardware Design – approaches embedded hardware design including multilayer PCB designing, etc;
  • Hardware/Software Interfacing – approaches interfacing and sensor interfacing by using general protocols such as I2C, SPI, CAN, etc;

Fourth semester:

  • Software Engineering Principles – methods and tools for projecting, analyzing and testing embedded software;
  • Engineering Capstone Project – a conclusion project using the knowledge learned;
  • Advanced Digital Signal Processing Applications – hardware ad software tools for digital signal processing;
  • Reconfigurable Systems Principles – programmable logic and reconfigurable/adaptive computing;

Well, that is it for now! We are still packing and preparing for this huge step and also trying to solve all pending issues for our arrival. I’ll be posting more on Canada, local technology, student visa and life in Conestoga College soon, see you!

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