Sep 10, 2018
Shannon van Leenen
Media Relations Officer
Bow Valley College School of Creative Technologies Signs AI Entrepreneur and Expert Ryan O’Farrell to Faculty to Meet Industry Demand for Globally-Innovative Instructors
CALGARY, AB – In the pursuit of designing learning experiences that empower as well as educate, The School of Creative Technologies (SCT) at Bow Valley College has added Canadian software and AI expert, SCRUM specialist and entrepreneur Ryan O’Farrell to its growing faculty list.
The College launched the SCT in 2017, developing programming that answered the demand by employers to graduate viable candidates who specialize in technology and design. Courses and programs include Software Development (Diploma and Post-Diploma), Data Management (Diploma and Post-Baccalaureate), Analytics Software Development and Digital Marketing. IBM Skills Academy Certifications and Badges in Micro-credentials are also being offered through Bow Valley College’s School of Continuing Learning.
Amos Ngai, Associate Dean of the School of Creative Technologies says hard skills such as coding, software development and design are the necessary core competencies, but adding soft skills training empowers learners to communicate effectively, learn on the fly, and move nimbly between projects and corporate culture.
“You can’t get away with just coding anymore because the tech industry is moving way too fast,” says Ngai. “Alberta employers want capable developers that are adaptive and responsive. Our learners need to know how to analyze, explain, apply, code and fix a development project. Expert instructors like Ryan can give them the push they need to develop these capabilities and be even more curious and competent.”
Bow Valley College was among several post-secondary institutions that received additional funding from Alberta Ministry of Advanced education to offer 30 additional seats for its Software Development Diploma program. Adding more instructors was necessary to help CTS meet the demand and to stand apart.
O’Farrell fits the moniker of disruptive innovator. A computer science graduate at Western University in London, Ontario and a certified Agile Scrum Master, he been an entrepreneur for over 25 years, working around the world for numerous start-ups and AI technology ventures. He is also an active partner in a Calgary-based software consulting firm with development centers in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Mumbai, India.
On the side, he’s a member of the ‘maker’ community (tech-based DIY), Ashoka and IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), and spends summers flying bush aircraft to Alaska and northern Canada as a delivery pilot. He says his insatiable inquisitiveness is what has driven him toward a truly unique career.
“I’ve always been interested cutting-edge development technology building world-class solutions for web, mobile, embedded, and machine learning platforms,” he says. “I wanted to bring this energy to the classroom to help students see the very real potential in software. The innovation in the industry is really democratizing and decolonizing, which gives graduates more opportunities to branch out and think globally.”
With growing need for AI and Internet of Things (IOT), the College’s unique line up of programs offers learners immediate potential for employment today and for job roles that are being created.
“Salaries and benefits in development careers are solid, especially after you pick up a few years' experience, and even more if you specialize. Every day, the world generates 2.5 exabytes of data. It's a huge challenge to manage this information and our graduates will be able to step up and deliver but you’ve got to do it in a way that brings value and makes sense to users,” states O’Farrell.
His advice to those considering software development includes paying attention to presentation and design in addition to cross-platform coding and languages.
“Take every chance you can get to improve communication skills, explore a wide variety of technologies, gain an appreciation for the business realities of building software systems, and above all, take pride in being a part of an "ongoing revolution" that is making the world a better place every day,” he concludes.
For more information on the School of Creative Technologies, visit www.bowvalleycollege.ca.
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Bow Valley College
About Bow Valley College Bow Valley College - Calgary and region's only Comprehensive Community College - with more than 15,000 full- and part-time students, is a leader in business and health career training, community studies, creative technologies, adult upgrading, and English Language Learning.