Nicholas Hoekstra, current student

Nicholas got bitten by the tech bug at a young age when he dabbled in web creation and HTML, but it wasn’t until high school that he realized he could turn his hobby into a career. Keen to “delve right in,” his interest was piqued by SFU’s computing science program.

A curious mind, a drive to experiment, and the ability to think outside the box are important skills for computing science students, says Nicholas.

“I like being able to actually see how different programs and software actually work, rather than just taking it for granted as some magical application,” he says. “Creativity is also useful to find solution to problems and recognize patterns.”

He emphasizes the benefits of getting involved in the rich extracurricular life at SFU. He has been a core member of the Computing Science Student Society, acting at various times as a representative, vice president and secretary.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great way to meet and talk to students who are in the same field as you outside of class,” he says.

“It bridges the gap between departments and opens up a lot of opportunities. Especially when you’re first coming into school, you get to meet a lot of people studying at the same time, so it makes transition a lot easier.”

Nicholas recommends that new students break out of their comfort zones and try new things. “You never know, you might discover that you really like something unexpected,” he says. He is currently on the co-op program, working for the Government of Canada in Ottawa.

“Co-op is one of the most important and rewarding and best experiences you can have when you’re still in school,” he says. “It gives you so many skills and an employable background.”

Nicholas found that the program was flexible enough to allow him to study the aspects that interested him most, while still getting a solid grasp of the fundamentals: “You can set your own pace and choose different concentrations in the program, so you’re not locked into any huge life decisions early on.”  

A flexible career pathway was important for Nicholas, who relishes new challenges and variety of work. “With computing science, you’re not limited in your career or job choice because everything uses technology today,” he says.