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RECAP: JSBA's DASH Conference

JSBA’s conference last Saturday was all about innovation and tech, and students from all majors were invited to listen to speakers from top tech companies from Montreal to share their knowledge and experience during the panels. Speakers and representatives also had the opportunity to connect with the students and inform them about internship and job opportunities within their companies.

The day started with a keynote from Julie Major, who combines AI and human resources in her job at Shopify. She shared the many advantages to both employees and companies of new software that put an end to many of the classic human resources frustrations, like knowing your benefits and being able to change whenever you need. She also touched on the fear that many may have, that AI would replace humans in jobs. She believes that this is a myth and that jobs will instead more focus on the human skills that machines don’t have like creativity, critical and strategic thinking.

The opening note was followed by two different panels from which you had to choose. There was a panel about women in technology offered at this time, but I opted for the panel on AI. Four speakers from leading tech companies in Montreal shared about what they believe is the future of AI. Tecsys, a supply chain software company believed it is all about eliminating inefficacies. Now, not only coders can read data, but through interfaces, now managers can make better decisions using data. They all shared also the same fear: dirty data. Managers need to be educated about the data that they are using and policies need to be in place. They ended the panel with career advice for students: be open to learn and be curious, because these are skills that can not be replaced. Also, take a computer science class and stay up to date. Lastly, be authentic, follow your passion and choose what you want to do in the world.

The panel was followed by lunch where we had the chance to meet the speakers and other representatives from the different companies. After lunch, we had to choose again from 2 different panels. I decided to go to the panel on project management, but there was also a panel about Fintech. Four project managers shared about the different styles of project management such as waterfall and agile, and the many challenges you face as a project manager, which is mostly communication between departments and sometimes countries. Lastly, they shared tips on how to become a project manager, they said that there is not one specific path since in every department there are projects ongoing.

Following the panel was the closing note by Wemba Opota, who works in data and artificial intelligence with Microsoft. He is a very engaging speaker who was going through all the basic questions you can have about what AI is, and how every industry is augmented with AI. The day ended with a cocktail and some networking with all the panel speakers and different companies. It was a long and eventful day where I learned a lot and had my eyes opened to the top tech companies that we have in Montreal and the how the careers in AI are in reach for every major, resulting in the importance of knowledge in technology in whatever career path you are on.

In their words: it was a DASHing success.


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