Robert Holt, Programmer (Co-op)

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Macro Man
Governance analyst co-op, Canadian Tire

Robert’s tiny morsels of code made a big impact on how Canadian Tire looks at technology. 

Robert helped create a database of information on enterprise technology assets.  This includes all the technology Canadian Tire uses across the business from iPhone apps to automated warehouses. Robert simplified the language so it’s easier to understand for people outside IT. The database is now a centerpiece for his team!

Robert’s CareerMash

During his co-op term at Canadian Tire, Robert used his programming skills to help Canadian Tire map out how technology can improve its activities.  “I assist people in creating and developing tools such as repositories (databases), diagrams and reports. I also assist people in other business areas in creating roadmaps,” he says.  A roadmap is a plan to introduce new technologies to a specific part of the business. It describes how the technologies will help achieve business strategies. 

A big part of Robert’s role involved creating “macros”: tiny pieces of code that tell computers and programs what to do.  They are programming shortcuts that quickly switch to different screens, perform several math formulas in sequence, run tasks, or perform other duties.  “Functionality” refers to what the technology, for example software, can do for the business.  Thanks to his programming knowledge, Robert added a ton of functionality to the enterprise technology asset database.

Microsoft tech tools are crucial to Robert’s work.  “We use Microsoft Office and collaboration tools like Sharepoint to create supporting documents based on data we have in our repositories.  This helps the business to make informed decisions regarding the planning of projects,” he says.

Why this job rocks

“I love working with technologies.  Programming is a hobby of mine, and anything that allows me to come up with solutions to problems is always rewarding.”

Roadmap

  • Robert is studying computer science at the University of Waterloo.
  • He completed a previous four-month term at Canadian Tire in a similar role on the same team.  He was invited to come back and complete a second co-op, which he happily accepted!
  • Robert’s next steps are to finish his degree.

Tips for success

  • Learn Microsoft Office:  Understanding this software is essential in almost every corporate job.  Robert took high school courses in Excel, Word, Access and Visio. 
  • Use your electives wisely: In grade 10, Robert took a course in visual basic (a programming language) that turned out to be very useful for creating macros at Canadian Tire.
  • Embrace challenge: Co-op jobs let you jump in and gain real life experience.  “You don’t have to be an expert in anything yet,” Robert says.