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Data Dreams: Hatim Rehman

Meet Hatim Rehman, an undergraduate computer software engineering student. Our team of engineering students, faculty and staff are pioneering new technologies to make data servers run more efficiently by building them in a streamlined, smarter way. Read more about the Hatim’s McMaster Engineering journey here:

McMaster (M): Tell me what inspired you to become an engineer.

Hatim Rehman (HR): Probably my oldest brother, he went in to engineering, too. He was really passionate about what he wanted to do. He’s always been into airplanes and into mechanics. He’s an aerospace engineer now, and that was always his dream. So I saw that and I thought to myself: “What’s my passion? What do I want to be?” I was always into technology and the software behind it. On Twitter, I follow all of these software developers and they always talk about code and iOS in general. It was always in front of me but I didn’t think I could be like them. When it came time to decide what I actually wanted to be, I looked at my passions, my hobbies, what I do in my spare time, what I read, all that, and then I decided maybe software was the best choice for me. And it actually was the best choice for me. When I came into second year, the classes I was taking, I was very passionate about it. I was absorbing it, I was having a fun time just learning all about it. So that’s how I started and where I got to where I am now.

M: Why did you choose McMaster?

HR: I heard all the good things about the School. Everyone says the community spirit here is unmatched compared to other institutions. It looked like a very good campus, and the engineering program here has a very good reputation. So I chose McMaster.

M: So what’s been your experience been like since you’ve been here?

HR: It’s been very positive. All the students try to help each other and bring each other up. It’s never a competition. If someone has the answers and knows how to do it they’ll help you out. I’ve had very good experiences with the professors. That’s how I got my job at McMaster’s Computing Infrastructure Research Centre (CIRC). I went up to one of my professors, Dr. Douglas Down, whom I’d never spoken with before. I asked him if he had anything for me. And right there on the spot, he thought about it, and he said, “Come to my office hours and I’ll let you know more.” And I got involved at CIRC just like that.

M: What was your role at CIRC?

HR: It was a work-study position in the summer, but now I’m a part time worker.

M: What kind of work are you doing with them?

HR: So I’m a software developer there and I work on their website.

M: What’s it been like working on a team that has that that real world application? CIRC works with Cinnos, a server solution provider. What’s it been like working in that environment?

HR: It’s been very, very good. Something that I didn’t have so far was actual industry experience. Now that I’m building something that’s actually going to be used, it’s been a very different experience from doing schoolwork. So I get to interact with actual engineers who’ve gotten their degrees, and have their PEngs. And they’re doing real work and its very different because now I feel my work has more meaning to it because they use it in an actual product, they show it off to customers. So in that way it’s been very flattering. Also in general I feel more involved in what I’m doing and my work has more meaning to it.

M: CIRC is not a start-up, but they’re working with a start-up company who is finding some success. So what’s the environment like, what’s the buzz in the air, what’s it like to be part of a company that you see growing next to you?

HR: So one thing I ways wanted to experience before I graduated was to see what a start-up is like and what a corporate environment is like. It’s the type if offices we have; it’s all open space so you can go and talk to the other engineers, if you have a problem. You see everyone else working around you and that motivates you to do what you’re doing at a better level.

M: What are your long-term goals?

HR: I’m very into tech. I want to be an iOS developer. My ambitions are probably working in one of the big Silicon Valley companies, hopefully Apple, Google, or Microsoft. But anything to do with iOS, that’s my passion.

M: What advice would you pass along to someone who is considering applying to McMaster Engineering?

It’s the whole community aspect. I think the whole community, our students, is unmatched in how much we help each other, and how much the professors want us to succeed and I don’t think you can find that in other universities. At least the friends I’ve talked to, they don’t seem to have the same type of community driven environment that we have here.