Computer technology grad says virtual work placement launched his career

A hand holding a mobile phone with computer code on it in the foreground with a desktop computer in the background.

Artem Naida graduated from the School of Computer Technology and moved straight into a part-time contract with the employer he did a virtual internship with. Right after that, he landed a full-time job with another company with the opportunity to move up the ladder.  

Artem came to George Brown so he could get hands-on experience after completing a university degree. He completed a virtual work placement in the summer of 2020 with Soteria 120, a company in Alberta. The experience proved to be a big success. His employer raved about the quality of the work, and Artem launched his career. 

George Brown graduate Artem Naida
Artem Naida, Graduate 2020, Information Systems Business Analysis

“If I didn’t have this opportunity, I think I’d still be looking for work,” Artem said. “I graduated from university in 2018 and it took me until this work integrated learning opportunity to find any work in the field. This definitely gave me what I needed.” 

George Brown uses a digital platform called Riipen to match students with employers across Canada. We used to use Riipen to enhance experiential learning in the classroom, but when COVID-19 changed everyone’s lives, we started using it to find virtual work placements for our students. 

Experiential learning at George Brown


Artem and other students from the Information Systems Business Analysis postgraduate program completed virtual work placements with Soteria 120 between May and August. Soteria 120 provides digital workplace safety training, with a focus on the construction industry. Artem and his classmates created a risk assessment dashboard and completed user testing on clients’ online experience, among other projects. 

Robert Crooks, the CEO and Founder of Calgary-based Soteria 120, worked with students from other schools as well, but was so impressed by George Brown students he wrote to us to explain why. 

“Bearing in mind that we had ample students and programs to compare with, the GBC students really stood out,” he said. “They were energized, inquisitive, professional, and experimented with multiple tools and different approaches. The communication was effective, even though it was all via Zoom and with a two-hour time zone difference. The students were timely, and delivered the work products as instructed, sometimes going well above and beyond.” 

Read Crooks' full letter


Crooks was so impressed by Artem that he hired him on a part-time contract to do web development work when the placement ended. When asked what advice he has for students also hoping to land a job right out of school, Artem said the following worked for him: “Setting up that regular correspondence, showing a genuine interest in the work and trying to demonstrate your knowledge and what you’re adding to the project.” 

And when Artem completed his part-time contract at Soteria 120, he landed a full-time role as a solutions analyst at an equipment financing company in Mississauga. He said the position gives him room to grow within the company. 

“What my story really demonstrates is that if you go beyond expectations and demonstrate your value then a virtual work experience could be superior to a regular (in-person) one,” Artem said. “You have more opportunities because you have this widespread geographical area to work with.”