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‘Patience and attention’

Coding and storytelling combine for computer science student at Celtx

Teaching and Learning

By Rebecca Newhook

His name might not be in the closing credits of some of the latest film productions, but that doesn’t mean Masoud Zare didn’t play a part in bringing them to life.

From left are Masoud Zare and Briar Chrysochou standing in front of a gray wall with a "celtx" sign on it.
From left are Masoud Zare and Briar Chrysochou, Mr. Zare’s supervisor at Celtx.

The Iran native came to Memorial in 2019 from Iran to study a bachelor of science degree in computer science.

After his third year of studies, Mr. Zare entered the co-operative internship in computer science and secured a 16-month internship as a web developer with Celtx, based in St. John’s, N.L.

Celtx is part of the Backlight team, a media company based in Boston, Mass., and provides creative tools for storytellers including writers, filmmakers and game developers.

Script-writing application

The company’s flagship product is a script-writing application that helps users plan, write and collaborate on scripts.

Celtx also offers other tools like budgeting, scheduling and pre-production services.

In the early months of his co-operative internship, Mr. Zare worked on debugging and creating automated tests, tasks that required more effort and expertise than he initially expected, he says.

“I assumed at first that debugging would be easy and that I could fix bugs quickly,” said Mr. Zare. “However, I soon realized that debugging is a complex process that requires patience and attention to detail.”

After several months working with Celtx, Mr. Zare joined the development team, where he worked to maintain and add functionality to the company’s online products and services.

“Masoud has been a reliable member of our team and a pleasure to work with.” — Briar Chrysochou

He says he was exceptionally proud of himself when he created a mobile implementation of the Celtx’s cart feature, increasing accessibility for their users on mobile devices.

Mr. Zare credits his team of supportive co-workers in his success throughout his work term, saying that their experience and generosity with their time and expertise was invaluable.

“My mentors were patient with my questions and provided guidance that helped me grow personally and professionally and I’m really thankful to them, especially to my direct supervisor, Briar.”

Mr. Zare’s supervisor, Briar Chrysochou, started out with Celtx in 2015 as a co-operative placement student; she eventually progressed to the role of director of software development.

Her career starting point as a co-op student likely influenced her approach to mentorship and support of students, she says. The Celtx development team has taken on many students over the years.

“They have been integral to many of the efforts we’ve undertaken,” said Ms. Chrysochou. “Our approach is to make sure they’re comfortable with our environment, and then treat them like any other member of the team. We want them to flourish and give them the opportunity to grow not only technically, but also professionally. Masoud has been a reliable member of our team and a pleasure to work with.”

Theoretical to real world

Reflecting on his computer science courses, Mr. Zare says many concepts and processes he learned in his classes prepared him well for the workplace.

He says he applied numerous theoretical concepts to real-world problems.

“I used concepts from my software engineering course when collaborating with my team and software design patterns to create scalable and maintainable code when creating Selenium tests. In lots of our courses, we learned about complex data structures, but in my real experience I mostly used easily testable data structures in the workplace.”

Mr. Zare says he expected that he would develop the technical skills necessary for a career in web development during his co-operative internship, but he also learned that being a successful web developer requires more than just technical competencies.

“These skills are particularly important as a web developer where timelines can be tight and deadlines can be unforgiving.” — Masoud Zare

Approaching problems creatively, thinking outside the box and persisting in the face of difficult problems were all part of the learning experience while on the job at Celtx.

“I learned how to manage my time effectively, to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines,” he said. “These skills are particularly important as a web developer where timelines can be tight and deadlines can be unforgiving. I also learned to listen actively and effectively, ask clarifying questions and to present my ideas in a way that was easily understood by others.”

Mr. Zare will finish his work term next month and return to campus to complete his degree requirements; he expects to graduate at the end of 2023.

“I’m excited to take what I learned at Celtx and apply it to my future work as a web developer. I appreciate all that the Celtx team that provided a great place for me to grow and improve my skills.”

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