Parksville student Ryan O'Hara is heading to Saskatoon to represent B.C. in a national web design competition.

Ballenas student Ryan O’Hara to represent B.C. at national competition

After winning regional Skills Canada competition in Abbotsford O'Hara heads to Saskatoon for nationals

The countdown is on for this year’s Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) which takes place May 27-30 in Saskatoon and a computer whiz kid from Parksville is up for the challenge.

Next week Ryan O’Hara will be among hundreds of Canada’s best skilled trade and technology students.

The 17-year-old who is graduating from Ballenas Senior Secondary this year will be representing the province at the event in the web design category.

The (SCNC) is the only national, multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country.

O’Hara, who beat out competitors from across B.C. at the Skills Canada Regional competition in Abbotsford on April 15, will now go up against the country’s best and brightest technology students.

Bringing home a gold medal in web design at provincials is huge but representing the entire province is an even bigger accomplishment, according to Ballenas career coordinator Luc Ouelett.

He agreed some amazing students have attended Ballenas and O’Hara is one of them.

“Being able to compete at that level is winning already.  Ryan and I have worked together for three years. He is a very good kid,” he acknowledged.

Ouelett said Ballenas has had former students compete at the national level with Skills Canada and it is very exciting.

Competing for Skills Canada regionally was not a new experience for O’Hara.

He has done it three times in three years but this year is the first time he brought home a gold medal.

O’Hara said designing websites is a hobby for him and he has done a few of them so he was confident completing the task.

“I am passionate about computers and programming. I have always been into computers,” he admitted.

Every year, more than 500 young people from all regions of Canada head to the national competition to participate in more than 40 skilled trade and technology contests.

In O’Hara’s discipline, the goal is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the many facets of web site development.

O’Hara said he’s already been thinking about what he has to achieve during the national contest.

“They have a document that gives you an idea of what you have to do. They gave me an example of the Saskatoon Aquarium which is a fictional company.

At the national competition unlike previous ones it is split into two different parts and there are two days to finish it,” he explained.

He said in part one he will have to take a start up specification and create a design in Photoshop a platform he admits he doesn’t have a lot of experience with.

In fact for the competition, Windows is the operating system and O’Hara who uses Linux for his personal computer said it will take a bit of getting used to when he attempts the task.

He said the first challenge will definitely push him outside of his comfort zone.

“I am more of a web development type and I am not too great at design.  I am very nervous but I know it is going to be a lot of fun and a new experience.”

In the second part of the contest he will be tasked with taking somebody else’s design and implementing it into a functional website.

O’Hara will be studying computer science at the University of Victoria starting in September.

This summer he will be looking for a job doing computer work and if he brings home gold from Saskatoon the achievement will look good on his

resume.

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