Cat Coode

Alumna, Electrical Engineering (BASc ‘01)

“When I was little, there were commercials with video phones, and I thought they were the coolest thing ever,” says Cat Coode.  “I wanted to make them.  I have to say, I’m surprised by how close to my dream I ended up.”

After studying electrical engineering at Waterloo, Cat went to work at Research In Motion – RIM – the company that makes the popular BlackBerry.  A hand-held phone, e-mail and web-browsing device, the BlackBerry is the 21st-century equivalent of the cool video phones of the 1980s.

Cat started off as a member of RIM’s calendar development team where she worked, for instance, to get the to-do list on your computer to sync with the one on your BlackBerry.

And in less than 10 years, the young engineer has gone from being a member of a team to managing one:  “I manage 70 people, more or less, plus co-op students,” she says.  “I know I’m biased, but I prefer graduates from Waterloo.  They’ve been through the co-op program, they’ve learned professionalism and gained an ability to think on their feet.  That makes them great team members.”

What else does it take to succeed?  “Creativity,” says Cat.  “Engineering is the ability to make things – it’s one of the most creative professions there is.”