Meet Peter Vigilante-Singh, Graphic Design & Web Development’s coding wizard and sartorially-savvy lead instructor.
If you see an immaculately suited and booted gentleman wandering the halls of CAT, make sure you stop and say ‘hello’ to Peter Singh-Vigilante, lead instructor on the Web Development program. Peter, 31, is a Chief Technology Officer and Senior Developer, and – in addition to his work with us – runs his own marketing agency here in town.
How did you originally find your way to CAT – you were a student here, correct? Tell us about your journey from student to instructor.
I started as a 3D Game Animation student back in 2004 (I think), then right after school was asked to be Campus Service Assistant. While doing that I also TA’d for the school which then lead to my first teaching opportunity with Business Technology 100 (Microsoft Office course).
An aptitude for teaching was noticed and I was offered more and more courses in the Graphic Design & Web Development program, stemming from a vast knowledge of the Adobe Design programs and web programming. This led to the eventual full time role as Lead Instructor for the program.
Your next step was from instructor to running a local Kelowna marketing agency, how did that come about?
I spent 4 years as a software developer for Off-Campus Housing 101 in Kelowna before being discovered by a small Kelowna marketing agency. Over the course of another 4 years I had worked with the team at the agency as its Chief Technology Officer to grow it to one of the largest agencies in Kelowna. I then parted ways with the agency to head up my own agency in Kelowna called Lifeblood Marketing.
What does your typical day look like at Lifeblood? What kinds of things were you responsible for?
Starting an agency from the ground up does mean wearing a lot of hats. My day is typically answering emails, following up with leads, and attending sales or marketing meetings with my clients. After all the meetings, I then work on the clients over-all marketing and design plans which I can then pass on to my team of designers and marketing managers so that I can focus on my main strength, building the website.
You are now running your own freelance company, and back instructing at CAT, how did this come about?
I really did have a passion for teaching, and when I heard that CAT was in need of a new instructor for the web development program which I had originally headed nearly 5 years prior, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to update the program.
You are currently a very busy guy – how do you manage your (considerable) workload?
Some days I still don’t know how I do it, and it can start to get very overwhelming. But, time management is very key. I use Asana to list out all the tasks I have for all my work and other organizations. From there I then give every task a time estimate in hours, which I then block out times in my calendar for when to work on each task. This makes sure that my weeks are efficient and I can burn through my tasks lists before they start to pile up too high. Although, 20 hours of teaching does mean most work has to be done in the evening hours and working throughout the weekend which can be quite the drain, so making sure to also block out some downtime on my calendar gives me something to look forward to.
What do you like best about being an instructor?
Watching the growth of the students knowledge. Even when they struggle with the concepts, and don’t believe in their own ability, they then have a moment well into the course where they realize they have learned so much more than they realize, and can do amazing things with it.
What advice do you have for students getting ready to go out into the real world of graphic design and web development?
Come up with a passion project, something that can utilize all the skills you are looking to improve. So for GDWD students, a personal website is usually suitable. It will allow you to practice your design skills, and maybe those coding stills when you try and come up with a unique style of gallery to display. Once done, do it again the next year, trying to improve on the concepts you learned while building it the first time.
Lastly – tell us about those wonderful suits!
I just figure you should always look good and dress to impress no matter where you are, so I keep my wardrobe limited to just clothes that would reflect that. So lots of dress shirts and dress pants.