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A Look Back on Fall Co‑op

Posted by Faculty of Computer Science on January 9, 2017 in News, Students
Photos from work provided by Aleysha Mullen and Niclas Skaalum
Photos from work provided by Aleysha Mullen and Niclas Skaalum

Aleysha Mullen

Program, year of study, what co-op term is this?

I'm heading into my 4th year of Informatics with a major in Software Systems. This has been my 3rd and final co-op term.

Where did you complete your Co-op term and what was your tile?

I worked at Mobia Innovations as a Junior Developer. Mobia is a tech company in Burnside that has a number of practices to get involved in, I was part of the Big Data practice.

What have you been working on in your placement? Has it sparked an interest in a career/area of study you hadn’t thought about? Or has it confirmed that you are on the right path?

I've been fortunate enough to work on multiple projects during my term. I had a small project where I was the sole developer and got to work directly with the client, and I also was part of a bigger development team working on a huge and complicated project for another client. I've done some development work, testing, UI and UX design, diagrams, requirements writing, participated in client meetings... the list goes on. I had a great team to work with and they made sure I had a well rounded co-op experience.

I've certainly been exposed to areas of computer science that I hadn't considered before this semester. I'm excited about all the learning opportunities I'm going to have on the job when I graduate. I'm definitely on the right path.

Do you believe your Co-op experience has helped to prepare you for your future?

My Co-op experience has absolutely helped to prepare me for the future. Not only do I have a lot of new skills to add to my resume, but I've made valuable contacts in the industry as well.

Do you have any advice for students looking for placements?

Even though the job competition can be time consuming and tough to manage between your course work, take the time to look closely at the job postings and what each company is offering you. Go into each interview prepared not only to answer their questions, but also with questions of your own. You'll be in the job you choose for 4 months, so it's worth it to do what you can and make sure its the right fit for you.

Anything to add about your overall experience?

The co-op program has added so much value to my degree, I'm going to graduate with a full year of experience in the industry and some definite leads on full time employment. I can't imagine my academic experience would have been this positive if I had elected not to participate in co-op. 

Niclas Skaalum

Program, year of study, what co-op term is this?

Computer Science, 4th year, 3rd co-op term.

Where did you complete your Co-op term and what was your tile?

Quest Software Inc., Intern Undergrad Engineer.

What have you been working on in your placement? Has it sparked an interest in a career/area of study you hadn’t thought about? Or has it confirmed that you are on the right path?

I've been developing a REST service and a number of scripts to enhance the build process of one of Quest's software products. My Co-op placement has given me the opportunity to work extensively with backend code and observe the software development techniques I learned in class be applied in practice. It was reassuring to confirm that the theory from class is highly relevant in the workplace.

Do you believe your Co-op experience has helped to prepare you for your future?

My Co-op placements have exposed me to specific technologies and techniques that are not necessarily explored in university courses. While general computer science concepts are of course fundamental to work in the field, familiarity with specific languages and frameworks, for example, is potentially very valuable to employers.

Do you have any advice for students looking for placements?

Emphasize any of your previous work experience you think is relevant. Even if you previously held a position in an entirely different field from the one you're applying to, it's important to demonstrate if you are comfortable working with others and learning new skills.

Anything to add about your overall experience?

Co-op is a convenient way of acquiring work experience during an undergraduate degree, especially if you are new to the area and need to build professional connections from scratch.