Although not so recent, I did a second co-op during the summer of 2018 at a local software company. It was my first ever job being paid to write code, so it was very exciting for me. It was a valuable experience for me to share.
During my time working there, I was blessed with an amazing mentor that gave me a lot of freedom to explore the code base within the company. On-boarding consisted of me following this one document that gave an introduction to the various systems that they had in place for developers to code. I had seen source control before (namely git), but they were using a different system called Perforce, so that was something new. The one thing that was really cool was that all coding was done on the command line using your favourite text editor, whether that be vim, emacs, nano, or whatever else is out there. Since the terminal was all I had, it took me a little bit of time before I was used to using tmux for multiple windows, and vim with their various key commands. Heck, even now I’m still learning new things left and right.
Nonetheless, their on-boarding was pretty cool. Back to the freedom I had, I felt that I really thrived off of that. I got to explore things, and our CTO even encouraged us to try stuff out and not be afraid of breaking things. After all, we couldn’t really break things as we can try stuff out in an isolated environment.
Another thing is that I felt pretty included and could express myself at work. I brought my figures to work, not only to keep myself calm, but to serve as a conversation starter if anyone wanted to ask. One of my mentors did ask me, and we talked a little bit about how the hobby was expensive, so that was kind of neat. It was also a sight among the other co-ops.
I also had the ability to work from home, which I did sparingly where needed. For example, there was one time in August where a local anime convention spanned Friday to Sunday. Since I didn’t have any time off, I asked my mentor if I could take the day off in exchange for working from home the previous Sunday, which I was allowed to do. That was pretty cool, and gave a totally different feel from the workplace. This is totally doable when working on individual tasks, but I still like working at the office, since it’s easier to ask questions when the need arises, or for meetings.
As well, I’m very lucky to be able to go back after I finish school for full time. Co-op, or work integrated learning, is a great way to try out different jobs to see which type of job is suited for you, and it also allows the employer to hire someone that may potentially come back for full time. If you’re not the right candidate, so be it: you’re only there for a short period of time. If you fit in, then employers might want to hire you back: you don’t need extensive on-boarding later on. It’s a win-win for both sides.
I also did some informational interviews with some engineers there, so I’ll post those later. They give some insight into what technical skills and whatnot employers look for in technical interviews, which is applicable to those in computer science or engineering.
Anyways, that’s all I wanted to share for now. Until next time!