Tag Archives: co-op experiences

In My Spotlight: Co-op Experience #2

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.

The small subset of figures I brought to work while on co-op

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!


Co-op Term 1: A 2-month reflection

It’s been almost two months since I started this co-op position, and I’ve been learning and doing lots.  Recently, I received an email from my co-op advisor for a site visit, and was given a form to fill out.  Most of it was based off of how I was doing in terms of learning, and my accomplishments at the workplace.  At the end, there was a section to fill in anything else.  Everything I wrote there was similar to my thoughts being thrown onto the page, and I thought it would be suitable for a blog post, so here it is below: Continue reading Co-op Term 1: A 2-month reflection

Co-op Term 1: First Impressions

This year, I began my first co-op work term as a Junior System Administrator.  My workplace is very close to my university, and as such, my commute is not bad.

As of today, I finished my second week on the job.  I feel very fortunate to be working with very kind, intelligent, and helpful people, providing me guidance where I needed it.

As a Junior System Administrator, I currently help the company keep track of where location of assets are, and respond to support calls from various locations across the country.  I learned how to create shipping labels for items such as printers, barcode scanners, USB cables, and AC adapters.  These items need to be shipped ASAP to minimize the disruption of service for the company.  When these items are shipped out, I receive the faulty equipment back usually within the next few days, where I process them in our database, and send them off to their respective locations, whether that be for disposal, for repair if I can’t fix it, or for storage if I manage to fix them.

On the topic of disposal, there are many things that I have learned in regards to that.  First, when things are marked for disposal, it means that you can essentially play with them during your spare time.  In one case, I received an old receipt printer that was sent back because it was “dysfunctional”.  Because it was also an obsolete model, it was being decommissioned and “disposed” of, so I ended up trying it out.  I managed to get it working, and with rolls of extra receipt paper lying around, I got it up and running, making it my little “label” printer for things I have to ship out during the day.  It was pretty cool.

Aside from shipping and receiving, I am also learning how to effectively communicate with others via phone and email.  For example, in one case, my supervisor asked me to verify the location of a few assets.  In order to do so, I had to either email or phone each location to ask and verify.  At first, I emailed each individual store, receiving prompt responses from about half of them within a day.  For those that I received no response for, I sent another email at roughly the same time the following day, of which I received a response for around half of those as well.  On the third day, I switched to phone calls for the remainder, and received the final confirmation.  Through this experience, I learned that email is very good during times when you need to request something without a need for an immediate response, such as when you have other things to do like preparing shipments for the current day.  When you need an urgent response, a phone call is the way to go.

One thing I noticed about myself during this process was that when I first started the task, everything felt really daunting.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was communicating with people I didn’t know, or the fact that I have never done such a thing before.  Regardless, once I actually “began”, things started to feel a little better.  I feel like that’s how everything goes, though, and for me, it’s all a learning experience.


Anyways, now that this second week is complete, I feel like I’ve gotten used to this workflow for shipping and receiving.  That first and second day on the job, I was very careful in getting everything down, so I was slow, but paid close attention to everything shown to me, and as these past few days went by, I’ve gotten more efficient at processing things.  I got my own excel worksheets to keep me on track, and to constantly help remind me of what things I’ve done, and what things I still need to do before I leave at the end of the day.

To wrap things up, these past two weeks have been a learning experience.  Getting to know your coworkers, being creative with the things you have, getting used to the workflow, and, most importantly, enjoying the experience and having fun is definitely awesome!  These past two weeks have been lots of fun learning, and I’m looking forward to learning some more.


Until next time, take care!