"Within the first month of my first coop, I had learned a new programming language, how to use Excel efficiently to present data, various data acquisition tools, and new concepts that I had not encountered in the classroom."
Why did you choose to enroll in co-op?
I chose to enroll in co-op to gain practical experience, as well as explore potential career interests. I believe there is great value in getting experience in the industry as a student, as this will give me insight into the application process, the types of jobs that are local in BC as well as around the world, and skills and knowledge that will help me in my future career.
Which positions did you work during co-op?
I am currently doing my first co-op term and am working as a Product Engineer at Microchip.
Can you share your favourite experience while in co-op?
My favourite experience was being placed in situations of which I had limited prior knowledge of concepts and being given meaningful tasks that allowed me to grow and become more effective in my role. I found it rewarding when I had the opportunity to learn a large amount of knowledge in a short amount of time and be able to apply it.
What was your best achievement in co-op?
Acquiring enough knowledge of my role so that I could start recommending actions that I should take that would help further the progress on my project.
How do you feel co-op helped your personal growth?
Co-op has helped me grow in many ways. While at work, I am regularly given opportunities to expand my knowledge of concepts introduced in class and how they apply in industry. Within the first month of my first coop, I had learned a new programming language, how to use Excel efficiently to present data, various data acquisition tools, and new concepts that I had not encountered in the classroom. Co-op has even allowed me to grow outside of work. I have also had much more free time around my workday to explore my other passions that I do not have time to pursue while I am at school. For example, during co-op I have had the time to work on personal projects, acquire machine shop training, and complete an online course to make my future course load lighter.
How do you feel co-op has helped your career?
Having a coordinator to support the co-op journey has been very valuable. They have reviewed my cover letters and resumes, and offered tips on how to strengthen them. They conduct mock interviews before real interviews that are specific to each job posting and give me tips about answering questions as well as advice specific to my discipline regarding how to approach an interview. Because of the experience I have gained in the application process, I feel much more confident about my ability to prepare for future interviews and how to write impactful cover letters and resumes. Also, the variety of co-op jobs available have caused me to consider new career options, and I have been able to gain insight into career choices and pathways from the people at my work who have actually been able to make a career in the field that I am interested in.
What advice would you offer to future co-op students?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Co-op can be a great way to find and test areas that you are interested in. While on a co-op term, look for ways to soak up as much knowledge as possible and develop new skills. Your co-op experiences may lead to a new career avenue that you would never have considered before, so keep an open mind to all co-op experiences!
Published: April 16, 2020