In my four Cooperative Education (Co-op) terms, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow from my peers and mentors. I have truly experienced and found understanding in the value of growth. Growth is about constantly challenging and stretching ourselves, both personally and professionally. As co-op students, we are given an invaluable opportunity to contribute both our soft and technical skills to our employer and complete our terms stronger than we were when we started.
“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
- Albert Einstein
For my first co-op placement at TIO Networks Corp, I worked as a Quality Assurance Analyst. While testing a bill payment web application system for a US company, I learned that it is the role of the QA Analyst to deliver a project that meets the client’s satisfaction. For example, I was testing the application with automation tools like SOAPUI and Jmeter, which helped me not only grow my skill set, but also empower me to complete my term as a more confident individual; with the confidence to voice myself in groups and work alongside professionals in the tech industry.
When I worked at Appnovation Technologies, I was a Software Quality Assurance Engineer. In this role, I was exposed to the full agile software development life cycle through participation in story grooming, sprint planning and story estimation. I gained knowledge and expertise in automated testing by creating test scripts with tools such as Behat and Selenium. Furthermore, I learned how to organize requirements in the Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) format. The BDD allows your scenarios to be the test cases. Moreover, I also had to increase my knowledge in Agile Methodology to help with the software development process.
In my extensive coaching experience at Appnovation Technologies, my Project Managers provided me with consulting skills and techniques to deliver projects to clients that exemplified excellence in customer satisfaction. Leadership workshops and group meet-ups helped in regular open communication within the team and in constructive feedback. Throughout my time at Appnovation, I learned that one must either be aligned and in integrity with their values or be willing to discard and replace them with the true values that are congruent with their life. Once you have clearly defined, articulated and expressed your values, you will then have access to living a profound life of integrity. The core values at Appnovation provide guidance, direction, meaning and purpose in life, which helps you to understand the answer to the question, “Who am I?” As a result of this, I discovered my communication and leadership skills and ended up as a Project Coordinator at Appnovation! This position involves engagement in planning and executing web and content management projects.
Taking a break from classes allowed me to take a step back and see the bigger picture. It has helped me focus on what I want to achieve after graduation and motivated me to solve and analyze problems in more efficient ways. Both of the companies that I worked for use a slightly modified way of Agile Testing. Regardless of the software development process chosen, growth has been a crucial component of my success at both companies. I feel that my co-op experience has been priceless. It has helped me to build my professional network, allowed me to solve real-life problems and provided me with experiences I wouldn’t have acquired from just taking classes. Thinking back over my life, challenges and issues that I consider to be detrimental to my development, personally and professionally, came during times when I was out of integrity with my values. Conversely, those times of expanded growth occurred when I was aligned and living according to the integrity of my values.