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Rauf Shimarov

SFU Student Undergraduate
Applied Sciences › Computing Science › Software Development
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A fun and fascinating experience that has a huge amount of learning opportunities and that helps you to decide on the area of your future career.
Preparation
Previous Experience

I didn't have any previous experience in the tech industry other than developing web-based applications at school courses.

Preparation

At the beginning of my co-op search process, I didn't spend enough time building my resume, and this is my big mistake. I was applying for 2-3 positions a day with a relatively (very) bad resume for 3 months and didn't get a response from anyone. It was a stressful time since hearing nothing from the companies is tough...I then decided to pause applying to the positions and spent around a month trying to make my resume "ideal". I visited my co-op advisor and gave my resume to everyone I know to get feedback. After a pause for building my resume, I resumed my application process and got 5 interviews in the next 2 weeks. Conclusion - make sure your resume is good enough! Building a resume is an art of some kind, so seek help from the advisors and anyone who has secured a co-op position. 

The interview preparation includes (mainly) solving Data Structures and Algorithms problems on leetcode.com, going over lecture notes, and watching crash courses on youtube on the tools that were specified in the job posting.

Preparation Tips for Future Students
  • Spend a lot of your time on building your resume! Give it for a review to everyone: your Co-op advisor, friends, family, cat, dog, parrot, a random person on the street...well, animals is an exaggeration but literally to EVERYONE! The more different perspectives you have the better your resume will get. 
  • Imagine you've got an interview (you will get it, eventually, don't worry). Don't be nervous at the interview. Employers are just people who want to hire the best fit for their company, they don't bite. Right before the interview, I like to say to myself "I am going to speak with a friend whom I haven't seen for 10 years" multiple times, so it's really stuck in my mind. Then, the interview goes on a positive note - employers value it. Moreover, when you are positive, your answers to the behavioral questions get much more interesting, and solving technical problems gets easier.
  • For Celayix Software specifically, solve as many "Leetcode" questions as you can and review relational databases. Leetcode classifies problems to "easy", "medium", and "hard". It's usually enough to be able to solve "easy" questions for a co-op position but some employers ask "medium" questions as well. Don't get frustrated with "easy" questions since they are not easy at all if you just start "leetcoding". Be patient - success comes with practice. Can't say more about the interview process at Celayix - military secret ;)
During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

At the time I started my co-op at Celayix, the company was preparing for a huge app release, and hence, my employer didn't have time for any pieces of training. Instead, he assigned one of the Senior Developers to be my mentor and I started coding right away. So, be prepared to figure a lot of problems out by yourself and ask a lot of questions! Google was my best friend at that time.

Day to Day

I started my day by checking my email, scrolling over the tickets that I was assigned to, and setting up the goals for the day. The position was fully remote, so during the day, I was either in a Zoom meeting, or in a process of developing a new feature, or fixing some system bugs. I also read a huge amount of documentation of the tools the company used and googled a lot, so be ready to absorb info like a sponge! 

Learning and Adaptation

The most valuable thing you can get from the co-op is the knowledge that you won't be able to get anywhere but in the industry. For example, writing a clean code that follows all the development community's conventions are rarely taught at the school. However, it's a vital skill that is needed in the industry and that all professional developers should have.

The learning process in the industry also differs from the process in the school:

  1. You are learning by actually doing things
  2. Say you need to learn some tool that is needed for your work. Nobody is going to give you any lectures like in school. You'll have to learn most of the things by yourself
  3. Be ready to constantly get constructive criticism. It's totally fine that you don't know or failed something. You are a co-op, and you don't know a lot of things by definition.
Accomplishments and Challenges

At the beginning of my co-op, my goal was to get as many tickets as I can a get them done as quickly as possible, so I can show my manager that I'm a great intern. I rushed over the documentation, skipped some important sections, wrote bad code that "smelled" but worked. I wanted to do everything quickly, so I could get my next ticket, and although most of my initial implementations worked fine, I ignored the fact that an approach to the solution I chose was not the most efficient. This was a huge mistake that my manager did not like at all. 

Don't rush and make sure you fully understand the requirements of the ticket and the application system you are working with. Remember that quality is far more important than quantity.

Wrap Up

I think that Celayix Software is a great place to have your co-op. Everybody in the company is super helpful and kind, and you'll learn and get a lot of skills. After such an experience at Celayix, now getting back to school, I feel much more confident. I know what to expect after the graduation and I know which courses to take during remaining 2 years at school to succeed in the indusrty.

  • Rauf Shimarov Sep 15, 2021
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