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SFU Co-op Student

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Junfeng Xian at a party
My experience at Broadcom allowed me to gain valuable hands-on experience with many hardware and software development technologies.

One year ago, if you asked me what job I would like to obtain after I graduated, I probably wouldn’t be able to answer you.  But this soon changed.  Thanks to the help from the SFU Engineering Co-op Office, I received an offer from Broadcom Corporation last spring for an eight-month co-op term, which I later extended for another eight months.  Working in the same position and company for over a year allowed me to gain significant knowledge and expertise in my field.  As a software QA engineer, a large portion of my work consisted of developing computer scripts.  As I learned more about coding and software testing, I gradually found myself enjoying computer programming.  I was also very fortunate to be able to work with enthusiastic colleagues who have great passion and knowledge in their field.  So if you asked me the same question today, I can confidently say that I want to become a software framework developer.  I would say that my time at Broadcom played an important role in shaping my future career choice. 

Despite the fact that my first day of co-op at Broadcom was almost a year ago, I still remember vividly the first time I stepped into the lab.  In an 800-square feet room, there were over twenty computer monitors displaying all sorts of colourful pictures as it ran a multitude of tests. There were not many co-workers in the lab, but they were working diligently, giving me the impression that they were all working on at least two computers at the same time. The room was solely filled with the two distinct sounds of computer fans and keyboards clicking. At that moment, I thought this looked like an extremely stressful working environment, and I began to worry that this was what I would be facing in the next 8 months. I did notice though that people there did not seem frustrated or stressed. Instead, what I saw on their faces was a look of concentration: eyes eagerly scanning the screens, fingers swiftly pressing keys on their keyboards, occasionally taking notes on small lab books, and adjusting test devices on the stations.

Junfeng and his fellow co-op students at the Broadcom Christmas party

Before my first lunch break, I had a chance to talk to one of my co-workers and asked what he liked about his job.  His response was so impressive that I can still clearly remember what he said: “It is fantastic, I like it very much.  And you will find your own way to enjoy it soon enough.”  At first, I didn’t think what he said would apply to me because our goals of joining Broadcom were different.  For me, my main motivation of joining the company was to complete my eight-month mandatory co-op.  But I soon realized that it didn’t matter what my initial intention was.  The more I became familiar with Broadcom and my colleagues, the more I came to love my job. During my internship this year, I was exposed to many advanced smart phone technologies. I was also encouraged to develop my skills in information organization and multi-tasking. Right now, I can confidently attest to my co-worker’s words because I came to love everything related to computer programming and electronic devices.    

My colleagues were quite knowledgeable in computer science, and they broadened my horizon and also helped me realize my career interests. When I was a brand new employee at the company, not only was I new to the working environment, but I was also unfamiliar with the tasks assigned to me. Since my major was in Systems Engineering, I had very little experience in computer programming, and I felt that I did not know enough to be able to complete all the tasks given to me.  Many problems that I encountered were so specific that I could rarely get help from the Internet. Fortunately, my team members were very knowledgeable, and more importantly, they were extremely nice and patient with me. They were all willing to guide me in the right direction and help me get on track one step at a time. Even today I still admire and appreciate their knowledge and support. Quite often, while I was just learning about a feature of our products, my co-workers had already started working on some advanced technologies that you would see in computer magazines. This really motivated me to push myself to work harder and study more because clearly I still had a lot to learn. As a result, I was able to accomplish a lot during my 16-month placement with Broadcom and gained the confidence I needed to pursue a career in computer programming.

My experience at Broadcom allowed me to gain valuable hands-on experience with many hardware and software development technologies. This co-op placement has definitely made a significant impact on my university studies. But more importantly, I now have a much clearer picture of my career path. Life is unpredictable and my career goals may change, but one thing I am certain of is that I will not forget what I gained from this co-op experience. I will cherish the experiences, friendships, and knowledge that I have obtained at Broadcom, and carry them close to my heart as I pursue my future endeavours.

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