What faculty are you a part of? What degree will you be getting when you convocate in June?
I am in the Faculty of Applied Science. I will be getting a Bachelor of Science degree.
How many Co-op terms did you complete?
I completed 3 Co-op terms
Briefly tell us about each Co-op work term you completed and what was the best part about each one?
My first two Co-op terms were with the School of Computing Science at SFU. I served as both a desktop publisher specialist and a high school recruiter. My job was to design new recruitment material for the following year and to then use that material at scheduled high school visits. At the high school visits, myself and a few other team members would speak to grade 11/12 classes about University in general and Computing Science at SFU. By the end of two terms, my team and I had completed dozens of promotional documents and we had the privilege to speak to over 2000 high school kids across the lower mainland. The most valuable soft skills I gained from this Co-op were in the areas of time management, communication, and team work. I also learned a great deal how to use a myriad of graphic design programs, libraries, and tools. The best part of this job was the great people I worked with and the rewarding nature of speaking to kids.
My third and final Co-op term was with Electronic Arts Canada. At EAC, I was a software engineer and had the opportunity to work on FIFA Street 3 for the next generation videogame platforms. As a software engineer my role was to implement numerous features into the game, as well as solve a fair share of bugs (not necessarily created by me). This job was a huge wake-up call for me in terms of the demands of working in the lucrative game industry. I was exposed to time-lines, deadlines, and steep expectations from my superiors at the very start, so my only option was to learn at a very fast rate. By the end of my term, I had learned more than I could have ever imagined about programming, the design process of videogames, and hard work. My favorite part about the whole experience was the work environment (soccer field, sand volleyball court, gym, masseuse, you name it!) and the experience I gained after all those lines of code.
Would you recommend the Co-op program to students who are new to SFU or are unfamiliar with the program? If yes, please tell us why.
Definitely. The nature of Co-op fosters the development of both soft and technical skills which you will find very useful when applying for jobs in your field after graduation. Plus, earning some (possibly) big cash isn’t so bad either.
Do you feel that participating in the Co-op program has given you a competitive advantage over others graduating without Co-op experience?
For sure. Through my Co-op terms, I got to practice all of what I learned at school in a practical setting, and that is what I believe gives me an edge over those who do not participate in the Co-op program.
For you, what was the most valuable benefit from participating in the Co-op program as a whole?
Practical experience, hands down.
What were some of the most memorable experiences from your time at SFU and as a part of Co-op?
My most memorable experiences at SFU have undoubtedly come from living in SFU residence. It was my intermittent home for 6 years (yikes!) and I had established many great friendships that will last for the rest of my life. I can’t say enough about my times in SFU residence and I believe one cannot truly experience University life unless they live in residence for some duration.
My most memorable experience in Co-op? This one is easy. One day when I was leaving for work, I forgot I had a colossal watermelon in my fridge that I would have to eat soon. I decided to take the whole fruit to work and I proceeded to spoon it out on my desk. This brought some very precarious looks my way from my co-workers. Then, one of my superiors chuckled and said, “you know what, you should see if you can put that thing on your head!” Never turning down a challenge, I courageously accepted. It was a riot in the office and people found it absolutely hilarious. I think the whole series of events really helped my team out too, since we were all a little bit stressed out that week. Good times.
Do you feel that you’ve been able to apply your knowledge from the classroom to your Co-op work experiences?
Absolutely. My Co-op employers required the knowledge of many computing science terms and processes which I had already learned about during my studies at SFU.
What are your plans for the future? Ie: grad school, traveling, volunteer work, career advancement?
Seeing as how I have been in school since I was 5, thus tallying up to a whopping 18 years of school straight, I am in dire need of a vacation! I’m currently learning the Czech language and I will be going to the Czech Republic this August. After that, I plan to either start up my own software company, or work for a large firm in downtown Vancouver.
Beyond the Blog
Interested in working abroad? Visit the International Co-op website to get more information.