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