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Melody Ren

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology › General
Co-operative Education

Position Title
One of the most profound takeaways from this co-op experience has been the opportunity to apply my academic knowledge in a practical setting. It allowed me to bridge the gap between theory and practice, bringing to life the principles of UX design that I had studied in the classroom.
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation

During my co-op placement at Bombardier, I worked as a UX intern, primarily focusing on facilitating qualitative and quantitative surveys, analyzing survey results, creating a learning portal for multiple working software and improving the user experience and productivity for employees. Before delving into my reflections and tips, I would like to share some insights on the preparation and the experience itself.

Preparation Tips for Future Students

In preparation for this co-op placement, I found that a few key tips would be beneficial for future students. First and foremost, understanding the basics of UX design principles, survey methodologies, and data analysis is crucial. Familiarizing oneself with relevant software tools, such as website design platforms, Figma, and Microsoft suits, can be highly advantageous. Additionally, having strong communication skills and a willingness to learn are essential attributes for success in this role. Being proactive in seeking out resources and networking opportunities can also help prepare for the experience.

During my Experience
Day to Day

My daily schedule at Bombardier typically followed an 8-5 timeframe, but it was more project-oriented than rigidly structured. I learned to prioritize urgent projects, sometimes working up to 10 hours a day when needed, while also enjoying the flexibility to take time off during less busy periods to balance my total working hours in a week. This adaptability in scheduling was valuable as it allowed me to maintain a work-life balance while meeting project demands.

Learning and Adaptation

One of the standout aspects of my co-op experience was the emphasis on learning and adaptation at Bombardier. The company actively encouraged employees, including interns, to participate in webinars and networking events. For instance, as an intern, I had the opportunity to meet with the CEO and department managers to gain insights into their career paths and receive valuable advice. This exposure to leadership and the company's culture was eye-opening and contributed to my professional growth.

Accomplishments and Challenges

I encountered both accomplishments and challenges during my co-op placement. One significant challenge was adapting my survey design skills from an academic setting to a corporate environment. In school, surveys are often long and detail-oriented, aimed at gaining comprehensive insights and information for academic projects. Additionally, participants are usually peers who understand the process and are willing to invest more time. However, in a fast-paced work environment like Bombardier, questions needed to be very concise and take only 2-3 minutes to complete. Because users now are very busy and they may just ignore the survey if there are too many questions. This adjustment forced me to refine my survey design skills and user interview skills significantly. On the other side, one of my most significant accomplishments was designing a user centric learning portal for Bombardier employees, which included basic tutorials for various software tools. This project not only improved my UX/UI design skills but also directly contributed to enhancing the learning experience for Bombardier's workforce.

Reflection & Tips

Reflecting on my co-op placement at Bombardier, I can confidently assert that it was an exceptionally valuable and transformative experience that left an indelible mark on my personal and professional growth. The lessons and insights gained during my time at Bombardier have significantly enriched my understanding of the corporate world and the field of user experience design.

One of the most profound takeaways from this co-op experience has been the opportunity to apply my academic knowledge in a practical setting. It allowed me to bridge the gap between theory and practice, bringing to life the principles of UX design that I had studied in the classroom. This hands-on application reinforced my understanding and equipped me with a practical perspective that I can carry forward into my future career.

Moreover, the challenges I encountered during my co-op placement were invaluable in fostering adaptability and problem-solving skills. Whether it was adjusting survey designs to suit the fast-paced work environment or managing multiple projects simultaneously, these challenges pushed me to think creatively and develop effective solutions.

The collaborative and communicative aspects of the placement also had a profound impact. Learning to work effectively within a team, listen to suggestions, and implement changes based on feedback not only improved my professional skills but also emphasized the importance of open and constructive communication in achieving common goals.

In conclusion, my co-op placement at Bombardier was a multifaceted learning experience that encompassed practical skill development, personal growth, and a deeper understanding of the corporate world. It has equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary for success in my future endeavors. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities and experiences gained during this co-op, and I look forward to applying these lessons as I continue to pursue a fulfilling career in user experience design.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

Organizational skills have been at the forefront of my development during my co-op placement at Bombardier. The experience of managing multiple projects simultaneously while ensuring that tight deadlines are met has underscored the paramount importance of organization and time management in the professional world. Juggling various tasks and responsibilities in a fast-paced corporate environment has not only honed my ability to prioritize effectively but has also refined my capacity to plan, allocate resources, and maintain a structured workflow. I've learned to utilize tools and strategies to streamline processes, minimize inefficiencies, and ensure that no critical detail is overlooked. These acquired organizational skills transcend the boundaries of my co-op placement; they are skills that will undoubtedly serve me well throughout my entire career. Whether I'm working on complex projects, collaborating within a team, or managing my daily tasks, the ability to stay organized and meet deadlines consistently is a trait highly valued in any professional setting.

These skills not only enhance productivity and efficiency but also contribute to my overall effectiveness as a team member and an asset to any organization. In essence, my co-op experience at Bombardier has been instrumental in cultivating and reinforcing organizational skills that will continue to benefit me in my professional journey. The lessons learned here will remain invaluable as I navigate the complexities of the corporate world, consistently striving for excellence in every endeavor.

Collaborating with colleagues during my co-op placement at Bombardier was a transformative experience that significantly enhanced my communication and teamwork skills. It was not just about working alongside talented individuals; it was about actively engaging with them, valuing their insights, and leveraging their expertise to achieve collective success. Listening to my colleagues' suggestions was a fundamental aspect of this collaborative journey. It taught me the importance of being receptive to diverse perspectives and recognizing that valuable solutions can emerge from various sources. It was not only about hearing what others had to say but also about genuinely considering their viewpoints, which often led to innovative approaches and solutions that I wouldn't have come up with on my own. Perhaps the most profound lesson was the art of implementing changes based on feedback. Constructive criticism became a catalyst for improvement, and I quickly learned that the ability to adapt and evolve is a hallmark of effective teamwork. It required humility, a willingness to embrace change, and the understanding that growth often emerges from acknowledging areas for improvement.

Above all, this collaborative experience reinforced the significance of open and constructive communication as the cornerstone of achieving common goals. It highlighted that fostering an environment where everyone's voice is heard, respected, and valued is not only conducive to success but also an essential element of a harmonious and thriving workplace. As I reflect on this transformative journey, I carry forward not only enhanced communication and teamwork skills but also a profound appreciation for the power of collaboration and the role of open, respectful, and constructive communication in achieving collective objectives. These lessons will undoubtedly continue to shape my professional path, emphasizing that the true strength of any team lies in its ability to work together seamlessly and harmoniously.

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

My co-op placement at Bombardier served as an invaluable bridge between my academic knowledge and practical application in the field of UX design. It was a transformative experience that significantly augmented my understanding of user experience design principles.

Theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom is undoubtedly valuable, but it was during my co-op that I truly grasped the real-world intricacies of UX design. I had the privilege of applying these theories in practice, bringing them to life in tangible projects that directly impacted Bombardier's user experience and productivity.

One of the highlights was gaining hands-on experience in crafting user-centered webpages. I learned how to create interfaces that prioritize user needs and preferences, ensuring that the digital platforms I designed were intuitive, efficient, and visually appealing. This skill is not just about aesthetics but also about enhancing functionality and user satisfaction.

Designing user surveys and analyzing survey results was another vital component of my co-op experience. It deepened my understanding of how to gather user feedback effectively, refine survey questions to be concise yet informative, and derive actionable insights from the data collected. This practical perspective reinforced the importance of user input in shaping user-centric design solutions.

Advice for Future Students

For future students looking to embark on a similar co-op journey at Bombardier or in a UX-related role, I have a few pieces of advice:


Adaptability is a cornerstone of success during your tenure at Bombardier. The company boasts a distinctive work culture, scheduling dynamics, and expectations that may differ from your previous experiences. To thrive in this dynamic environment, it's crucial to cultivate a mindset of flexibility and openness to change. Being prepared to adapt quickly means not only embracing the uniqueness of Bombardier's workplace but also proactively seeking opportunities to integrate and contribute. It involves staying receptive to new ideas, processes, and methods, even if they diverge from what you're accustomed to. By doing so, you not only demonstrate your commitment to the company but also position yourself as a valuable asset within the organization. Moreover, adaptability is a skill that transcends your time at Bombardier. It's a quality that will serve you well in any future endeavor. Learning to navigate the nuances of diverse work cultures and expectations equips you with the ability to thrive in a variety of professional settings. Therefore, view your co-op experience at Bombardier as an opportunity not only to contribute but also to grow personally and professionally by honing your adaptability skills. Embracing change and maintaining a flexible mindset will undoubtedly set you on a path toward success both within and beyond Bombardier.

Utilize Employee Resources:

Bombardier provides valuable resources for employees, including support websites portals and communities. Take the time to explore these resources to better understand the company, its policies, and available tools. They can be instrumental in helping you adapt to the work environment more efficiently.

Learn French as soon as you can:

This position does not have a strict requirement for French proficiency. However, you may frequently encounter situations where proficiency in French is beneficial, such as when preparing documents or surveys in French for other departments that prioritize the use of the French language.

Within the company, it's essential that all communication and documentation are presented in both English and French. This bilingual requirement extends to various aspects of the workplace, including emails, reports, presentations, and even daily conversations. Furthermore, acquiring proficiency in French can open up new avenues for personal and professional growth. It enables you to engage more fully with the local community, participate in cross-functional projects, and broaden your horizons in both your current role and future career endeavors. So, make the most of this experience by immersing yourself in the rich linguistic tapestry that defines Bombardier's workplace environment.