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Chloe Narcisse Velasquez

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology

Carissa at work standing in front of the company logo
As an Android Developer Co-op student, Carissa was involved in working with the rest of the Android team to implement new features as well as fix any existing bugs for each app update release.
FORM Athletica 

FORM is a Vancouver-based sports technology company that develops smart swim goggles with an augmented-reality display that delivers performance metrics in real-time, acting as your underwater coach. Alongside the goggles, FORM offers a companion mobile application, allowing swimmers to track their progress and create workouts. Their mission is to break down the barriers between what swimming is and what it could be. 

Carissa's Role

As an Android Developer Co-op student, Carissa was involved in working with the rest of the Android team to implement new features as well as fix any existing bugs for each app update release. She would follow the specifications outlined by the product team during implementation, ensuring that the user interface and behavior matched the provided design. She also had the opportunity to assist with the FORM rebrand, where she helped implement the new changes to update the look of the Android app. This was an exciting and pivotal time for the company as they were entering a new phase and changing the way they were presenting themselves to its users. 

Custom workout feature implemented in the FORM Swim App by Carissa
Custom workout feature implemented in the FORM Swim App by Carissa
Proud Moments 

One of Carissa’s biggest tasks during her time at FORM was helping to implement a new app feature that allowed users to create and edit their own custom workouts and then use the goggles while executing the workouts. When she first started developing the custom workout builder for the app, she was very nervous as it required her to work on much larger tasks than she was used to and assume more responsibility which placed her outside of her comfort zone. It was through this experience that Carissa felt like she grew as a developer as she worked on something from the ground up, instead of her regular bug fixes or smaller implementation tasks that she initially started with. It pushed her to think through things logically and work on her problem-solving skills whenever she ran into an issue or got stuck. She also had a chance to work with other people from the company by being part of this feature team, which allowed her to learn more about the internal process of how a new feature gets brought to life from the initial concept to the result and launch. Carissa found it exciting to see users engage with the app once it went live and hear all the feedback from their experience knowing that she took part in making that possible. 

Custom workout feature implemented in the FORM Swim App by Carissa
Custom workout feature implemented in the FORM Swim App by Carissa
Carissa’s Favourite Part of the Job

Carissa enjoyed getting the opportunity to work in the development field where she was able to learn more about what goes into the implementation process of a mobile application. Being able to contribute to new features for the Android app and then seeing her work go live for the first time was a thrilling experience for Carissa. She states, “It is definitely a nice feeling knowing that the work I have done is being used by swimmers and that I have been able to make a difference in the app”. 

Overall, she felt very grateful for how welcoming everyone was at FORM as well as how positive and fun it was to work there. Throughout her Co-op placement, she received a lot of support from the team she worked with as they guided her to become a better developer and pushed her to take on more challenging tasks. 

Inside the FORM office in Vancouver, BC
Inside the FORM office in Vancouver, BC
Employer’s Thoughts

“Working with Carissa has been very delightful. Her passion for mobile development and ability to learn and adapt quickly make her an invaluable addition to the team. We had the pleasure of having her with us for 12 months, and it’s truly wonderful to see how much she has grown over time. The co-op program not only provided us an opportunity to connect with future employees, it’s also rewarding to know that we have assisted the students in their career development.” 

Cherry Cho, Android Team Lead at FORM 

How SFU Co-op Program Helped Carissa

Carissa found the Co-op program to be key in helping her secure her first placement by ensuring that her resume, cover letter, and portfolio were at their best, as well as helping her feel prepared for her interview. Aside from helping her during the seeking process, Carissa noted that the staff helped her during her placement by ensuring that she was getting the most out of her Co-op experience. They gave her tips on how she could approach her learning objectives and goals, as well as provided guidance in navigating her term. 

Carissa’s co-op experience at FORM has allowed her to gain industry experience that students do not always get just through their studies in the classroom, and which has helped reinforce her decision to continue pursuing a career in the development field. 

Advice for Peers

“Do not be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone”, Carissa advised. 

Carissa recounts how she pushed herself to apply for a developer role even though she came from a design background and had limited experience with development. However, with her interest in mobile development, she got the opportunity to improve her skills and discover a new field that she wants to pursue. Carissa also notes to: “Make the most of your Co-op placement as there is so much available for you to learn during your term.” 

Participants and Contributors
Carissa Shum

Author

Chloe Narcisse Velasquez

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology

Digital Design and Communications Assistant for SFU Surrey Co-op Programs

visibility  382
Jan 9, 2023

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