Working for Alida has been an amazing experience and I have had a great work term here. I was hired coming down to the end of a quarter and had a thorough onboarding experience that got me up to speed on the software development process as well as the different applications I would be using in my day-to-day work. I was able to learn about “Scrum” which is a project management framework commonly used in software development, as well as additional applications such as Jira (a program that tracks product development) and Confluence (a online platform that helps with cross-team collaboration).
As this was my first work term, I was very nervous and wanted to make sure I wasn't falling behind, so I reviewed all the onboarding documents religiously. Shortly after my onboarding, I was given my first major task which was to coordinate the company's Early Access Programs, which entailed creating guides/walkthroughs with Product Managers, managing the timeline for recruitment with Customer Experience Managers, communicating with customers, and working with the IT department to ensure the features are enabled. This was an intimidating task for someone who is starting their first job in the industry, but I was reassured by my managers that I would be fine and that they are there to help.
The first thing I had to do was learn about what features we were going to EAP (Early Access Program). To do this, I reached out to the Product Managers to give me the rundown. I was a bit self-conscious of my lack of knowledge (since I had just started) but I quickly found that everybody was very understanding and willing to teach me which was a big relief. After I got a good understanding of the features, I put together walkthroughs for the CSMs and started the recruitment process. After a couple of weeks of recruiting customers interested in trying the features, I enabled the features and contacted the customers. In the end, the process went smoothly, and I was able to take away valuable skills and knowledge such as how to communicate with the company’s top customers, as well as how to put together a rollout process that incorporates different departments in the organization (CSMs, PMs, PJMs, IT, etc.).
I know that everyone’s first co-op job seems scary at first, but the reality is that your managers are there to guide you and don’t have any unrealistic expectations for what you should know coming in. I am now at the halfway mark of my 8-month co-op and I feel like I am a valuable member of the team and that I am making a meaningful contribution to the company, which is a great feeling. I was even able to make friends with other co-op students both in the Vancouver and Toronto office, and we have a scheduled online lunch every Friday where we play card games and destress before the weeks over. If I had any advice to give a first-time co-op student, it would be to ask questions and don’t be afraid to be the dumbest person in the room. You’ll find that these situations will give you more insight into the industry you’re working in and will give you a more fulfilling co-op experience.