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Parmida Saghafi

SFU Student Undergraduate
Science
Co-operative Education

Position Title
Experience Faculty
Experience Details
Semester
Spring
Year
2023
Introduction + Preparation
Preparation Tips for Future Students
  1. Familiarize yourself with the programming languages and technologies you will be working with: Before starting your co-op, it's important to have a solid foundation in the programming languages and technologies you will be working with. Take some time to review and practice the key concepts and tools related to web development. This will help you hit the ground running and be more productive in your role.

  2. Practice problem-solving and debugging skills: As a web developer, you will be expected to troubleshoot issues and solve problems on a daily basis. Practice your problem-solving and debugging skills by working on coding challenges, debugging exercises, or creating your own small projects. This will help you build confidence and hone your skills for the job.

  3. Learn about the company and their industry: Take some time to research the company you will be working for and learn about their industry. This will give you a better understanding of their business goals and how your role fits into the bigger picture. It will also help you ask more informed questions and contribute more effectively to the team.

  4. Improve your communication skills: Good communication is essential in any workplace, and as a web developer, you will be working with a variety of stakeholders, including clients, project managers, and other developers. Practice your communication skills by working on group projects or participating in online communities related to web development. This will help you develop effective communication strategies and work more collaboratively with others.

  5. Keep up with industry trends and best practices: Web development is a constantly evolving field, with new technologies and best practices emerging all the time. Stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices by reading industry blogs, attending webinars, or participating in online forums. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and continue to grow as a web developer.

Overall, the key to success as a web developer is to stay curious, continue learning, and be proactive in your approach to problem-solving and communication. With these preparation tips, you'll be well on your way to a successful co-op experience.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

On my first day, I was introduced to my supervisor, who gave me a tour of the office and introduced me to the other team members. I was also given a comprehensive orientation about the company's mission, values, and services.

In my first week, I spent a lot of time getting up to speed with the company's existing web development projects. I was given access to the codebase and tasked with reviewing the existing code and documentation. This was a great opportunity to get familiar with the codebase and understand the project's architecture.

I also participated in several team meetings where I was able to meet my colleagues and learn about their roles and responsibilities. This was a great opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into how the team works together to achieve common goals.

During my orientation, I was also introduced to the company's development workflow and tools. I was given access to the company's version control system and shown how to use it to manage code changes and collaborate with other developers. I was also introduced to the project management software used by the team and shown how to use it to track project progress and collaborate with other team members.

Overall, my orientation and first weeks at Visapedia Immigration Consulting were a great experience. I felt welcomed and supported by my colleagues, and I was given ample time to get up to speed with the company's existing projects and workflows. The orientation and training provided me with a solid foundation for my work as a web developer, and I was able to start contributing to the team's projects right away.

Learning and Adaptation

As a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting, I was tasked with working independently on various projects. This was a new experience for me, as I had not previously worked in an environment where I was not a part of a team. However, I was eager to learn and took the challenge in stride.

One of the key adaptations I made was learning to manage my time effectively. Without the structure of a team environment, it was up to me to prioritize my tasks and manage my workload. To do this, I established a daily routine that included setting goals for the day, prioritizing tasks, and tracking my progress. I found this approach to be effective in helping me stay organized and on track.

Another adaptation I made was learning to work more independently. This involved developing my problem-solving and decision-making skills, as well as taking ownership of my work. I quickly realized that I needed to be more self-sufficient in my work, which meant doing my own research, seeking out resources, and being proactive in finding solutions to problems.

Additionally, I learned to adapt to new technologies and tools quickly. As a web developer, I was exposed to a variety of programming languages and tools, many of which I had not used before. I found that by approaching each new challenge with an open mind and a willingness to learn, I was able to pick up new skills quickly and adapt to new technologies with ease.

Overall, I found that working independently as a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting was a valuable learning experience. It allowed me to develop my time management, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, as well as adapt to new technologies and tools. While working independently can be challenging at times, it also provided me with a sense of ownership over my work and the opportunity to take on more responsibility in my role.

Accomplishments and Challenges

As a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting, working independently posed both challenges and opportunities for accomplishments. Here are some of the challenges and accomplishments I encountered during my co-op experience.

Challenges: One of the biggest challenges I faced was the lack of guidance and support that comes with working independently. There were times when I had to troubleshoot issues on my own without the help of a senior developer or a team member. This was a significant learning curve for me, as I had to rely on online resources and documentation to resolve issues. It was challenging to determine the best approach to solving problems when there were multiple possible solutions. Another challenge was managing my workload and priorities, especially when there were competing demands for my time.

Accomplishments: Despite the challenges, I was able to achieve several accomplishments during my co-op term. One of my most significant accomplishments was developing a new website for the company. I designed and developed the website using WordPress, and it was launched within a few weeks of starting my co-op. This was a significant achievement for me as it was the first website I developed on my own. I also developed a custom feature for the website that allowed clients to track the progress of their immigration applications. This feature was highly praised by the company's management and helped to streamline the process of managing client applications.

Another accomplishment was the development of an internal tool that improved the company's workflow. I identified a need for a tool that would help automate some of the manual tasks that were being performed by the administrative staff. I developed the tool using Python and integrated it with the company's existing systems. This tool was well-received by the staff and helped to reduce the time and effort required to complete tasks.

In conclusion, working independently as a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting presented both challenges and opportunities for accomplishments. While it was challenging to work without a team, I was able to develop new skills and achieve several significant accomplishments that added value to the company.

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

Reflecting on my co-op experience as a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting, I feel proud of the skills I have gained and the projects I have completed. I had to learn everything on my own, including the tools and technologies I needed to use. This experience gave me the opportunity to become more self-sufficient and to develop my problem-solving skills.

One of the biggest challenges I faced during my co-op was not having any prior experience with PHP. However, I was determined to learn and took the initiative to teach myself the language. I researched and practiced on my own and eventually gained a good understanding of PHP. This was a significant achievement for me as it enabled me to contribute more to the team's projects.

Another accomplishment was completing a major project on my own, which involved redesigning the company's website. This was a big responsibility, but I enjoyed the challenge and gained a lot of satisfaction from seeing the project through to completion. It was rewarding to receive positive feedback from both my supervisor and the clients.

Overall, this co-op experience taught me the importance of being self-motivated and proactive in learning new skills. I developed a sense of independence and confidence in my ability to take on new challenges. Additionally, it reinforced the importance of effective communication, as I had to communicate with my supervisor and the clients regularly to ensure that I was on the right track and that their needs were being met.

In the future, I hope to continue building on the skills I gained during my co-op and to seek out new opportunities to challenge myself and continue learning. I am grateful for this experience, which has helped me grow both personally and professionally.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

My experience working as a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting without working in a team and learning everything by myself was challenging but also very valuable. One of the most valuable aspects of this experience was the opportunity to develop my problem-solving skills. As I worked on different projects, I faced many technical challenges that I had to solve on my own. This helped me become more confident in my abilities as a web developer and gave me a sense of accomplishment as I overcame each obstacle.

Another valuable aspect of this experience was the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with various web development technologies. I was able to learn and work with new tools and technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which helped me build my technical skills and prepared me for future job opportunities.

In addition, I also gained valuable experience in managing my time effectively and meeting deadlines. Working as a solo web developer for my dad's business taught me the importance of being self-motivated and disciplined, especially when it came to meeting project deadlines. These skills will undoubtedly be useful in future academic and career pursuits.

This experience also helped me gain a better understanding of the software engineering concepts I learned in my introduction to software engineering course. As I worked on different projects, I was able to apply the principles and theories I learned in class to real-world situations. This solidified my understanding of the concepts and helped me better appreciate their practical applications.

Overall, my experience as a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting without working in a team and learning everything by myself taught me many valuable lessons and skills that I will carry with me throughout my academic and professional career. It showed me the importance of being self-motivated, disciplined, and constantly learning to succeed in the rapidly-evolving field of web development.

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

My job as a web developer at Visapedia Immigration Consulting was a great opportunity to apply the knowledge I gained from my Introduction to Software Engineering course. The course provided me with a basic understanding of web development, and my job allowed me to put that knowledge into practice. Despite working independently and not being part of a team, I learned a lot about web development technologies, programming languages, and software design principles. I was able to apply these concepts to solve real-world problems and create solutions that met the needs of the company's clients.

Moreover, my experience at Visapedia Immigration Consulting has helped me to refine my career goals. As a student, I was unsure of the specific direction I wanted to take in the field of computer science. However, working as a web developer at Visapedia allowed me to see the impact that technology can have on people's lives. I realized that I wanted to use my skills to create innovative solutions that could make a positive difference in society. This experience has inspired me to pursue a career in software engineering with a focus on developing applications that have a social impact.

In terms of academic studies, my job at Visapedia helped me to see the relevance of what I was learning in the classroom to real-world applications. The experience allowed me to see how the concepts and theories we discussed in class were being put into practice in the industry. It has also motivated me to learn more and keep up with the latest developments in web development technologies and best practices. This will help me to be better prepared for future opportunities in the field of software engineering.

Overall, my job at Visapedia Immigration Consulting was a valuable experience that helped me to apply what I learned in my Introduction to Software Engineering course and clarify my career goals. It provided me with practical skills and knowledge that I can use to pursue a successful career in the field of computer science.

Advice for Future Students

If you're in a similar situation where you're working as a web developer for a family business or are not working in a team, here are some pieces of advice to help you succeed:

  1. Take responsibility for your learning: When you're not working in a team, it's important to take ownership of your learning. Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do or how to do it. Be proactive in seeking out new knowledge and skills to help you excel in your role.

  2. Find opportunities to collaborate: While you may not be working in a team, you can still find ways to collaborate with others. Attend industry events or participate in online communities to connect with other developers and share knowledge and ideas.

  3. Stay up-to-date with industry trends: The field of web development is constantly evolving, and it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Read industry blogs, attend webinars, and participate in online forums to stay informed.

  4. Take breaks and manage your time effectively: When you're working alone, it can be easy to become immersed in your work and lose track of time. Take regular breaks to rest and recharge, and manage your time effectively to avoid burnout.

  5. Seek feedback from others: While you may not have a team to provide feedback, you can still seek feedback from clients, family members, or other developers. Use their feedback to identify areas for improvement and continue to grow in your role.

Overall, working as a web developer in a family business or without a team can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Take ownership of your learning, find ways to collaborate with others, stay up-to-date with industry trends, manage your time effectively, and seek feedback from others to help you succeed in your role.

Author

Parmida Saghafi

SFU Student Undergraduate
Science
Co-operative Education
visibility  106
Apr 18, 2023