As a student, landing a co-op job can be an exciting and challenging process. In a typical year, those challenges include applying for roles, sending out resumes and cover letters, and making an impression during an interview. During the pandemic, students have to manage all of this without ever setting foot in an office.
This summer, we are lucky to have Christopher Rupert join us for a summer internship. Rupert is a third-year Computer Science student at the University of Guelph and has spent the past few months this summer working on our development team. His focus has been on a special project - working independently to rebuild one of our mobile app projects - Water My Lawn - with updated tools and frameworks.
Water My Lawn is a mobile application focused on water conservation that informs people whether they should water their plants. The app uses historical weather data, projected weather conditions, and evaporation rates to make its recommendations.
In this post, Rupert shares his insights on making the most of your co-op and summer internship experiences to benefit the company and your professional development.
Persistence is key– and hiring an eager candidate is worth it
Co-op placements are great opportunities to test drive your skills in a real-world setting. You gain practical work experience in areas that complement your strengths, interests, and educational needs.
Rupert developed a passion for software development and a strong interest in a tech career through his studies. "I've always wanted to work for a startup," said Rupert. "When I first heard about BitBakery through the P4E Career Fair, I was immediately interested in working in an environment where you could work with brand-new technologies on a variety of projects."
While BitBakery didn't have a specific role open at the time, it was Rupert's persistence that landed him the unique position to work on Water My Lawn.
"I asked for meetings. I checked in over email. I kept an eye on job boards. I even learned two new coding languages in 48 hours to do a technical interview," said Rupert. "Even though I didn't pass with flying colours at the time, I think it was my persistence and eagerness to learn that set me up for the job in the end."
Set clear learning objectives to maximize the experience
Already well-versed with learning on the fly, Rupert applied skills learned in the classroom on mobile development, cloud technology, and more during his placement. To make the most out of the hands-on work experience, Rupert intentionally set learning objectives for the role. It's something similar to objectives laid out in a class syllabus.
Rupert was excited to learn three technologies for cross-platform mobile development — Flutter, Google Firebase, and Node.js. "Not only did I get experience with these technical skills, but I also learned important professional skills such as confidence, teamwork and communication skills on deliverables," said Rupert.
Fresh eyes to bring new life to a project
With these goals as a guide, Rupert worked to get the most out of his experience and positively impact our team.
Outside of Computer Science, Rupert is interested in environmental conservation, a topic that aligned seamlessly with the Water My Lawn app.
Rupert rebuilt the Water My Lawn frontend using Flutter, Google's UI toolkit for building native applications for mobile, web, desktop, and embedded devices. "This project has been everything I was hoping for and more, the opportunity to learn a new language on the job and own a project from start to finish has been incredibly valuable to me," said Rupert.
This experience has given Rupert an excellent learning experience and has also benefited our team.
"Christopher has rewritten the app from the ground up using modern technologies such as Flutter and Firebase, as well as enhancing our water conservation algorithms to ensure the app gives better recommendations. Christopher is sharing his learnings with our development team so that we can apply to other projects too," said Wes Worsfold, BitBakery, CEO.
Set yourself up for future success
So what's next for our summer intern? Rupert says this co-op experience has given him good insight into the kind of technologies he wants to use and the environment he wants to work in.
Rupert plans to continue trying new things as he explores his studies in computer science and future career opportunities. Our team is excited to apply Rupert's work's learning to other projects to continuously improve our processes after getting a fresh perspective on mobile and web application development.
Photo by Jordan Hopkins on Unsplash