This post aims to provide a glimpse into my role as a Junior Software Engineer co-op, in the hopes of informing prospective co-op students about what they can expect if they decide to embark on an internship at Tasktop. Clearly, my experience is unique and my own, as any software engineer’s experience at any company is highly dependent on the technical challenges facing their team, their team members, and the employee’s own technical background and role within the team. So I will focus on aspects of my experience that are most likely to be consistent with the experiences of my fellow co-ops—such as company culture, the responsibility co-ops are entrusted with, and the outstanding mentorship—and avoid the specific technical challenges I faced.
To provide context, I am a third-year student at the University of British Columbia, studying towards an Honours degree in Computer Science. Prior to coming to Tasktop in September 2016, I have held two internships at a time-tracking software company called Replicon.
My favorite aspect of working at Tasktop is the highly social working environment. Cubicles do not exist at Tasktop. Engineers work in the same large, open room with floor to ceiling windows that look out onto Stanley Park and Robson Street. Everyone eats lunch together, and there is a weekly happy hour, where you can mingle with co-workers that you don’t interact with during a normal working day. Combine the office layout and regular weekly socials with the fact that everyone is very friendly and enjoyable to spend time with, and you have a phenomenal social environment.
Another important reason why Tasktop is an awesome place to intern is the relative lack of distinction between co-ops and full-time engineers. You will begin by working on lower-priority tasks that allow you to become acquainted with the code-base, as it would be for any new employee. From this point, you progress into more complex tasks and, based upon the technical challenges facing your team, you will be able to choose tasks that allow you to develop your technical capabilities in the areas that interest you. The key point is that you will always be writing production-level code. Co-ops are fully integrated into the teams, taking part in daily stand-ups, sprint retrospectives, and sprint planning events. And, co-ops are strongly encouraged to get involved in the code-review process. At Tasktop, co-ops are allowed to take on a great deal of responsibility, and treated as trusted team members, which has been crucial to my growth as a software engineer.
Most importantly, the mentorship you receive at Tasktop is top-notch. Each co-op is assigned a different mentor, so each co-op’s experience varies, but every mentor is very knowledgeable, open to questions, and willing to provide guidance. That means every co-op has a strong mentor to lean on. In my opinion, mentorship is most important part of any co-op’s experience, as having that role model makes it easier to learn how to become a strong software engineer.
Some other great perks of working at Tasktop include:
- Flexible working hours.
- Free bananas and beverages.
- Being situated near Robson Street means that there are plenty of awesome places to grab lunch.
All in all, working at Tasktop has been a phenomenal experience. I’ve met amazing people and I’ve developed substantially as a software engineer.