One of the most important considerations when hiring new employees, is whether they have previous experience, especially for jobs such as development, where a very specific skill base is necessary. For a lot of students, this can be a very hindering consideration, after spending at least four years in university, landing a job in your field after graduation can be a daunting experience, especially when faced with student loans and beginning your life.
I'm a third year Computer Engineering student at the University of British Columbia, and when I was starting my degree, I was not considering this. I was just excited to pursue something that I was passionate about. However, now that I am coming to the end of my time as a student, this is a very real consideration: what will I do afterwards? Thanks to companies like Appnovation, I don't need to be afraid.
Most post secondary schools now offer students the ability to participate in a Co-op program. These programs allow students to take time within their studies to work in real life positions, experiencing what it's like to work in the industry for which they are studying. This is a hugely helpful experience, not only because it allows students to gain real experience before graduation, but also because it allows students to find what work they are truly passionate about, and where they will best excel.
For each school, the program is organized slightly differently, but at UBC, the Engineering Co-op Program is organized as follows:
- Students in second/third year apply to be a part of the program, and based on their grades and an intake interview, they are then conditionally accepted. This occurs at the beginning of the school year (usually September).
- Students then participate in multiple workshops throughout the school year, alongside their regular classes, which help prepare them and ensure they're able to be fully accepted come January.
- In January, accepted students then choose a schedule that fits them best, usually designed for their specific stream of engineering, and personal choice. These schedules require the student to complete four to five work terms, while completing the rest of their schooling as well. For example, my schedule looks like this:
- May 2015 to August 2015 (2015 - Summer Session): Work Term 1
- September 2015 to December 2015 (2015 - Fall Session): Study Term
- January 2016 to April 2016 (2016 - Winter Session): Work Term 2
- May 2016 to August 2016 (2016 - Summer Session): Work Term 3
- September 2016 to December 2016 (2016 - Fall Session): Work Term 4
- January 2017 to April 2017 (2017 - Winter Session): Study Term
- May 2017 to August 2017 (2017 - Summer Session): Work Term 5
- September 2017 to December 2017 (2017 - Fall Session): Study Term
- January 2018 to April 2018 (2018 - Winter Session): Study Term
After choosing a schedule, they begin applying for positions for their next work term, using the resources provided by the school's Co-op program.
During each work term, students are required to complete a few additional tasks for the program such as creating learning objectives, writing a report, and having a Co-op representative visit your workplace. However, these programs would not exist, and would not be successful if it wasn't for the companies that allow students the opportunity to learn and work with them.
Appnovation is a company that hires many Co-op students every work term, and gives them the opportunity to grow in their skills, and be a part of projects that excite them. Personally, I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded to me by Appnovation, and I'm determined to get as much as possible from my time here, learning and contributing in every way that I can. I'm also excited for the possibility that one day in the future, as I continue on in my career, that I might be able to inspire a student in the way I have been inspired by my mentors, leads, and supervisors.
Learn more about The University of British Columbia's Engineering Co-op Program here.
The university also provides Co-op programs for many other faculties, and many other universities all over the country also provide students this absolutely influential opportunity.
We thank them!