Emily Medema

CS MAJOR, FIFTH YEAR

Personal Experience:

Describe yourself in three words: 

Creative,  Hardworking,  Curious

Your favorite movie/ TV show:

Clue (1985)

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How do you spend your free time?

What free time? Honestly, I am usually reading, spending time with friends/family, or if I am especially motivated doing other projects but that is a rarity.

What would you do if not in CS?

Before I wanted to do CS, I wanted to study psychology in order to become a lawyer. However, I now know I would hate that, so probably journalism.

Work Experience:

Organization:  Teck Resources

Job Title:  Digital Systems Student

Position Type:  UBCO Co-op

How was the experience? What did you learn?

It was great! Teck is a very welcoming environment for their employees and it was a nice change of pace from the start-up culture I was in before. This position really helped me learn more about myself, the type of work-culture I prefer as well as develop more leadership, conflict resolution, and development skills.

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

Be the best version of yourself but also be honest. Review material related to the job you are applying for before the interview. Take your time and be sure to answer any question to the fullest extent you can.

Any challenges you faced that you would like to share with others?

I always found it difficult to find the time to review before an interview, specifically for technical interviews. However, this is really important to do and can be the difference between attaining the job and not.

One thing you wish you knew about the application process/ workplace/ interviews/ interview prep/ first few weeks.

Its okay to ask questions and not know things. The first few weeks of a job are to get you up to speed and knowledgeable about what you will be doing, asking questions is a major part of that. Don't be afraid to look dumb or ask silly questions, its better to know now than have to ask later on.

Any cool projects you worked on that you would like to share with us?

One of my jobs was working on a text-to-voice, voice-to-text hub called Kukarella. This wasn't with Teck, but rather Saturn Animation Studios. At Teck I was working on drilling and blasting system software.

UBCO Experience:

Name(s) of any student organizations you have been a part of, what was your position?

Organization Name: Quantitative Sciences Course Union (QSCU)

Position: Treasurer, Vice-President, and  President

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities ? 

Expo day is important in order to get a feel for the clubs and course unions on campus, other than that, show up and express interest. I have found that networking on campus is exponentially easier when you are involved with a course union or club.

Name(s) of best courses/professors?

Prof Name: Jeff Andrews, Ramon Lawrence, Scott Fazackerley, Abdallah Mohamed

Course Name:  DATA311, COSC 304

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year ?

I wish I had known that grades weren't everything. That I should take time to enjoy myself and not stress out about school all the time. That you don't need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life, you have the time to explore, try new things, and change your mind.

Owen Murovec

CS MAJOR, FOURTH YEAR

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Describe yourself in three words: 

Future Focused Builder

Your favorite movie/ TV show:

Ex Machina

Personal Experience:

How do you spend your free time ?

Free time?

What would you do if not in CS?

Engineering

Work  Experience:

Organization: Rarible, DaoHaus, Minty, Increment and more blockchain-based companies.

Job Title: Web Developer.

Position Type: Freelance.

How was the experience? What did you learn? 

My recent experience in the crypto/blockchain space has been and incredible opportunity and I would recommend everyone who has thought about it to take a look into the space. Emerging technologies like blockchain have an incredible range of opportunities connected to them and since they are so new, it's an even playing field for everyone getting into the space. Throughout my time working on various teams and projects I learned that a good balance between confidence and humility is key but will take some practice to develop. Taking lead on things can leave a good impression on senior developers but if you're stuck on something for too long it's better to ask for help than spend too much time trying to figure it out on your own.

How was the experience? What did you learn? 

My recent experience in the crypto/blockchain space has been and incredible opportunity and I would recommend everyone who has thought about it to take a look into the space. Emerging technologies like blockchain have an incredible range of opportunities connected to them and since they are so new, it's an even playing field for everyone getting into the space. Throughout my time working on various teams and projects I learned that a good balance between confidence and humility is key but will take some practice to develop. Taking lead on things can leave a good impression on senior developers but if you're stuck on something for too long it's better to ask for help than spend too much time trying to figure it out on your own.

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

With modern automated application filtering, actually getting a position by applying for a job listing is nearly impossible. Put more time into finding people in the space and joining communities of developers where you can make connections rather than applying to as many indeed listings as you can find.

Any challenges you faced that you would like to share with others?

Imposter syndrome which is something that 99.9% of people experience in this field. My advice is just to keep your head down and focus on your own learning. Spending time worrying about how you compare to others won't help your own progression.

One thing you wish you knew about the application process/ workplace/ interviews/ interview prep/ first few weeks.

Look for communities and events in your field, not job listings! Go to online summits and conferences or participate in large scale hackathons where you can meet people and build relationships. When those people come to a point where they need to fill a position that might fit you, you'll be the first person they ask (usually bypassing the interview altogether).

Any cool projects you worked on that you would like to share with us?

Some recent projects I've built/worked on front-ends for: https://increment.finance/
https://minty.xyz/
https://app.daohaus.club/
https://miami.nftkey.city/

UBCO Experience: 

Name(s) of any student organizations you have been a part of, what was your position?

UBCO Design Club: Admin, UBCO Google Developer Student Club: Technical Officer

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities?

Go to conferences, summits and Hackathons in areas that you're excited about! With everything moving online a majority of global events are much easier to attend and unlike interviews, no one really cares about your past experiences. Often you get the chance to work on projects with experienced developers and sometimes even make some money doing it. Larger events usually have big prize pools and even bring in a lot of attention from investors if you end up building a useful project.

Name(s) of best courses/professors

Abdallah Mohamed

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year?

Spend more time working on personal projects than worrying about grades. When it comes to finding work, employers usually don't really care about your your grades as long as you're doing alright and they're more interested in your practical skills.

Akshat Singal

CS MAJOR, THIRD YEAR

Personal Experience:

Describe yourself in three words:

inquisitive "pop culture aficionado" sarcastic

Your favorite movie/ TV show

The Newsroom

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How do you spend your free time

watching stuff or reading Wikipedia

What would you do if not in CS

psychology or management

Work Experience:

Organization: Microsoft

Job Title: Program Manager

Position type: Summer Internship

How was the experience? What did you learn? 

managing teams and deadlines, setting requirements, driving clarity

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

do your research before you apply for why you're applying to that company and position.

Any challenges you faced that you would like to share with others?

impostor syndrome is real

One thing you wish you knew about the application process/ workplace/ interviews/ interview prep/ first few weeks.

be calm, it helps a lot.

Any cool projects you worked on that you would like to share with us?

Got to work on a lot of cool upgrades to the azure user experience.

UBCO Experience:

Name(s) of any student organizations you have been a part of, what was your position?

volunteer/research assistant- BARK

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities

go outside of your comfort zone once in a while.

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities

go outside of your comfort zone once in a while.

Name(s) of best courses/professors

any course with Abdallah is amazing.

Courtney Gosselin

CS MAJOR

What would you do if not in CS ?

I have a seperate diploma in healthcare so id still be in healthcare just less tech

Work Experience:

Organization: BC Cancer

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Job Title: Research programmer

Position type: Full time job

How was the experience? What did you learn? 

This is my current job as a new grad as a full stack developer for the CanDig project

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

For your first job you should have a cover letter where the first paragraph can be subbed out so that you can add the job company and why you want to work there. Your resume should have job experience even if none is relevant to show you can hold a job. You should have 3-4 projects on your resume.
A portfolio website can help but it is not necessary. Then after you have all that prepped start mastering leetcode. Most companies while in coop will do zero technical or go anywhere from easy to medium, depending on where you apply. Once youre a new grad you should of mastered easy and medium and be attempting hards.
Generally your interviews will start with a phone screen this is basically to check your a nice decent percent maybe some behavioural. Next it can go multiple ways some do OA tech questions online at this stage other save it for the big interview and some do both.
You should expect to solve a anywhere from two easys to a medum to a hard in the technical portion. Some will also ask technical questions like system design to just simple things around the langauges they use. Then itll be behavioural questions on how you handle conflict. Other jobs expect you to do a presentation about a project or projects you have done.
Thats been pretty interesting and what I was asked to do as part of my interview at my last job instead of live technical questions.

One thing you wish you knew about the application process/ workplace/ interviews/ interview prep/ first few weeks.

I would of liked to know about leetcode sooner into my application process.

UBCO Experience:

Name(s) of any student organizations you have been a part of, what was your position?

QSCU as an executive member main title was review coordinator but it became a float position in covid

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities

Join a bunch of clubs lots now have discords so its easier to stay connected. Online clubs made it easier for me to join more things since I lived off campus.

Name(s) of best courses/professors

My favourite course I have ever taken is COSC 445 which is computer vision. It resulted in the best project on my resume and was overall a very interesting course. Best profs are Abdallah and Ramon

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year

I wish I knew more about the clubs and that things like VISA count as an ART elective and you can also take MDST. It brings more of the artsy side out if youre interested in that

Haniya

CS MAJOR, SECOND YEAR

Personal Experience:

Describe yourself in three words.

Passionate, Sincere, Hardworking

Your favorite movie/ TV show

Brooklyn Nine Nine

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How do you spend your free time?

Baking

What would you do if not in CS?

Mathematics

Work Experience:

Organization: Premier Genie

Job Title: STEM Instructor

Position Type: Summer Internship

How was the experience? What did you learn? 

Loved it! Learned to be patient and understand that each student takes their own time and speed.

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

It is always scary. I am currently freaking about it myself, but it all ends up working out if you put your time and work into it.

Any cool projects you worked on that you would like to share with us?

For the GiT Club, my team and I made a website which revised all the contents of COSC 111 and COSC 121

UBCO Experience: 

Name(s) of best courses/professors

Mohammed Abdallah

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year

School is a heck of a lot different from University

Opeyemi Adeyemi

CS MAJOR, FOURTH YEAR

Personal Experience:

Describe yourself in three words.

Sparkly, but tired

Your favorite movie/ TV show

A Silent Voice

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How do you spend your free time

Desigining or catching up with people

What would you do if not in CS

Graphic design is my passion, or writing

Work Experience:

Organization: UBCO

Job Title: Research Assistant (Web Developer/Designer)

Position Type: Full-time job

How was the experience? What did you learn?

Code that "should" work is not nearly the same as code that does work

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

Ultimately, it's always about the people, listen to advice, but everyone is different and networking is ultimately the way everything works.

Any challenges you faced that you would like to share with others?

I was initially quite secluded and too afraid to ask for help, but keeping that to myself was hurting not just me, but the team too. Your boss will only give you more work if they think you're handling the current work easily, so overworking just warps their perception of the team's velocity. Additionally, we're all constantly learning so it's always a solid plan to ask for help! With that said, don't be afraid to stay on a problem for a while, try to really think through solutions so your questions are targeted and specific!

One thing you wish you knew about the application process/ workplace/ interviews/ interview prep/ first few weeks.

There exists such a thing as a company that you wouldn't want to work at. They are evaluating you, and you should also be evaluating them.

UBCO Experience:

Name(s) of any student organizations you have been a part of, what was your position?

UBCO Design (President)

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities

I personally always love hiring executives who seem excited about design (the topic of my club), so I'd say just let yourself be openly into the topic of the club and it's rare that will go unnoticed.

Name(s) of best courses/professors

COSC 341 (Goated), COSC 322 (Coolest Project) and COSC 211 (Tough but you feel big brain). Dr. Hui, Dr. Vrbik, Dr. Lawrence, Dr. Andrews and Dr. Mohamed were all wonderful professors in my experience!

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year

Nobody knows what they're doing either, you can be friends with anyone, few people personally think your lack of uni experience makes you less qualified to be involved with things (if you demonstrate competency), even if policies prevent them from letting you be involved.

Jean-Philippe Abadir

CS MAJOR

Personal Experience:

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious, Enthusiastic, Extroverted

Your favorite movie/ TV show

War Dogs

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How do you spend your free time

I like doing long-term stock market investing and playing guitar.

What would you do if not in CS

As a degree? Engineering. As a career? Something in finance, perhaps.

Work Experience:

Organization: AWS

Job Title: Software Development Engineer Intern

Position Type: Summer Internship

How was the experience? What did you learn?

It was a great experience. I worked on an AWS product called EC2 Auto Scaling, that aims at matching available computing power with changing demands for AWS customers. It was really interesting. I learned a lot about the software engineering processes used in big-tech, about cloud computing, and I significantly improved my technical skills.

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

Talk to people in person, if possible. If you go to a hackathon, print out 50 copies of your resume and hand them to recruiters, and ask engineers questions about what they do and try to show them you're a curious and bright person - I know you are. That's how I got my 2019 internship for RBC as a web developer, I met my boss at NwHacks. I had applied to RBC online prior to that with no luck, which goes to show the power of meeting people IRL.

Any challenges you faced that you would like to share with others?

Overall, in 2019 and 2020, I applied to somewhere between 60 and 100 internships, including twice at Amazon, and only got a few interviews and 2 offers. Don't get discouraged.

Any cool projects you worked on that you would like to share with us?

Right now, I'm working full-time on building a software consulting company called North P&D, Inc. You can have a look at the company's website at northpnd.com. I build websites, mobile apps, and tech solutions. If you want to work with me or know someone who does, my contact info is on that website :).

If you're interested in the technicals, it's a React app served by a Node server built with Express hosted on Heroku. To get around a CORS issue, the front-end also makes a call to my node server which itself calls the Google Maps API to fetch and render my company's Google Maps reviews. Hopefully, that's somewhat interesting to a tech audience. x)

UBCO Experience:

Name(s) of any student organizations you have been a part of, what was your position?

None officially

Any tips on networking and getting more involved in campus activities

If you're on campus, chat with the students around you. UBCO is very friendly and you're likely to meet interesting people.

Name(s) of best courses/professors

Abdallah Mohamed and Ramon Lawrence are the two best profs I've had. If you get a chance to take their classes, it's very worth it.

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year

Blueprint for what to do when you're bored:
1. Think about what you may be interested in doing in the future (web dev? game dev? mobile application dev? cybersecurity? OS dev? Open Source? Scripting? Automation? Data Science? UI/UX?)
2. Find a little project related to your interests and commit to working on it in your free time. This may not be your next huge startup idea, but it'll teach you a lot, and when, 3 years down the line, you have ideas you're interested in pursuing, or jobs you're interested in getting, it'll make things quicker. When I was 18, I was trying to think of useful apps or websites I could build and projects I could work on. If I could go back, I'd just tell myself "just try to build and deploy a website that does anything, it doesn't matter that much how useful it is. Next time you think of something useful to build, you'll be way quicker at it".

This is partly what led Mark Zuckerberg to build Facebook so quickly. He built a bunch of projects that no one's heard of before he built Facebook. This is also true of Jack Dorsey (Twitter and Square CEO).

And if you already know what to build, and you already have the skills, don't waste your time reading my advice.

Oh, and if you read all this, and for one reason or another you want to chat with me, then feel free to reach out! LinkedIn is a good way to do so. Good luck!

Raghav Jhavar

CS MAJOR

Personal Experience:

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious Persistent Resourceful

Your favorite movie/ TV show

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

How do you spend your free time

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Video games, Running, Trying new food

What would you do if not in CS

Pilot

Work Experience:

Organization:  Amazon

Job Title:  Software Development Engineer

Position Type: Full time job

How was the experience? What did you learn?

I have been working at Amazon for about a month now. It's a great place, with extremely smart, kind and helpful individuals. Everybody is working towards the same goal: to make the best product for the customer. So far, I have learned plenty about the culture, processes of Software Engineering, and what is expected from me in the role.

Any advice for people who will be applying for their first job?

Be persistent, do Leetcode, practice behavioural questions out loud.

Any challenges you faced that you would like to share with others?

Nervous during coding interviews. Practice out loud when you solve a problem on Leetcode and explain what you are doing to yourself (or to a friend)

One thing you wish you knew about the application process/ workplace/ interviews/ interview prep/ first few weeks.

They can take a while to get back (though they will email a few times saying they are working things out)

UBCO Experience:

Name(s) of best courses/professors

COSC 407, COSC 445, DATA 311, COSC 304, COSC 328 / Abdallah Mohamed, Ramon Lawrence

Thing(s) you wish you knew in your first year

Gets harder each year