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Curry Spray (June 2015 - December 2015)

Name:  Curry Spray

School: Missouri University of Science and Technology

Major: Computer Engineering

Co-op period: June 2015 - December 2015

Co-op Experience

What was the interview process like?

I was contacted by Megan Pieper in HR a few weeks before the career fair and I was asked to schedule an on campus interview the morning after it. She gave me an aptitude test and asked me a couple questions. About three days later I was asked to attend an on-site interview with Dave Voeller where he asked me a few questions about information on my resume and explained the projects he was working on at the moment. After that I got a call a week later offering me the job. The whole process was smooth and quick, and Hunter was the only company that compensated me for travel up to St. Louis.

Most students just want some experience but they don't exactly know what type of experience they want.  Please describe some of the work you did and what type of skills you needed.  It is important to note what you could apply from school and what you learned on the job.

I did a variety of coding, testing, research, and product implementation. Besides have an understanding in C++ or Java, or preferably C#, having strong organizational skills and a sound scientific mind are the best characteristics to have that will help you succeed.

What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?

Working with both the engineers and somewhat with the product management people taught me a lot about how to envision a project in the field and what needs to be done to make that a reality.

How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?

Learning to work with different teammates styles has not only helped me learn how to approach problems in a more dynamic way, but has also helped me more fluidly integrate into any projects. I feel confident that I could start my career and fit in anywhere with the tools I garnered during my co-op at Hunter.

How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?

Being able to reference projects worked on at a coop is absolutely invaluable in any job interview. Employers want to see experience and this coop provided a lot of it.

What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?

I most enjoyed getting to set up the project that I and other co-ops worked on, Quick ID, at its first Beta site. Getting to experience the difficulties of setting up a new project in a real world setting and the creative ways to fix the problems encountered was quite fun.

What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?

The only thing that annoyed me here at Hunter was when we had to work around business partners and service reps in the training center during testing in West Garage while Quick ID was still a secret project.

Did you learn anything?

Yes, quite a bit. I learned some C# and a modicum of Visual Basic. I gained valuable experience with Team Foundation Server and how useful it is when collaborating with multiple team members in order to preserve important data. I also learned a handful of useful things including, hard drive swapping, basic networking, and how to operate WinAlign and perform some basic alignment on a car.

What was the dress code?

Business Casual, so basically dress slacks/khakis and a collared shirt.

Student often want to know if they will work alone or in a group.  Was the work you did more individual or group work and how does it compare with what you have done in school or at another job?

There was an equal amount of solo and group work. Research for aspects of the License Plate Recognition project were generally done alone, but the some of the larger tests we did were worked on by all 5 co-ops in the summer. The biggest difference between working in the classroom and working at Hunter is that here you'll have a competent team around you to help with different parts of the projects you might be working on, especially when you start editing portions of WinAlign.

What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)

Cons: Traffic

Pros: The city has a bustling nightlife as well as a very strong sports scene; you should never be at a loss of things to do. St. Louis is a hub for many companies so it should not be difficult to find a roommate who is a student to split the bills with. It also has access to an international airport, which is nice.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?  This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.

I stayed at the Village Park Apartments in Creve Coeur during my coop. They allowed less than 1 year leases for a slight rent increase. I had one roommate who I knew from college and was also on coop. It was about a 15 minute drive up 270/70 to get to work or 20 minutes on Lindbergh when traffic was congested on the highway.

How was the supervision?

Dave was an excellent boss who checked in on us once or twice a day to give us projects or receive status updates. He was mostly available by email or just by stopping by his office when we needed help. It was a good combination of a hands off approach with just enough support when we needed it.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?

It is 100% worth it.