Name: Andrew Doing
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Major: Computer Engineering
Co-op period: January 2017 – August 2017
What was the interview process like?
I attended the Fall 2016 Career Fair and spoke to Megan Pieper and a previous co-op – Jed Swanton and gave my resume to Megan. She later contacted me to set up an interview in St. Louis. During the interview I was given a short aptitude test and then met Dave Voeller and Andrew Nevin. They ran through my resume and experience, and talked about previous projects they had worked on and what I might be doing if I got the job. I received an offer to work with Dave about a month later.
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.
Despite having a previous internship, I hadn’t done very much programming outside of school. I used C# and C++ for the projects I worked on at Hunter, and my skills acquired through programming classes at Rolla prepared me well for this job. There was a small transition to being able to use C#, but it wasn’t too bad, and I learned as I went along. I performed a lot of research and testing for current products and future products. Testing was something I’ve been doing since I first took science classes, but actually setting up your own tests and controlling for everything was a valuable learning experience.
What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?
I learned so much on the job about C#, programming practices, and testing, but the most valuable experience I had was somewhat different. I learned what working full time looks like, and started figuring out how to balance work with life. I’ve never worked 40 hour weeks before, and being exposed to an environment where the work is similar to what I hope to be doing as a career was definitely the most valuable.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?
Obviously having a co-op on my resume is invaluable for getting future internship opportunities. And a lot of what I’ve learned during my time at Hunter will undoubtedly help in future jobs. Past that, I have a better idea of what I’d like to do full-time after graduation.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?
I’ll be able to talk about the things I accomplished at Hunter and the lessons I learned. Having 7-8 months of engineering experience looks really great, and helps you talk about yourself, your expectations, and how you’re qualified for a position.
What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed using my knowledge of science and math to accomplish things. It was very validating, and I felt like the time I’ve spent learning in school was valuable.
What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?
There were dead-ends in research and testing that I got stuck on for weeks, and that was very frustrating. The key to getting past them was to think outside the box, and to step back and check the basic understanding. But during the time where I felt like we weren’t getting anywhere was tough.
Did you learn anything?
I learned a lot about C#, how to set up detailed tests, and how to communicate with co-workers and a superior. In the field of research, I learned how to go about becoming an expert on something I know nothing about, and the value of having a solid understanding of fundamentals.
What was the dress code?
Button-down or polo with slacks.
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?
The first part of my coop was mostly individual work, but once summer hit and the new coop started, there was more teamwork. The individual work consisted of projects/tasks and would usually require research or asking questions before they could be completed. The group work was nice since we could bounce ideas back and forth, and generally work faster and better. The difference between school and Hunter is the nature of the projects. In school everything is pretty straightforward and easy, whereas at Hunter I found myself needing more information and just trying things to figure out the projects.
What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)
Pros: It’s close to Rolla (about 1.5 hours away), so if you’re like me, you can visit Rolla a ton. There’s also things to do in the city if you’ve never been before.
Cons: I felt like I lacked social opportunities, so that’s something I would focus on if I did another coop.
What were your living arrangements during co-op? This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.
I lived at home, so I didn’t have to find an apartment.
How was the supervision?
Dave lets you work without micro-managing you, which is super nice. It’s important to ask for help or clarification as you need it, and everyone is helpful. You’re going to learn a lot simply by doing most things yourself, but a lot of times there are valuable insights to be gained from the full time employees.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?
I had a great overall experience. Going in, I was looking for a valuable learning experience, and I believe that is what I received. I’d recommend my fellow students apply to Hunter.