Name: Drue Satterfield
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Major: Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Co-op period: January 2016 – July 2016
What was the interview process like?
I was introduced to Hunter Engineering by the college's Career fair, where Hunter had a booth set up. I conversed with the representatives, and a few days later I was contacted to conduct an interview. The interview process itself was pleasantly straightforward and friendly; I took an aptitude test and interviewed with a couple of different engineers. We talked a lot about current projects and the kinds of experiences we had had, and previous co-ops had here.
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.
Most of the work was based in software, C# particularly. I had to frequently understand programs made in C++ though never made any myself. There was a lot of research involved; it wasn't uncommon to have to find commands for other devices by experimentation, scanning through html source code, and looking up obscure documentation. I also was usually learning new research tool applications such as WireShark. I made several applications, a few libraries, and several scripts. Outside of software, we tested new devices and program builds quite a bit.
What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?
There have been many valuable experiences here at Hunter. I have experienced networking, IT tasks, high level software tasks of all types, device research, industry-standard research tools, developed better communication skills, among others. It is hard to say which one will be particularly useful, but probably the lessons learned in proper high level software design.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?
The skills learned here, both technical and business related, were great for furthering my aptitude as a computer and electrical engineer. I know a lot more than I did six months ago.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?
I have quite a few new skills to display, and the proof that I know how to use them. That alone is extremely valuable for future prospects.
What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?
I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere the most; as far as the work went, I was allowed to work at my own pace without someone standing over my shoulder the whole time, which kept the work feeling pleasant and not usually stressful. The coworkers were always very amusing, both fellow co-ops and the full time employees. Overall I just thought it was a pleasant place to work, I was glad to come in in the mornings.
What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?
The first couple of weeks posed their own challenges; it took me several days to find a computer that would allow me to work properly, so until we found one I felt like I was standing around while my other co-ops progressed. It was fairly difficult picking up the software languages used here as well until we were pointed to projects on TFS for examples. Also the work vine was occasionally dry, mostly thanks to the feature we were working on being in its finishing stages rather than its development stages.
Did you learn anything?
Quite a bit. A lot of my work used C#, which I had no experience with beforehand, so now I feel like I know it really well. I also learned how version control is being used in the industry and common best practices. More than once I was introduced to really cool tools that the industry at large uses, that I didn't know about. I know better techniques for networking, network watching, spreadsheet forming and scripting, website crawling, and all sorts of things.
What was the dress code?
Business casual – khakis and some kind of 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?
You have the ability to work in small groups of 2-4, and if you prefer to work alone you can divvy up the group work for individuals. It's like those small groups you form in university for projects, except you can actually get people together for long periods of time.
What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)
The morning traffic was sometimes unpredictable; some days I would get to work in twenty minutes, some days an hour. I'd recommend finding an apartment close.
What were your living arrangements during co-op? This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.
I was unique in that I had family friends here. I skipped around frequently from house to house every couple of months.
How was the supervision?
Dave Voeller is the kind of supervisor every engineering co-op wants. He's friendly, communicates well with you, doesn't talk down because you're a co-op and is always willing to help if you need it. He let us work at our own pace as well, without questioning our every move. Overall it was a great experience working with him.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?
Hunter is a great place to co-op whether you have no experience or lots of experience. There's always something to do, the environment is friendly, and you will learn a lot.