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Jake Bielefeldt (May 2010 - January 2011)

Name: Jake Bielefeldt

School: Missouri University of Science and Technology and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Major: Computer Science and Biblical Studies

Co-op period: May 2010 - January 2011

Current school/company and what you do:
I am pursuing a Computer Science degree from Missouri S&T in Rolla and a Biblical Studies degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. I will have about 4 semesters left until I graduate with both degrees after my co-op with Hunter.

Current Location:
Rolla, MO

What was the interview process like?

I spoke with a Hunter representative at the Missouri S&T career fair and gave him my resume. After a few weeks, I received a phone call from Pat Hutsler asking if I would come out for an interview. I interviewed with Pat Hutsler and Tim Larson and also took an aptitude test. Once the interviews had been completed, Pat called a few days later with an offer.

The entire process was great; it went smoothly, and both Pat and Tim were very helpful in answering questions about the process as well as staying in touch about what each part of the process required from me as a candidate.

What did you do?

I worked on updating a few existing programs to meet current needs from both Mr. Larson as well as other full-time employees. I also wrote several programs to analyze raw data and present the desired information in a visual format for several different engineers.

I also spent a lot of time testing current software products offered by Hunter by using a variety of debugging tools.

There are a bunch of other projects I did as well, but those are the major ones.

Would you do it again?

What did you like?

I liked the freedom that I was given to develop programs. Usually, I would be given a request for a program or task, and my boss, Mr. Larson, would make a few suggestions on how to start and then turn me loose to do the research and write the program. If I had questions or ideas, he was willing to listen and offered advice and encouragement.

I also liked the challenges that each project brought. Each one had a different set of requirements and desired results, and being able to create solutions for each one was extremely satisfying.

What did you not like?
Occasionally there would be times where several projects would all become priority one requests at the same time, and trying to work on them all at once would become a little stressful at times. Fortunately, those moments didn't occur often and also didn't last long; I think there were only two such moments while I was at Hunter.

Did you learn anything?

I learned a substantial amount about the C#, VB, and C++ languages; I also got to use databases and ADO objects in several programs.

The co-op also taught me about product testing and all of the collaboration and steps that go into creating a marketable and reliable product.

Did the experience help you in your career?
I think it definitely helps as it has given me a more accurate perspective what will be expected of me as a computer scientist and programmer in a real-world work environment.

Did it help you in any job interviews?
It has. I have been able to use several examples from my co-op to demonstrate and explain my strengths and skills for several recruiters now.

What was the dress code?
The dress code usually is a dress shirt and slacks, but during the summer we were allowed to have business casual.

Was the work more individual or group work and how does it compare with what
you are doing today?

A lot of the work I did was more individual with guidance from the engineers on what result would be the best.

What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to where you
are now)

The St. Louis area is a nice place to live at; there are scores of things to do and places to visit.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
I lived in an apartment in Hazelwood, about 10 minutes away from Hunter.

How was the supervision?
It was fairly light. Tim would give me a project, offer some “getting started” help, then let me get on it. Occasionally he or another engineer that proposed the project would stop by to check up on me, but for the most part I was able to work on my own.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I would definitely recommend a Hunter co-op to other students. The skills and practice you can gain here are invaluable for a future career in computer science and will definitely give you an edge over other students without a co-op or with a not-as-beneficial co-op when competing for a future job.