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Tyler Coons (December 2011 - July 2012)

Name: Tyler Coons

School: Missouri University of Science and Technology

Major: Computer Engineering

Co-op period: December 2011 - July 2012

Current school/company and what you do:
I am a Computer Engineering student at Missouri University of Science and Technology and will have three semesters remaining once I'm done with my co-op at Hunter.

Current Location:
I’ll be heading back to Rolla in August for the Fall semester.

What was the interview process like?

I talked to Pat Hutsler for a while at MST's career fair and gave him my resume. He then called me a few days later to ask me to come in to Hunter for an interview. I interviewed with Pat for a bit, took a mental aptitude test, and then interviewed with Dave Voeller. The interview process was fairly straightforward; Dave was mainly interested in what sort of projects I'd done at MST, previous jobs, and why I was interested in working for Hunter.

What did you do?
Unlike a lot of the other coops, I didn't have a long term project that lasted the duration of my coop. I had quite a few medium-length projects such as automating Hunter's encryption process, modifying the Windows Workflow that controls the software builds that are run, experimenting with conceptual aligner interfaces, and testing new software updates to name a few. In addition to jobs from Dave, coops are given smaller tasks around the garage like moving equipment around, cleaning, and running things between buildings.

Would you do it again?
Definitely.

What did you like?
I liked the fact that even as a coop I wasn't micromanaged. Dave was always there to give advice, but for the most part I was left to work out solutions on my own or with other coops. This could be frustrating at times when I was stuck, but working out a solution on my own was always very rewarding. Also, working over in the research and development garage was pretty cool. I ended up getting to research and play around with a bunch of new products that Hunter was considering.

What did you not like?
Overall, there weren't a whole lot of negatives. Occasionally the heat or air conditioning didn't work so well in the garage, which could be kind of a drag. I got stuck doing spec-testing for a month and a half which was a bit tedious after a while, but I'm sure it was still a valuable experience.

Did you learn anything?
Due to the fact that I was given a large number of tasks I feel like I was exposed to quite a few different aspects of Computer Engineering that I'd never had a chance to see in classes at MST. I ended up working with Powershell and C#, setting up a small network, setting up a server, and working with Team Foundation Server. Not only do I feel as though I learned a lot, I got more of a feel for working in a professional environment.

Did the experience help you in your career?
Definitely. As I said before, I now have a much better feel for working in a professional environment. This coop has also given me a lot of projects that I can reference in future interviews.

Did it help you in any job interviews?
I haven't had any other interviews yet, but I'm sure that this experience will help me in the future. Just going through the entire application and hiring process has given me a better idea of what to expect and will make me more confident in subsequent interviews.

What was the dress code?
The dress code can be described as business casual. We had to wear dress shirts and pants up until March; then we switched over to polos. Since we were working in a garage environment we didn't have to wear ties, which was a plus.

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

I mostly did individual work, though I was always able to ask for help or advice on the project I was on. I had one project where another coop and I were both learning to modify Windows workflows, which was convenient as we could help each other out any time one of us got stuck. I also had a few project where I worked with other engineers at Hunter and everyone that I dealt with was very helpful and friendly.

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

For me, the biggest pro of working in Saint Louis is that I'm originally from Saint Charles, which is only about fifteen minutes away. This meant that I was able to spend plenty of time with my girlfriend, family, and friends from the area. Also, Saint Louis has plenty of attractions to fill your downtime such as the Saint Louis Zoo, Busch Stadium, the City Museum, etc.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
I lived at home with my parents in St. Charles. This saved me the stress of finding an apartment to live in while still down at Rolla.

How was the supervision?
Dave always made sure to stay up-to-date with what I was working on, but allowed me freedom when it came to figuring out how to do something or handle problems that I came up against. I always felt that I could turn to him for advice, but didn't feel as though I was being micro-managed.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
Overall, I'd definitely recommend applying at Hunter if you're looking for a coop. I feel that I've learned a lot from my time here, and working here for a semester has improved my confidence for future job applications.