Sam Osborne (May 2017 - January 2018)
Name: Sam Osborne
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Major: Computer Engineering
Co-op period: May 2017 - January 2018
What was the interview process like?
I was contacted to schedule an interview on site at Hunter. I drove down and took a brief aptitude test. Following that I spoke to Tim Hinton and Dave Voeller, taking the chance to talk about school experiences, goals and expectations of a co-op, and personal projects relative to the job. I was compensated for my travel expenses and learned a lot about what would be expected from a job at Hunter.
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 my work involved researching a topic, followed by developing small scale proof of concepts and prototypes. While there was a significant amount of programming required, most of the work involved learning and understanding tools and applications relevant to a new or existing project. Most of what I learned on this co-op was not and probably will not be taught in school, however every project required me to apply the analytical thinking and problem solving used in classes every day.
What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?
I believe the most beneficial experience I had at Hunter Engineering was the opportunity to get a project off of the ground and watch it develop. Being able to see the life cycle of a project and being a part of discussion around it on many levels taught me a lot about how companies work.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?
This job has calmed a lot of my nerves around going in to a professional career. Having this experience under my belt will give me confidence going in to any future job opportunity.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?
While going in to the job interview for this position, I had little technical experience to talk about outside of classes and few personal projects. After working here my list of technical competencies has grown incredible fast. I also have many projects that I can reference for examples of applied problem solving.
What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?
The most enjoyable part of this job was the ability to frequently be introduced to new projects. Each project introduced me to a new skill or technology that has broadened my understanding of computer engineering.
What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?
Because of the nature of research and development, some projects encounter road blocks that can be very frustrating to overcome with limited resources.
Did you learn anything?
A few of the many things I learned about on this job include C#, Python, SQL, networking, Arduino/mbed applications and web API’s
What was the dress code?
The dress code was khakis/slacks with 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?
Over the summer I had the opportunity to work with another co-op on most of my tasks which was very helpful in adapting to the job and learning how to cooperate in a professional environment. When that co-op returned to school the next semester my work was mostly independent, however I was commonly helped by full time employees.
What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)
Saint Louis can be a very fun place to spend time after work and on weekends, and has been a very good experience. To find affordable housing you may have to look further outside of the city which can lead to a longer commute.
What were your living arrangements during co-op? This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.
Over the summer I stayed at the university apartments at UMSL, and during the semester I moved in with another co-op at an Airbnb in Collinsville, IL.
How was the supervision?
Dave was very hands off, allowing independent development and learning, but frequently checked in, giving guidance and direction for challenges and goals.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?
Because of the hands off nature of my co-op at Hunter, it’s important to know that what you take away from this job depends entirely on what you put in to it and how you approach your job every day. My learning and experience grew dramatically when I approached every task enthusiastically.