JP Latreille (May 2021 – December 2021)
Name: JP Latreille
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Major: Computer Engineering
Co-op period: May 2021- December 2021
What was the interview process like?
I applied online for the position after attending my school’s career fair. Shortly after, Hunter’s HR team contacted me for an interview. The interview with HR determined what projects aligned best with my interest. Next, I interviewed with my current supervisor, Dave Voeller. My interview with Dave Voeller was extremely comfortable and relaxed. It excited me to hear about the various machine learning projects his team was working on. Overall, the interviewing process was painless and fast, which I am very grateful for.
Most students just want experience, but they may not 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 the skills you could apply from what you’ve learned in school and what you learned on the job.
Most of the work I did was in research and development. It required a lot of on-the-spot learning of different and new technologies. Coming into the co-op I knew python and C++; this was a good base to start learning all the necessary technologies related to the machine learning project I was working on. Along the way I learned SQL, TensorFlow and many other important tools for data science, it was a good environment to learn these skills and immediately apply them to a project.
What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?
Learning the essential tools of data science will be the most useful to me in the future. I plan to pursue a career in the data science field, and the skills learned on my co-op will serve very useful as I continue my journey.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?
One of the best things about the co-op experience was having the opportunity to test drive a potential career path. As a computer engineering, I was torn between perusing software and hardware. This experience has allowed to test out how I like working full time in software and decide I am wanting to continue down this path. The skills and experience from working at Hunter have already helped me land a Data Science related position for next summer.
What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?
My favorite aspect was the freedom I was given when working on my project. All the development decisions made were by co-ops, and we were able to do the project how we saw fit.
What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?
The only aspect of the work I did not enjoy was all the necessary documentation I needed to write to explain different parts of the project and the process of how I got there. Although I did not enjoy writing documentation, I understand the importance of doing so and now know how it can be done properly.
Did you learn anything?
I learned TensorFlow, SQL, pandas and lots of different skills relating to Data science that will help me in the future. Additionally, learned what it is like to work full time as an engineer.
Students 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?
I started off working on a team with the co-ops from the Spring semester. After about 2 months, the outgoing co-ops returned to school and I continued to work on the project individually. I enjoyed aspects of working with the team and individually. Working on a team at Hunter was a much better experience compared to my school projects. Everyone at Hunter is motivated and like-minded, making collaboration much easier and productive.
What were your living arrangements during co-op? This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.
During my co-op I lived at home with my parents in South County. There was a bit of a commute, but the flexible start times Hunter offered made this manageable.
How was the supervision?
My supervisor was hands-off. I never felt rushed or stressed out. My supervisor always stayed in the loop with our progress but left most of the decision-making up to us. This was very nice and allowed the development to be entirely co-op driven.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the co-op program, or the work?
Hunter Engineering allowed me to test drive a career path that I was unsure of at the beginning. The co-op gave me the assurance that I was pursuing the right career path, and it allowed me to learn many new technologies. The large-scale projects I contributed to will prove useful in my future experiences.