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Tanner May (January 2020 – August 2020)

Name: Tanner May
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Major: Computer Science
Co-op period: January 2020 – August 2020

Co-op Experience

What was the interview process like?

After meeting with Dave Voeller at the Missouri S&T career fair, he contacted me to set up an interview the next day on the Missouri S&T campus. The interview itself was very laid back which helped calm the nerves a little bit.


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.

I worked on research/experimental projects, so a lot of my work was reading documentation for the various libraries we were using. After implementing a new feature, I would do extensive testing and documentation on how the new feature works and the results. This isn’t to say there wasn’t much programming, because there was quite a bit, but the work wasn’t solely programming. Most everything I learned will not be taught in school since a lot of it relates to specific libraries or workflows. What is taught, though, is the problem-solving techniques that are required to get the desired results.


What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?

I think the most useful experience was seeing how development works in a research environment. The experience of creating documentation that is useful to other research projects later on is very valuable and can be applied to many different situations.


How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?

This experience showed me that I enjoy the research style of development and that I should pursue a position of that type in the future.


How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?

Previously, the only projects I had to showcase to employers was club contributions or personal projects, but now I can show multiple project that use many cutting edge technologies in computer science.


What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?

My favorite part of the work was that I was not micro-managed. I could design and modify the project how I wanted and research the features that I thought would be the most beneficial, instead of having to follow a rigid roadmap.


What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?

I did not enjoy the lack of a code style sheet because there wasn’t a constant structure to code or documentation when switching between projects.


Did you learn anything?

I learned a lot about Tensorflow and OpenCV, two libraries that are used extensively in the machine learning field.


What was the dress code?

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the dress code was relaxed from khakis/dress pants and a collared shirt to jeans and 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?

Since there were two co-ops in the R&D department and two major projects to work on, I worked alone after the first month or so. Most other projects I have worked on have been group projects.


What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)

I have lived in St. Louis for my whole life, except for when moving to Rolla for school. St. Louis offers a lot of interesting and fun places to visit when you are looking for something to do (like the City Museum!)


What were your living arrangements during co-op?  This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.

I lived with family.


How was the supervision?

Dave was very hands off and let me do my own thing, he didn’t really mind what I was doing as long as I was making progress on my project. He would occasionally offer tips and advice which was nice when stuck.


Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?

I really enjoyed this co-op experience and really value the experience that I got while I was here.

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