It’s Official, I am leaving Waterloo for a co-op term for the first time in over three years. As many of the people who frequent this blog already know, I am a student at the University of Waterloo, studying Computer Engineering which means automatic co-op. I have been in school for a while now which means I have had my fair share of co-op placements.
My very first one 4 months out of school was in Waterloo at Agfa Healthcare which saw me doing tech support for their 250 employees.
I then got an 8 month position at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension plan in North York, working on their investment network team. This was the only time I ever ventured outside of Waterloo for my Co-op, and since it was still a vans drive away, I was able to bring all of my stuff.
After the OTPP I got my “in” at Research In Motion doing software testing for the BlackBerry. RIM is a huge employer of co-op students and it is very rare that someone in Computer Engineering dosen’t end up working there at some point. I went from software testing to field testing which was actually pretty cool. It was more or less ensuring that the radio performance of the BlackBerry was adequate in the field which meant that we had to go in the field. I did a lot of travelling that term going to such places as Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Kansas City. This job was pretty cool but still did not challenge me at all. Due to my awesome academic performance, I was unable to directly apply for my next co-op position right away and had to wait a little bit before trying to find another job.
Fortunately RIM was there to provide me with another cool job on the Camera Hardware team. One of my friends who graduated in 2009 is a full time on this team and set me up with an interview because my photography experience mixed with my knowledge of RIM processes made me a good candidate for the job. I ended up getting the the position which had me sty in Waterloo for another term. As the term went on, people started to realize my skills and when deadlines were looming my manager and the director felt that I was the one with the most knowledge on the current issues being faced and that it would be beneficial for me to go to France. You can read more about it here (http://blog.michaelseliske.com/?p=156) I agreed to come back for my next 4 month co-op term and learned even more about the imaging community.
During my second term at RIM, I attended an information session for Aptina Imaging which is a supplier of image sensors. I brought my resume for kicks and ended up getting a call for an interview the next day. The interview went very well and it turns out that one of my other 2009 grad friends works there now and said he would keep me updated on how things go. The major problem with Aptina is that they have never had interns and even though they are developing an internship program, weren’t sure if it would be ready for September when I would need to start work.
As soon as the school term started up again and it was time to start looking for a new job, Aptina was the first place I contacted. They still weren’t sure and said to keep looking for something else. The posting on our school site weren’t really what I was looking for, as they didn’t really have any imaging jobs, so I had to try and get my own job. Fortunately technology is amazing and can do wonders in keeping people connected as I was contacted by Apple to see if I was interested in interviewing for a job on their Camera team. I had a bunch of phone interviews with managers in different departments within Apple’s camera team and felt more like they were interviews to figure out where I would fit in on the team and less on if I should get the job. The interviews gave me a lot of confidence in myself and my skills and got me really excited about the possibility of working there.
The next month or so was painful as I had not heard back from them and it got me a little worried. Finally after a few check of emails, the word came saying the approvals had come through and that we would be taking the next steps towards an offer. After finishing a background check, the shiny offer package arrived in the mail. Since the process took a little bit longer then expected, I need to rush a little bit to get my Visa application in order etc but I am now sure that I will be leaving Waterloo and heading down to California for the Fall term.
This is the first time I’ve ever had to pack my life into suitcases and so it is a little bit worrisome. Thankfully I am living in the same place until graduation so I can pack up my excess stuff and throw it in the basement. Other then the Visa application, everything kind of just fell into place. A few hours after I posted to facebook that I needed a subletter, I had a subletter. A few hours after I posted to facebook that my offer was official, I had another 2009 grad contact me about living arrangements which are now finalized.
The closer next term comes, the more excited I get about working at Apple and getting to experience a place other than Waterloo. From a photographic standpoint Waterloo doesn’t have any more for fun value in it so the change of scenery will help rekindle my “photography for fun” state of mind. I have heard a lot about working in the Silicon Valley and am really looking forward to being in the heart of the consumer electronics boom and adding my two cents into it’s development.
I kinda got a little more detailed into my previous co-ops then expected, so hopefully this hasn’t been too boring.