Each semester, ThoughtWire has the honour of welcoming a new group of interns, offering opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, career development, and leadership growth.
For this fall term, we have five students from the University of Waterloo and one from Seneca College. These young professionals, and the work they did throughout the term, benefit not only their prospective teams but also the entire ThoughtWire Corporation.
Allow us to introduce our fellow interns featured in our Fall 2021 Intern Experience series. Lucy Fountain, a Business Analyst Intern and Sharon Ma, a Customer Success Intern from the Product Management team. Sunil Cotterill and Rachel Li, a Software Engineer Interns from the Development team. Lyon Lai, a Customer Success Intern from the Customer Success team. Finally, Sonia Ismail, the Marketing Assistant from the Marketing team.
What are the top skills you’ve learned while working at ThoughtWire?
Lucy: Learning how to scale an organization is something I’ve never experienced before. Many things go into scaling an organization. First, you’ve got to hire lots of people and develop a solid strategy to determine where and how to do business in the future. On the Strategic Initiatives team, I enhanced my strategy, problem-solving, and project management skills, vital components in my role. Collaboration was a big part of my job while I worked with the leadership team and came up with ideas to better the company.
Sharon: One of the top skills while working at ThoughtWire is written and verbal communication. I learned how to get my point across clearly and share my ideas while listening and respecting others’ perspectives.
Sunil: Being part of an agile development team has been tremendous; that’s been big for me. Getting the experience working in a development team has allowed me to write new codes, get reviews, do fixes, improve codes, complete stories, and merge PRs are all very fundamental. So it’s been very significant. Also, I’ve improved my developmental skills as I’ve worked in Microsoft Azure which I hadn’t before, which was interesting. I write a lot of code, and the feedback has been great. I’ve learned so much.
Rachel: Some of the top skills I’ve learned while working at ThoughtWire are my technical skills. There are many applications I haven’t used before, such as React and Redox for web development and framework. I also learnt how to use Data script, the language in coding. Finally, I learnt how to communicate bugs and errors through communication channels with my team.
Lyon: While working at ThoughtWire, one of the skills I’ve learned is my agile/project management skills and how to use project management software in a corporate environment. As a Customer Success Intern, I learnt how to communicate with employees efficiently and solve their problems through writing and recording tutorial documents. I also trained new employees with onboarding sessions and effectively used the ThoughtWire platform. I also developed interpersonal skills and enhanced my teamwork skills by keeping ongoing communication with the internal support team and updating them on employee matters.
Sonia: Managing multiple timeframes and duties during my tenure at ThoughtWire forced me to be diligent and detail-oriented. Also, I’ve developed agile/project management skills and enhanced my interpersonal skills by staying in touch with my team regularly.
What was your favourite part of your job?
Lucy: My favourite part of my job was the people I worked with. For example, senior leadership is willing to make time to teach or help you on topics of interest or curiosity. For instance, Craig Backman, the Chief Operating Officer, regularly took time out of his day to teach me new concepts and apply those in the workplace, like writing a sales pitch. In addition, the leadership team guided me, and it was beneficial to hear their insightful viewpoints and feedback on ThoughtWire’s operations.
Sharon: I like how I was able to work on tasks on both my team's data and product side. It’s precious for me because I got the opportunity to experience and expand my horizons a bit more.
Sunil: At ThoughtWire, there’s always something to do with the team. It’s never like I’m running out of tasks or bored, and I enjoy it. Also, I’ve been able to reach out to everyone on the team, and it’s teaching me to talk and communicate with a bunch of people. Everyone on the team is super friendly, supportive, and understanding. It’s nice because anyone is ready to help you when you need something quickly. It’s a very collaborative environment.
Rachel: My favourite part of my job is the people I work with. My team consists of Brian Mouallem, the Senior Software Engineer, and Umar Abdulselam, the Software Engineer. They are both very friendly and easy to reach for help or any blockers that come my way. I love how my work is well-balanced between independent and collaborative environments.
Lyon: One of my favourite parts of my role is the environment. The environment at ThoughtWire is very collaborative, and everyone on the team is friendly and understanding. In my role, I like writing how-to articles and documentaries to employees to showcase various issues and provide the correct solutions. It’s a great experience to see how to resolve real-life IT issues and provide support for other team members.
Sonia: As a Marketing Assistant, I loved the diversity of work and impactful projects I could perform. I contributed to various high-impact digital marketing campaigns, content creation, copywriting, graphic design, blogs, competitive research, and many other responsibilities. Every day, I was able to work on a variety of tasks, wearing multiple hats in my role. The evolution of ThoughtWire’s branding approaches always kept me intrigued and motivated to learn and go beyond.
What were your favourite moments from your co-op term?
Lucy: I enjoyed the first few minutes of every meeting where you get the opportunity to chat and catch up with people, asking questions as simple as what they did on the weekend, talking about what national holiday it is, etc. I loved talking to people, and it was really helpful to connect to my coworkers, even virtually. The environment is very interactive and connected.
Sharon: I enjoyed having one-on-ones with both of my managers at the end of the week. It was refreshing to have some casual conversation with them during the pandemic, and I was able to get some helpful advice.
Sunil: One of the things I worked on for dev ops was with the Microsoft Azure cloud, which I’ve never worked on before. It’s a critical skill to have these days, and so many places are looking for this skill. It's been great working with other engineers such as Junaid Charaniya, the DevOps Engineer. He understands me and broadens my horizon. Also, my manager, David Faria, the Principal Software Engineer has been excellent, extremely helpful, and super patient with me, especially when I was a bit slow from the start. He’s a big helping hand and provides constructive criticism where I can recognize the areas that need improvement as a developer.
Rachel: One of my favourite moments from my co-op term was a bug I was working on. It took several weeks to figure out how to eliminate the bug. I tried everything, but then I decided to put on my thinking cap, removing the hidden coding lines. Finally, the bug got fixed, and it was a massive sigh of relief. This experience taught me to be patient and resilient and not give up when in a difficult situation, even if you can’t identify the problem right away. I’ve also got my hands on other projects where I can shift everything on the front end from the archaic language and switch to the new framework, and it’s something I enjoy. I love to get my hands ready to fix more bugs and issues on the platform.
Lyon: A while back, our Customer Success team was pushing forward a 2-factor authentication for ThoughtWire’s Google app attached to the back end. I was given the task of creating a document to show how to set up 2-factor authentication. This responsibility took forever to accomplish. However, by the end of the week, I felt I had contributed something tangible and meaningful to me.
Sonia: I love morning stand-ups with my team when we’d speak about national day and explode into laughter about bizarre and crazy random topics, which were one of my favourite parts of my job. Also, as a member of the Culture Committee, I was able to create holiday-themed Trivia and take part in gamification with my team members, such as Among Us. It’s such a great experience to meet new people from other departments and build a strong connection. I had the pleasure of working with such friendly folks who made working from home feel very special.
What advice would you give to future co-op students?
Lucy: I would say to get involved with any projects you can. There are a lot of interesting things happening right now at ThoughtWire, and there are so many new initiatives coming every week. If you get the chance to join in on a project, take it. Also, take the opportunity to sit in on meetings. I sat in on leadership meetings, and it has been insightful into the company's direction and how senior leadership works. As a part of these projects and meetings, I have met and connected with new people and learned new things from my knowledgeable coworkers.
Sharon: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there are any meetings or discussions you want to be part of, just go for it and ask if you can take part in them. In the end, it'll become very valuable to you.
Sunil: For my position, I would ask questions like whenever you’re stuck on something. Don’t think that your manager has a lot on their plate or that you'll look bad for asking questions. Continue to ask, ask, ask, as you learn so much more when you hit an obstacle or a roadblock along the way. Someone on the team will have some insight that you don’t see. Also, asking many questions helps to prevent any future mistakes.
Rachel: My biggest advice is don’t be too stressed. Don’t think about how the employer ranks you. You’ve got a couple of months to prove to be a good co-op student. Don’t sit there and stare at your screen. Reach out to people. Try to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you. Everyone is very supportive, and they will take the time to make sure any blockers you run into are removed. Lastly, ask more questions, even if it’s a dumb question. One question can eliminate a mistake in big projects.
Lyon: Be active. Take the incentive to learn as many skills as you can. Try to learn things on your own. For instance, in internal activities, you can obtain a lot of information and knowledge to apply down your future path. On the other hand, if you don’t take full advantage of your experience or work independently, you may risk not learning anything. That is why it is essential to believe in yourself and take action.
Sonia: To a future co-op student, I suggest being aware of your surroundings. Special events or projects can come up all the time, so take the challenge and get involved. You never know if you end up enjoying it, and it doesn’t hurt to try. ThoughtWire has exciting initiatives going on – it’s like a never-ending roller coaster. What I mean is that you are learning and getting exposure to innovative technology and higher leaders who have 10+ years of experience in your field that can provide you with great advice and life lessons. Last but not least, don’t underestimate yourself – just go for it.
We appreciate all of Lucy’s, Sharon’s, Sunil’s, Rachel’s, Lyon’s, and Sonia’s hard work and achievements over the last few months! If you’re looking for a place to collaborate, be innovative, and be inspired, look no further. We believe you will enjoy your experience here!
Visit ThoughtWire’s career page for more information at https://www.thoughtwire.com/about-thoughtwire/careers/.