ThoughtWire hires a new group of interns every term, providing opportunities for learning, collaboration, and professional development. This summer, ThoughtWire had the pleasure of working alongside eight students from Seneca College, McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Waterloo. These individuals brought great value to TW’s technical services group, development, customer success, and marketing teams.In part 2 of our summer internship experience series, we hear from Niko Topaloglou-Mundy from team Hub, Stephen Edwards from the pipeline team, and Angelo Lao from team CC.
What is/are the top skill(s) you’ve learned while working at ThoughtWire?
Niko: The top skill I’ve learned while working at ThoughtWire is how to apply my existing knowledge in a professional environment, using various tools such as git, subversion, maven, etc.
Stephen: I have developed skills working with modern deployment orchestration tools and technologies. I also had many opportunities to collaborate with other teams within ThoughtWire, helping to build my communication skills.
Angelo: From a technical standpoint, I’m pleased to have learned more about testing methods; using and developing performance testing software such as JMeter; as well as developing and testing a microservice using Java Spring. Through a seminar, I was also able to learn skills and best practices related to working from home.
What was your favourite part of your job?
Niko: My favourite part of my job was once I got the ball rolling on a project or task and I had a good plan to approach it. This is when I could finally zone in and grind it out.
Stephen: I enjoyed solving difficult problems, both technical and architectural in nature. I was given many opportunities to do research and help construct patterns that would be used well into the future, which provided me with a real sense of value.
Angelo: My favourite part of the job was being able to challenge myself by working with new technologies, then developing my skills with the support of a very experienced and friendly team. I’m quite pleased with the amount that I’ve learned this work term!
What was/were your favourite moment(s) from your co-op term?
Niko: My favourite moments from my co-op term were when I got to collaborate with my peers, everyone has so much knowledge to offer, and I got to learn from them.
Stephen: I always looked forward to the weekly chat with all the interns. Especially during quarantine when social interaction was limited, those meetups were a nice opportunity to interact with other students.
Angelo: My favourite moments from the co-op term were the Culture Club events; it was really fun getting to know one another over games like Settlers of Catan or competitions like an online scavenger hunt! I’m glad that despite the pandemic separating us all physically, I got the opportunity to connect with the ThoughtWire team. I also enjoyed having virtual meet-ups with the other co-op students; this term I was looking forward to connecting with other co-op students, since I never got the opportunity to do so at my other work terms.
What advice would you give to future co-op students?
Niko: Try to go headfirst into the co-op and don't be shy. The first month for me was a little quiet because I hadn’t really come out of my comfort zone yet.
Stephen: ThoughtWire is full of kind and very knowledgeable people. Get to know as many of them as you can!
Angelo: To future co-op students, I would say several things. First, don’t be afraid to work with technology you’re unfamiliar with - everyone was a learner once, so dig deep and get confused! There are people who have been there before and can answer your questions. Second, be patient with yourself. Especially when everyone is separated, like during this pandemic, learning becomes more self-directed and can take a lot of reading and experimentation. No one becomes an expert in a day, so be willing to admit holes in your knowledge and use these as starting points for questions to your team members or for your investigation.
What was your experience as an intern during the current situation (COVID-19)?
Niko: Very strange, you really have to get into a routine so that you can focus and get your work done. There are lots of potential distractions like family, quick runs to the fridge, coffee refuelling, and of course myself...
Stephen: As an intern, it is inevitable that many unknowns will arise very quickly (especially at the beginning of the term), and addressing them from home can be more of a challenge. Sending a stream of questions over Slack can definitely feel like more of an imposition than turning your chair for a short conversation in the office. Internships are meant to serve in part as learning experiences, and in my opinion, social isolation makes learning more difficult.
Angelo: Before this term, I had only worked from home two or three times in total. This term has been a very valuable experience in learning how to do that properly (one which I’ll make use of very soon, considering my school term is online). However, I still find an office a more comfortable working environment, because it’s very easy to focus, ask for help and connect with people.
Honestly, I was pretty disappointed that I wasn’t able to be there in person with everyone. One of my friends worked at ThoughtWire before, and they told me how much fun they had. Also, by sheer luck, one of my earliest university friends got a co-op placement at the company as well, so I was excited to see him again. But despite these things, I think the ThoughtWire team has been very welcoming to its newcomers during these difficult times. Like I mentioned before, there were still fun events planned by the Culture Club, and the other co-ops and I were still able to connect. My team was extremely patient and helpful in answering my never-ending stream of questions; they were always willing to answer my messages throughout the day or hop on a voice call to make sure I understood. Additionally, the onboarding process was fairly easy to go through remotely - at other companies I’ve worked at, getting set up was a long ordeal, even when working in-office! Overall, I think ThoughtWire has outdone themselves in accommodating us new people during this challenging time. I’m super grateful that they gave me a valuable and fun work term!
If you are interested in joining our team, please check out our career page.