As an undergraduate student in Computer Science I know first hand that finding the right internship can be a gruelling process. And no matter how much research you do (asking friends, reading reviews online) one is always taking a bit of a gamble with your decision, knowing that ultimately you have to go with your gut.
Fortunately for me, all my worries dissipated when I joined Connected Lab, and it’s largely due to the amazing community and intellectually gifted people I get to work with here. I’m Alessio, a 2B Computer Science student from University of Waterloo, and I’m working at Connected Lab as a Software Engineering Intern.
My favourite thing about Connected so far is that they really help you learn and grow in your respective field. As a developer, my skills have grown exponentially (and in a short period of time) due to pairing with senior developers and having my code be critically reviewed live on a regular basis before pushing to the main dev branch.
Before Connected Lab, I worked as a mobile developer at TD. So when I got to Connected, I mentioned in the interview process that I explicitly wanted to explore different technologies to see the type of developer I’d like to become. The recruiter at the time told me that to diversify my skill set I’d be allocated half mobile and half some other technology. On my first day, they honoured my request: I was thrown right onto a web team, even though I had little web experience. And now, at the time of writing this, I actually feel more confident with web than I do with mobile, despite the disparity in time allocation.
Connected truly supports the head-first approach into technology: regardless of your experience with a given tool, they throw you in and give you the breathing room to figure it out. (Like I said, there’s a really good support network of pair programming and code reviews.) And they don’t just put you in the corner: as an intern at Connected Lab you get to work on core features and projects for big clients, not just intern-only or “small-time” work. You get the same treatment (and are held to the same standard) as everyone else.
At Connected Lab, hiring practices revolve around finding individuals interested in developing new skills and refining their tools. As a result, they have built a community of smart, inquisitive individuals that both want to help others grow and are humble enough to receive help too, even from someone technically less experienced.
Socially, you’ll always find people hanging out at lunch or after work, and with weekly “socials,” you’re bound to make friends (there’s even a house system, like Harry Potter). One of my favourite benefits here at Connected is the snacks. I probably shouldn’t mention this, but privileges are definitely being abused (I take a cliff bar and veggie straws at least once a day). There’s also tons of opportunities to get free food, whether at the weekly roundtable discussion group (free lunch), “lunch and learns” (free lunch), socials (free dinner), and community meetup events (free dinner).
Not only that, but there’s a Slack bot called Donut Friends that matches random employees together to go out for coffee during work if they want to (also paid for). There’s a games area with Super Smash Bros Melee, PS4, Wii U, Pool, Darts and Ping Pong. Even as a coop, you feel like a full-timer with all these benefits.
Overall, my experience at Connected Lab allowed me to grow confidence in being a developer. As pair programming is the norm here, you’re constantly showing your work to another developer with more experience than you. This may sound scary at first, but you get used to it fast and then it’s second-hand. I feel like this alone will help me in future interviews where I’ll be able to code live and express my thoughts clearly and confidently to the interviewers. Between speaking to clients and demoing your project updates twice a week, there’s no shortage of opportunities to build your communication skills.
If you’re serious about evolving your skillset as a developer and a communicator, Connected Lab is a company you should seriously consider.