Posted by: idm04 | 2015/09/20

September 20th, 2015 – On co-op

It’s been a while… (do I say this every time I post?)

So, over the summer I finished a bunch of courses (CPSC 221, 213, 304) and secured a co-op placement for the fall, which I’m currently working at. I wish I’d worked on more personal projects before applying for co-op jobs, and done some technical questions practice — I think it would have helped me be more competitive when looking for jobs.

I also wish I’d done more stuff like badminton/basketball, online courses, personal projects… in second term of the summer, I only had school twice a week; I don’t even remember what I did in my abundant spare time. Feels like I have so little time now since I’ve switched from that to a 9 – 5 ish work schedule, five days a week.

Anyway, I started my co-op term in the first week of September, commuting to downtown. The company is doing really well, my supervisors are really nice, and I’m finding most of the work interesting so far. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of coding in this position… so I’ll have to work on stuff on my own time to practice coding ;_;

Is it just me or does it seem like UBC admitted way too many people this year? I heard CPSC 110 had over 300 people on the waiting list, and there are some first year CS students who aren’t gonna take any CS courses this entire year because they can’t get in, even through the waitlist. Similarly with GRSJ. Also heard a couple first year Engineering students got kicked out of their STTs because they didn’t have enough space in them and didn’t realize until later…

In other news, I’ve been playing badminton once a week in Richmond, and need to find more people around my skill level… anyone here play?




  1. Hi,
    Thanks for your blog. It was so helpful for me. I am currently in my second year cpsc major. I was wondering how hard is it to get into co-op? and what tips would you give me to improve my chances? Thank you so much.

    • Hi James,

      Glad you found the blog helpful.

      Most people get into co-op. The acceptance rate in Computer Science is something like 95%. The people who don’t get in are people who have bad communication or who have poor grades (C or lower average). You will be asked typical interview questions like tell me about yourself, why you want to join co-op, whether you’re willing to relocate for a job (they prefer students who do), tell me about a time when you faced a challenge, etc.

      If you get into co-op, you will then undergo training for a term and start finding jobs the next term or so. In order to better compete for jobs, you should focus on your personal projects and put them on Github and resume. Alternatively, hackathons are good to have on your resume and take less time than personal projects.

      Please let me know if you have further questions.

  2. Kudos to you for keeping at this blogging thing, I’ve turned into a quarter year update blogger..and now I’ve gone on from UBC..but I make sure to respond to comments on a frequent basis! :P

    • Haha I’ve also become something like a quarter year update blogger too… pretty much only blog once or twice a term. I wouldn’t see myself blogging much at all once I start working permanently. How’s post-graduation life? :P

      • Once you’ve left UBC, things feel a bit distant, and makes you feel like you’re becoming out of touch with everything to keep blogging about it – at least that’s how I feel haha. Post-grad life is good, pseudo-relaxing ish, but still busy. Had a research assistant position at UBC for the summer. Doing professional school in the new year (currently keeping that under wraps from the blog, for the time being at least), but prep for that is keeping me on my toes!

        • If you do post about your upcoming school in the future, I look forward to reading about it :)

  3. Hey Idm04! I was wondering – why did you mention that you wish you had done more projects and more technical practice? Does this allow for better opportunities directly in co op? Were you hoping to get a better position or cs related work instead of the one you have right now? Thanks!

    • Hi there — yes, personal projects are important for being competitive in co-op/internship job search. Students who are new to co-op don’t have any work experience, so all of their CS experience comes from either school projects or personal projects.

      However, everyone does school projects (they’re mandatory), so what really sets someone apart from another is what they do in their spare time — working on personal projects, doing hackathons, contributing to open source projects etc. Not only can these things be impressive, but you’ll learn a lot by doing them (that you won’t ever learn in school) and those new technical skills or languages can be put on your resume, and puts you far ahead of students who don’t do anything.

      I can’t go into details, but I really enjoyed coding in my course work and I’m not doing much of that at my current job. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy my job though — I do, but I’ll be looking for something different for my next co-op.

      • Thanks for the reply. I too wish to do a type of job where I’m mainly coding, and really jumping into the fire, so to speak. Would you suggest a specific field(s) where more coding is involved, perhaps one that you’re going to be looking for in the next co-op?

        • Hey there. Any position that has ‘developer’ or ‘engineer’ in the title should have programming-related tasks. Anything else will not necessarily have a lot of coding, if at all. What year are you in? Are you in co-op already? Make sure to work on a personal project or do hackathons. You’ll want to be at least mostly done by the time you start applying for jobs. If you do, you will be in a good position to get a dev co-op.

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