My experience as a Co-op Software Developer at Bold
I’m Nicoli, a Co-op Software Developer at Bold! Originally from Brazil, I’m a fourth year computer science student at the University of Manitoba and was delighted to be able to do my final co-op term at Bold. I work primarily on the Checkout Core Team and spend my days learning new things from my fellow Builders. In my spare time I foster pets for the Winnipeg Humane Society; currently a momma cat and her four kittens have taken up residence in my home. I have also worked as an event coordinator for the Women in Computer Science student group at the university. The group helps promotes gender diversity in the computer science field.
Keep reading to learn what my co-op term at Bold was like, and how I learned that it’s never too late to make a career change.
I came to Winnipeg in 2018 to pursue a second degree in computer science. If you can believe this, my first degree was in physics engineering; yes, that means I am a literal rocket scientist. I fell in love with physics because it’s the observation and understanding of the world around us, translated into the language of the universe — math.
My first internship in college was working as a data analyst and in this role, I had the opportunity to work with programming for the first time. I was captivated by reading code written by someone else; it made me feel the same way I feel when I look at an art piece: complete appreciation and intrigue for how it was created. From this point on, I knew my fate was sealed. Programmers are also artisans with writing code and my choice to change career paths was made. Now I just had to figure out how to make it happen.
That’s when Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba came into the picture. The university has an excellent computer science program and Winnipeg is a great city. It feels like a small-town, but has everything my husband and I could ever need. The “Friendly Manitoba” slogan made the decision to move here a no-brainer, but of course, the cold was a challenge for two people from the tropics. Our first Christmas was an adventure. It was the first time we experienced -40°C weather, and we were naive to think we could walk four blocks to a party; we learned to respect the cold very fast.
I was instantly attracted to Bold’s culture and values, specifically the BUILDERS Code, which resonated profoundly with me. School can be a bit lonely for computer science students as our chances to collaborate in class are limited; to come to such a collaborative, mature, and respectful environment made me very eager to join the team.
During my placement I’ve had the opportunity to work with PHP in an event-based architecture, learning and working on middlewares and webhooks. I was also able to dig into our bigquery data to analyze inconsistencies in our numbers and support our Data Team.
Since my first day at Bold, everybody has been very kind and supportive. Working with the Checkout Suite has been a challenge because I’ve never worked with such a large and complex codebase. I’ve been grateful to have a team supporting me every step of the way. When I started, I was paired up with a Builder and he has been incredibly helpful and patient with me throughout my time at Bold. I also feel very included and heard in the larger team. For example, one of the suggestions I brought forward in our team retro was taken into consideration and actioned the following week. We still use it almost weekly, making me feel like my opinions are truly valued, and I'm not just a co-op student, but an integral part of the team.
A typical day for me starts bright and early with feeding my foster kittens, getting ready for work, making some Lady Grey Tea, and heading to my computer to get started. Every day our team has a stand-up to get our priorities aligned for the day ahead. After this, I spend my time analyzing my tickets, reviewing merge requests, and looking up all the things I still need to learn about our architecture.
Around lunch time I check on my feline residents and take a break from the screen. In the afternoons we sometimes have meetings depending on what is going on that week and on Thursdays, we have a team building event where we have some fun together!
At the end of the day I make a new entry in my work notebook to plan my work for the next day; this sets me up for success and also helps me to remember any meetings I might have so I can be prepared.
After work I feed the kittens (again), prepare dinner with my family, and work on one of my hobbies, either my vegetable garden or my sewing projects. Sometimes I read on the couch, preferably with a cat beside me while my husband plays video games.
Throughout my time at Bold, my team has had my back every step of the way. They lift me up and help me learn so I can grow as a developer. This co-op term has felt so short because there's so much to learn about our Checkout Suite and Bold. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface!
I am really excited that this is my final co-op term, because I have been invited to stay on with Bold as a full-time Software Developer after I graduate — I could not be happier!
Something I learned in the last few years is to never be afraid to make a big career change; If you have the conviction, the hurdles and uncertainty will all be worth it.
If you’re interested in a co-op term at Bold, I recommend you get involved in school groups such as Women in Computer Science, Computer Science Students’ Association, and devClub offered at the University of Manitoba. Hackathons, the Mentor Mingle, and the panels are all initiatives offered to help students prepare for their co-op placements. Participating in these opportunities will help you shine brighter in interviews and during your co-op term.
I am so excited to be staying at Bold and can’t wait to see what the future has in store!