Working in a Start up Environment
I just wrapped up my last co-op term of my university career at the University of Waterloo. Working at TrustPoint Innovation Technologies gave me my first experience in a start-up culture. It was definitely different than any of my other co-op experiences, with its own unique lessons and challenges.
The start-up culture is very fast paced and transitional. There was no fixed role as a software developer. Everyone on the software development team has to work on several projects and has to be flexible enough to switch roles based on the company's needs. It requires using a variety of skills to work on everything from embedded development to designing web interfaces for web clients.
It's the type of environment where everyone has to keep an open mind, be adaptive and learn new technologies very quickly. Sometimes you're using brand new technologies with little support available. You have to roll with what's happening in the moment.
The start-up environment comes with its own challenges too. If you're used to being directed in your day-to-day activity, it takes time to get used to not always having direction on what to work on next. It was difficult at times to adapt to choosing the projects I'd work on.
I also struggled with learning to work with a new technology. NFC was completely new to me. The learning curve was quite steep. I think I spent more time actually learning about the technology than developing for it.
I gained experience working with these many tools because of the start-up culture at TrustPoint Innovation. In a start-up, learning new technologies is a given so that you can make a meaningful contribution.
I've come away from my TrustPoint Innovation co-op term with new skills that have made me a better software developer. I've also learned to be more adaptive to the start-up environment. I have also learned that software developers need to keep an open mind, be flexible and be motivated to innovate new ideas.