Finding a sense of direction through co-op

Image of Everett smiling for a photoEverett Zhang, a second-year Honours Math student, interested in pursuing a major in Computational Mathematics, gives us a little insight into his very first co-op experience and how it has helped him boost his confidence! 

For Everett’s first co-op term he worked as a Junior Full Stack Developer at Perch. During his time with the company, Everett helped with rebranding the company website, which linked to the majority of his work during the term.

“I got to work on rebranding the company website and learned a lot more about web development and structures," says Everett. "The rebrand was a key project since it included a name change, a new brand and impacted all of the company’s marketing material.” Fun fact, he actually helped change the company name to what it is today, “Perch”. Near the end of his co-op term, Everett spent his time working on a research project, searching for an e-signature provider that was both affordable and suitable for the company.

How do you think working at Perch has helped you develop yourself?

“When I first started working with them, I was really nervous, and I wasn’t really as good at communicating effectively in a workplace environment. During the work term, everyone was really friendly to me and some would reach out to me and say “hi”. It really built my confidence and how I communicate professionally. At the end of the term, I gained feedback from the CEO and from the principal engineer They told me what I can improve on and what I could be doing in the future.” Everett also says, “In the beginning, I was kind of shy to ask questions. At the end, I was asking many more [questions] than I would in the beginning.” 

What were some of the highlights of your job?

“The projects I did. In addition, it is especially exciting to see how the company functions as well as to see how the company changes during the four months period.”

Everett posing for a photo in front of the University of Waterloo Mathematics building


Everett posing for a photo on the University of Waterloo campus

How did working at Perch help you with your technical skills?

“At the beginning of the term, I didn’t know at all what they were using. It's called “Angular”, which I'd heard of, but never really did any projects on it. They were using it a lot, so during the term I was slowly doing some small projects on Angular, and now I feel that I’m pretty confident with using it, even for future uses.”


“The most challenging part about co-op is to learn and pick up things really quickly because, most likely, you are not going to know every technology the company is using, and that is also what I find most rewarding.” 


What’s next for Everett? 

Everett is currently on a study term and is learning C++, a programming language. He is also interested in learning more about artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics on his own time. Alongside school and projects, Everett has also been applying to jobs for his second co-op term coming up this winter!

“For my future work terms, I want to explore different areas of the industry to see which one I like the most so that I can actually have a sense of direction for what I’m doing after my undergraduate degree.”

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