Software Engineering 2021

Jennifer Wills

Hi! My name is Jennifer and I’m a 4A Software Engineering student (graduating in spring 2021).

Waterloo Engineering in one word: 

Friendships

I choose Waterloo Engineering because:

I chose UWaterloo Engineering because of the amazing coop program and the opportunities that come with it, as well as the cohort program. We have a cohort of around 120 first year students, and take all of our classes together for the first few years before we start diverging due to the different electives we all end up taking. It is a great way to meet people and forge friendships, when everyone is taking the same courses and can form study groups.

The best thing about my program is:

The people! The advising office staff are quite involved and welcoming to students, and of course the students I go to school with have similar interests as me and you most likely have something in common with everyone in the class. 

The courses and the material are great too. Lower year courses are more foundational, but I’ve really been enjoying the 3rd and 4rd year content. Concurrency, computer architecture, security, databases, they’re all super useful outside of the classroom. It has also helped me grow as a student and a developer. 

About my Co-op experience:

I’ve had internships as a QA automation developer at a startup, shell script developer at a bank, full stack developer at a startup in Ottawa, and then more recently as a software developer at Wayfair and a backend developer at Shopify. It has been an awesome opportunity to meet many different people, and work at different sized companies in parts of the tech sector. And it is fun, and a little exhilarating, to move to a different city, and even a different country, for 4 months and just take some time to explore, and meet other coop students.

I definitely recommend trying a little of everything when looking for coop positions that excite you, especially if you like learning. The best coops I had were ones where I got to learn most of the technologies on the job, vs applying skills I already had.

I wish I had known before I came:

I wish I had looked deeper into the upper year courses and was able to better plan which electives I wanted to take. In SE we can take any courses in the Computer Science (CS) and the Electrical/Computer Engineering (ECE) departments, which can add up to a lot of electives to narrow down which ones you want to take. Like with high school, you need to take some courses as prerequisites for other courses, so it is good to plan ahead and be aware you need to take this math course before you can take that graphics course.

Outside the classroom, I’m involved with:

The Software Engineering Society (SESoc) as a cofounder and I was VP Communications for the last few years, managing the society’s email account, Facebook page and developing our website (sesoc.uwaterloo.ca).

Engineering Ambassadors

A fun project I’ve completed:

The SESoc website!! (sesoc.uwaterloo.ca)

We all worked hard this summer to pull together our website, and it was a great exercise in web development and project management. I got to spend some more time learning React, and working with students outside of my cohort.

One more thing about me:

I like Bouldering. I got into it in the last few years over coop terms and is a fun way to exercise and hangout with friends.

Contact me: jgwills@uwaterloo.ca

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo