By: Krista Henry (she/her)

Waterloo co-op students play an integral role in the growth of this cybersecurity company.

As one of the fastest-growing companies in North America, Arctic Wolf needed to build a talent pack to help reach their goals. The startup relies on talent from Waterloo to help it become a market leader in security operations.

Arctic Wolf provides security operations solutions to help organizations end cyber risk. A startup with roots in Waterloo, the company is now a well-known tech unicorn that has reached multi-billion-dollar valuation. Co-founded by Waterloo alum Kim Tremblay (BMath ’84), Arctic Wolf has hired co-op students since its early days.

Hayley Stuckel

Hayley Stuckel
Senior manager for university recruiting at Arctic Wolf

“We’ve been in rapid growth mode over the last several years,” says Hayley Stuckel (she/her), senior manager for university recruiting at Arctic Wolf.

“Co-op students have really become part of our team, learning as well as delivering high-quality work to help us achieve our goals. Because of how quickly we were growing, we saw co-op students as bringing in new and innovative ideas while helping us grow in our work.”

The company calls their co-op program the "arctic expedition intern program" and around 70 per cent of co-op students are from the University of Waterloo.

The company hires students from a variety of academic programs including Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Nanotechnology Engineering and Combinatorics and Optimization programs.

Students work in roles such as software developer, threat intelligence researcher, UX designer co-op, product manager co-op and technical writers.

Building a talent pack

Arctic Wolf believes in offering exciting intern opportunities and treats students like regular team members. From their start at the company, students go through “pack prep,” an on-boarding experience that gives them a deep dive into the workplace culture at Arctic Wolf. The company sees countless benefits to having students on board.

“Students are a great resource to our team,” says Stuckel. “They're excited about learning, willing to take risks, and ask some amazing questions. They are not just an extra set of eyes or hands but truly are contributing to real work.”

Waterloo students work on day-to-day tasks that help to accomplish the goals of the team as well as larger-scale projects. For example, co-op students worked on a project to create an introductory training module about how to develop code in JavaScript and React. Other co-op student work includes things like adding functionality to programs, improving test coverage and building a proof-of-concept capability to deploy a behavioral threat detection model.

Over the last six years, the caliber of technical skills Waterloo students bring has been tremendous. Many of our managers say when you look at the work of a Waterloo student you would never tell they weren’t a full-time employee. That says a lot.

HAYLEY STUCKEL, Senior manager for university recruiting at Arctic Wolf

Big impacts gained from emerging talent

Stuckel also sees the impact students can have on the company’s aspiring leaders. Students provide Arctic Wolf team members with an opportunity to develop leadership skills, to teach and to learn from each other.

“Students bring fresh ideas and an energy to the company that’s not easily replicated. If you have the resources and time to spend with your co-ops, you can do quality work together,” says Stuckel.

Currently, Arctic Wolf is looking to expand its student hiring beyond mainly technical roles to offer roles in other departments. The company sees many students return for multiple terms to work on different projects or teams.

“Seeing students return is nice, it gives them different insight into what we do as an organization, so they aren’t seeing only one piece of the puzzle. They also ramp up really quickly and gain new skills. They can then consider if this is a good place for them to consider after graduation,” adds Stuckel.