Waterloo Co-op

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27 thoughts on “Waterloo Co-op

  1. Thanks for this blog post, it really helped lay things out for me! I’m most likely going into Waterloo ECE next year and coop’s been a bit of a mystery to me. I have a question though, is the 90% statistic relatively true? Were/are there a lot of people who don’t get coop placements and if not, what do they do? Thanks again, looking forward to uWaterloo!

    • Yes it is relatively true, although it accounts for jobs that may not even be related to your field. For example, some nano students end up doing QA work because there aren’t a lot of jobs available in nanotechnology yet. There is also the case where students do not find a job until late into the school term (some people do not find jobs until final exams).

      ECE employment rates are pretty decent. Just checked: 87% for 1st years in 4-stream Electrical. Compeng is 85%. So about 30 people total did not find 1st term jobs inECE.

      People who do not get jobs during the common time you are supposed to keep looking until the start of their designated co-op term, since the minimum requirement is a 3-month co-op. Sometimes, you end up having no job at all, which is fine, as you only need to complete 5 out of 6 co-op terms. I actually don’t know very many people in that situation. I guess you would just have a term off to yourself.

      It’s a situation that is not normally faced by a student that has decent marks (75+) and can hold up a good conversation with the interviewer, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  2. Hi, thanks for this very informative post!
    I just have a couple of questions. I know that at Waterloo, first year students only take introduction computer science courses, and they learn the programming language Scheme. So does that mean that if you want to find a co-op position, you will have to take the initiative to learn one of the more common programming languages (like Java or C++..) on your own time?
    Because although I took computer science in high school, and we are learning C#, we do not learn it very in depth, so I am worried that I won’t be prepared for finding my first co-op placement. What can I do to better prepare myself or increase my chances to getting a co-op job?
    And lastly, with very little experience, what types of jobs do first years usually get?

    • Hello,

      You will learn Scheme in your first term and C in your 2nd term. Yes, please take the initiative to learn Java or C++ as you will use them in future CS courses. C# is actually quite similar to Java and C++, I’m sure you can pick it up in a few days. Also, please remember that when it comes to finding a job, it’s not about knowing programming languages, it’s about your general CS knowledge and background, which you will be immersed in during your first year.

      Most first years will end up getting QA jobs or IT/helpdesk jobs (but that’s if you’re really not trying hard enough). Many people will get development roles still if they are willing to wait it out.

      Good luck!

  3. thanks for your great information!
    I’ve applied to environmental and resources studies co-op, and i am totally stressed out now, many friends and uncles told me that is not much job available for this field. AND i want to work in my home country, Hong Kong. It sounds more hardly to find a co-op now..so is there any places or websites you recommend to find co-ops in different countries? And is there really not much jobs for environmental stuff?

    • Hi there, I do not know of anyone in that program. I do know of someone in Earth Sciences and she is working for the government on water and Sewer services. She seems to be doing okay with finding jobs.

      There are a various jobs available for those under the ENV faculty – some examples are research, Field and Lab Technician, Outdoor Education Intern, Landscape Crew Member,Water Operations Assistant, Environmental Health & Safety. I’m actually looking through our Jobmine system for this information (only accessible to current students). There seems to be a lot of opportunities in Alberta and Toronto, but it is not common to have opportunities abroad. You can definitely set up your own internship as well.

      I am not too familiar with your field so I cannot recommend you any websites, sorry :S You should be a little more open to jobs in southern Ontario for your first few co-op terms though, since I am guessing you don’t have any current relevant experience.

      I also can’t really say if there are an abundant amount of environment jobs because this isn’t a good time for me to be checking (normally 3 weeks into the term is when job searching begins for the following term). I think the amount of co-op jobs available for ENV isn’t too bad, considering that it’s such an important part of our current society right now.

      Good luck with everything, if you have further questions you can reply to me here :)

      • Hey, just wondering how the opportunities for co-op are for students entering ChemEng.

        • Hi there, really sorry for the late reply. The job application system for our school isn’t available all of the time and it never lined up to when I checked these blog comments.

          So I glanced through some ChemEng jobs and here’s just a small list of the typical Chem Eng jobs:
          -Lab Technician
          -Cell Analysis
          -Food Technologist
          -Process Engineering
          -Metallurgical Laboratory Technologist
          -Water and Wastewater Planning Student
          -Biotechology Intern
          -Validation Specialist
          -Researcher, Membrane Technology Development

          The opportunities are not as abundant as hardware/software jobs, but there are definitely a good variety – mostly in Southern Ontario, and a couple in Quebec as well.

  4. Hi, I just got into systems design engineering at waterloo, and i am kinda wondering how hard or how easy it is to get a first term co-op job. Do you need to have any experiences or anything? And really, what kind of jobs can you find just after 4 months of studying? Are there a lot of students who don’t jobs?

    • Unfortunately they removed the statistics for Winter 2013 so I can’t give you exact numbers as an answer (Winter would be your first co-op term). It’s tough getting your first term co-op job with lack of relevant experience. You get a huge leg up if you’ve had past experience.You probably won’t get your dream job – you can be decently satisfied with an analyst role. About 10 to 15% of students won’t find a first term co-op job in engineering, and the rates are worse for 4-stream students. You really don’t learn much in your first 4 months, but don’t fret. There are a handful of companies willing to hire first years. Just be a little more assertive.

        • Someone asked me this via email so I’m just going to copy & paste what I said. Apologies for the long post, but TLDR – Choose Stream 8.

          So in terms of choosing stream, I feel that Stream 4 has a lot of disadvantages. Having that full 8 month first year back to back is actually very helpful. You barely learn anything in your 1A term that is new content (tons of high school review).

          Also, there is a much higher number of people on Stream-8 or Stream-8 like co-op streams for those in the same graduating year (if you consider those not in engineering). This means that you will not be able to see any of the friends you make in 1A, unless you end up making friends that are in different years/same stream as you.

          There is not a huge difference on how many terms you get for working on the final project. When you are on your last co-op term, it is unlikely that your group members will be in the same city, so there would probably be very little work done. If anything, Having 2 terms back to back (Stream 4) could be better because you don’t have a huge gap between. This should not be your deciding factor, because you are forecasting something that you need to face 4 years from now.

          Unfortunately I don’t know a lot of students on Stream 4, so I can’t tell you how tough it is in comparison. The competition is definitely tough for all first years getting their first job, but you will definitely feel more prepared if you are eased into the process (Stream 8) than Stream 4. You will be thrown right into the co-op application process 2 months within your undergrad experience if you choose Stream 4. This can be extremely overwhelming for some people and you don’t get to ease your way into university like those in Stream 8. Interviews (or lack of interviews) can be a stressful feeling.

  5. I will attend waterloo this fall.. under a co-op program. i was just wondering what if i need to visit my hometown every year for a month? what do i do then?

    • Being in co-op means you will have a less flexible schedule. The normal start and end dates for co-op usually allow a 1-2 week break between each term, but usually you will get a 3 week break between summer and fall term. You can also talk to your employer at your co-op placement to adjust the start and end dates so that you start early and end early (or start late and end late) in order to have a longer break and be able to do things like visit family. Most employers are usually flexible with this so you shouldn’t have to worry too much!

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