When trying to enter the workforce, it’s helpful to have as much experience and skills under your belt as possible. To make sure that Mohawk College graduates are as well-equipped as they can be for their future careers, many students have the opportunity to work in the field through co-op or field placement positions.
Priya, a student in the Computer Systems Technology - Software Development program, recently completed her program and took a moment to reflect on her experience and how she has grown. “I was a dental assistant for many years. When the pandemic came, I was working directly with the dentist, so we had to protect ourselves with PPE and infection control,” she said. “We were using heavy chemicals that were affecting me, causing an allergy. I used to get swelling on my face, and the swelling used to take almost a month to go down.”
Concerned for her safety, Priya’s family encouraged her to find a new career. “My husband and my family were saying that I need to change jobs. We used technology that included light coding working as a dental assistant, so that's how I decided to make the jump to software.”
As part of her program, Priya has been working with the Marketing department at Mohawk College to complete her co-op and gain on-the-job experience. “We create the forms and pages on the website. We also worked on InTouch and Momentum magazines. I’ve been here for eight months, and we’ve completed a lot of tasks in that time.”
In her co-op position, Priya spent eight months working in the field and improving her skills through this experiential learning opportunity. Her biggest project is one that will be used by Mohawk students every day, as she played a large role in the recent overhaul of the MyMohawk website. “One project I’m proud of is the MyMohawk site, being able to play a part in such a big task was a wonderful experience,” said Priya.
Looking back, Priya feels that the time she spent in her co-op position helped her to grow as a programmer and as a person. “I learned a lot from my colleagues. My co-op helped me to improve my skills. I also learned how to communicate, how to work in a team, how to be more friendly,” she said.
As she prepares for the future, Priya has advice to share with students who are gearing up to search for their own co-op positions.
“Students need to prepare. They should know what's going on in the market. Know your skills so you can best prepare for an interview, that way you can improve your chances of getting an offer for a co-op position.”