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This September, AlphaKOR welcomed Sage Lawerence, a local co-op student from Riverside Secondary School, to our Design Team! During her co-op placement, Sage has had the opportunity to enhance her skills, learn new software, tools, and technologies. Her primary focus during her co-op has been to help in testing and documentation while reporting to our Software Development Manager, Tauseef Ahmad.

In this Career Insights feature, I ask Sage questions about her co-op experience to date at AlphaKOR, her future ambitions, and more.

Meet Sage! Sage has known that she has wanted to be a programmer since she was 12 years old after a teacher suggested that she try out code.org. She is a creative person who expresses herself through fashion and photography. Sage is also an avid reader who doesn’t go anywhere without a book and can usually be found reading on her lunch breaks.

What drew you to this position?

While I was researching potential placements, AlphaKOR’s website stood out to me the most. I knew I wanted to be somewhere with Software Development, and AlphaKOR’s website was the most informative. I read up on employees, services, and some of the blog posts. It gave me a feel for what the company would be like, and that interested me! In the past, I’ve done quite a few of the coding camps that WETech, Build a Dream, or the College sponsor, and seeing that AlphaKOR has ties to those places was a major deciding factor!

How long is your co-op placement at AlphaKOR?

My placement lasts a full semester, 8:30-3:30, until the end of January. I opted for a 4 credit co-op, which is why I’m here most of the workday.

What motivates or drives you?

Goals. I’ve always been the type of person to set short-term and long-term goals. Taking a co-op is part of that, so I could gain work experience doing what I want to make a career of! Balancing work, school, and a social life lead to achieving my goals.

What does the average day look like for you in your co-op placement?

In the morning, I work on some of my own projects, like a portfolio or weather application, then in the afternoon I typically read up on different languages, and work on whatever work I’ve been given.

What technical skill set is critical to your job?

The technical skillset critical to my job includes:

  • Problem-solving – You have to be able to work through problems, like testing, slowly and efficiently.
  • Programming languages – Having some knowledge of HTML, CSS and Javascript have definitely helped me have a good foundation once I started this placement. Not knowing anything about any of those languages would’ve been difficult!
  • Computer and technology knowledge – This skill is critical! It helps you to understand how programming works and just gives you a better idea of how to use a computer efficiently.

What key qualities do you think someone in your role possesses? Why are these qualities important for this role?

I think the key qualities someone in my role possesses are patience and organization. If there’s a line of code that doesn’t work, I usually have to look through the entire file and read it line by line figuring out where the error is, and that requires a lot of patience. Organization is also important, making sure my project files are properly saved and stored, and any images or random notes I have from the project are in the correct folders. Losing a CSS file would not be good!

What is the most exciting part about your placement?

Learning new things! I’m surrounded by people who are doing exactly what I want to do, so if I’m stuck on a line of code, they immediately understand the problem and offer ways to solve it.

What is the least exciting part about your placement?

I’m still pretty early on in my placement, so it does get slow at times. I’m not used to an office job, where I’m sitting down all day, so it’s a bit of a learning curve.

What are your professional goals? What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

I’m hoping to take the Mobile Applications Development program at St Clair. Currently, I’m working on developing an online portfolio and I’d like to continue to do this because I think it’ll look good for jobs in the future. In 5 years, I’ll have graduated college and I’m hoping to move to a big city. My dream would be to work as a freelancer. I’d really love to travel and if I could develop websites and apps while doing that, it would be perfect! Working at a start-up or smaller business would also be super cool!

What’s the most difficult challenge you have faced in life?

The most difficult challenge I’ve faced in my life was switching to online classes. At the time, I was taking some pretty difficult courses and trying to balance that with my mental health as the pandemic didn’t help, it was difficult. I started putting too much pressure on my grades and I wasn’t enjoying learning as much as I used to. I made sure to cut back on advanced courses this year, and it’s helped a lot.

What have you learned at AlphaKOR that has helped you grow on a personal level?

At AlphaKOR, I’ve learned that it’s ok to ask for help. I usually spend way too long on a line of code trying to figure it out myself, but it’s totally ok to ask for help and advice!

If you could choose to have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Time travel!! I’d like to see the past, what ancient cities were like before their fall, or witness events that shaped history. Or the future, so I could see how technology continues to develop! I’m still waiting for the flying cars from Back to The Future…

Careers In Business Technolgy

Thank you, Sage, for sharing insight about your co-op placement experience with us, and for your contribution to AlphaKOR! We are so happy to have you here.

Are you an energetic and passionate individual who thrives on providing excellent service to both clients and fellow staff? If so, we want AlphaKOR to be the place you want to work. We want you to love your job. Because when you love your job, you’ll do great things. Come and do great things with us! To view our current openings, please visit our Career Opportunities page.

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