This post was written by Nathaniel Paquin, one of our past co-op students who recently graduated from the BlueCat Program – we wish him all the best in his future professional endeavors!
Cambridge dictionary defines an internship as the following: a period of time during which someone works for a company or organization in order to get experience of a particular type of work.
Now this is a tad ambiguous. Am I walking into the lion’s den of a Fortune 500 company, or is it a nascent, perhaps gazelle-like laid back start-up? Depending on the answer to the latter, how qualified do I need to be? And if I land the job, how can I ensure I’m making a substantial impact? How much experience do I need? How much experience will I gain? … Will I be a dreaded coffee fetcher?
Prior to starting any job – full-time or internship – questions like these will be constantly running through your head. Well, the answers to the above are anything but predictable, nor can they be quantified. The good news is: at the right company, your expectations can not only be met – but exceeded.
Evidently, the only way to confirm or deny the thoughts bouncing around in your head is to jump through the door of uncertainty and see what lies on the other side.
For all of the 14 co-op students graduating from BlueCat’s internship program in the summer of 2018, stepping through the glass doors of BlueCat Networks’ Toronto HQ has been nothing short of a fast-paced learning experience – one that not only gives you an opportunity to grow as an individual, but to also make a company-wide impact.
With a diverse selection of departments from which to choose, there’s a position for individuals from all backgrounds and skill sets. Whether you’re on the Software Development Team spearheading product innovation, on the Marketing Team anchoring strong demand generation, or on the Sales Team taking our Adaptive DNS platform to the market, one thing is for certain: the BlueCat co-op program is a two-way value street. BlueCat is receiving just as much value as its pupils are.
Being on the Sales Team, I immediately resonated with BlueCat’s open and collaborative work environment. It’s pretty amazing how even though BlueCat is a well-established company with over 400 employees, it still strongly maintained that start-up vibe. Prior to this position, I yearned for a co-op role where I could expand my horizons and be part of bigger projects that were not under the general job description. The first two weeks were the scariest: I was engulfed into the world of software sales and it’s all-encompassing nature. IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, automation, you name it. It was a whirlwind of information, but I quickly acclimated myself to the fast-moving environment, learning technical acronyms, sales processes and pitching techniques.
The process of settling in was made much easier thanks to everyone’s approachability (including leadership), and I was able to feel like I belonged with the other employees. I was soon tasked with a smaller sized deal that my boss, James, presented to me. With trepidation I accepted, and in the process I learned about what goes on behind the curtain in a SaaS deal, and I eventually ended up closing business for BlueCat. There is no doubt that both the technical and transferable skills that I slowly learned in my early days formed a great foundation for the successful completion of this task.
Each one of my fellow co-op colleagues at BlueCat I approached for feedback were pleasantly surprised at how well BlueCat sticks to their core values.
To quote Mohaimen Khan, a software engineering student on the Product Team: “every day is a new challenge: an opportunity to learn something new that I didn’t know the day before”. Comprising of multiple sub-units each focused on one area of BlueCat software, the Product Development Teams tackle problems together utilizing Agile, Kanban and Scrum project methodologies to plan and execute tasks.
Manuel Calvino, from the Marketing Team, said “I came into the marketing department expecting a group of outgoing, extroverted people who work hard but know how to have fun.” Manuel’s expectations were spot on, but one thing he wasn’t expecting was how close the team worked together. “I was amazed at how much they all collaborate on projects and help each other out”.
Megan Corbett, from the People Team, came into her first co-op experience at BlueCat expecting to meet with candidates, to work with the team on hiring choices, and to make changes that improve company culture. But what she took away from the experience was much more. “What I got was a multifaceted and fast-paced crash course in HR, lots of unexpected responsibility, but also a fun and tightly connected group of co-workers”.
As the summer of 2018 draws to a close, BlueCat marks another successful round of nurtured co-op students. From the very first wide-eyed orientation day, to the co-op bowling night, to our heartfelt graduation ceremony and all the learning, mentorship and excitement in between, we all felt like full-time BlueCat employees.
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