santiago's photo in techplace

Coop Experience at an Innovation Hub

January 22, 2024

At TechPlace we value giving real world experiences to students by bridging the gap between classroom and real world experiences. By partaking in Coop programs each semester, we aim to equip our coop students with technical, but also soft skills that prepare them for the dynamic professional world.

Santiago Guzman, who many of you have seen around the space, joined TechPlace this last term. We enjoyed teaching and learning from him! Whats the best way to hear about his experience you ask? From him directly ofcourse! Hear about his coop experience through this fantastic letter he wrote for us:

Hi, TechPlace community!

My name is Santiago Guzman, and for the past couple of months, I have had the privilege of working alongside TechPlace’s awesome team as part of my co-op placement at my high school (St. Thomas Aquinas CSS in Oakville), through my involvement in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM). I have found this experience to be incredibly rewarding as it has taught me many lessons that I will definitely keep in mind as I pursue my post-secondary education in Software Engineering. I would alos like to thank HIEC for connecting me with Techplace.

 

In the beginning , I was unsure of what to expect regarding the projects/tasks that would be assigned to me, but TechPlace made this process incredibly seamless, and the team helped me every step of the way.  I remember going up the elevator the first day, ready to embrace an experience that I knew would be uncomfortable at first but would bring about a very positive personal development that could not have been embraced in a classroom.

 

TechPlace truly is an innovation hub, I handled a variety of tasks and projects, learning to efficiently manage my time and prioritize tasks. My passion for technology and AI was reinforced as I observed entrepreneurs in TechPlace connecting and investing effort into creative start-ups. These ventures often provided innovative solutions to day to day challenges, aiming to positively impact people and businesses. This experience deepened my commitment to contribute to the transformative potential of technology and AI in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

 

Attending various events at TechPlace helped form meaningful connections with professionals who generously shared valuable career insights, especially in the field of Software Engineering. Their personal experiences provided invaluable guidance. During my time at TechPlace, I learned that making connections and building a community is crucial for the development of ideas and businesses. Fortunately, my initial discomfort with social and communication skills was overcome during this experience.

 

Needless to say, I am incredibly thankful to both TechPlace and my high school for allowing me to have such a great learning opportunity and meet many people who have taught me many important things about business, connections, and innovation. I can confidently say that the entirejourney I went through has made me much more knowledgeable that will definitely help me in the future. From the interview and selection process (which I must confess was equally as nerve-wracking as exciting) to the daily time management and social environment, everything has given me skills and lessons like no other that I will always be grateful for.

 

I would like to strongly recommend the co-op programs and opportunities to both students and businesses.

 

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