The Value of Co-op: Spotlight on Hamza Wahed
We're always excited to welcome new co-op students to our team. Since January, we’ve been thrilled to work with Hamza Wahed, a talented third-year computer science student from Dalhousie University and our 22nd co-op since 2015. From his passion for programming to his dedication to his studies, Hamza has impressed us from day one.
During his first few weeks, he flew through our .NET onboarding and learning tasks. It was apparent from the jump that he was a great fit for the team, and he quickly got to work on client projects, collaborating alongside more senior developers. We’ve been impressed with his ability to work independently while still seeking guidance from his colleagues when needed.
Our co-op program is a crucial part of our company's success, and we're enjoying working with such a talented and driven student. Let’s take a closer look at Hamza's experience at immediac and what he's learned about the importance of hands-on experience, supportive work cultures, and the value of mentorship.
From Malaysia to Halifax to Boston?
Originally from Malaysia, Hamza decided to pursue education and academia and enrolled at Dalhousie University to pursue his passion for computer science.
We had a chance to ask him what attracted him to Halifax specifically, and he told us that he was drawn to the city's vibrant tech industry. He actually chose Halifax before he chose Dalhousie, and he has been pleasantly surprised by his professors' teaching styles and knowledge. His first year helped cement that he was in the right place, and once the world opened up again after lockdown, he could join his classmates in person and begin enjoying his new life as a Haligonian.
Although he still spends most of his time at Dalhousie, he’s looking forward to the warm weather and moving into the new immediac office space in April. He loves how Halifax comes alive in the summer months, and he’s excited for the waterfront to become more active and spend time on the boardwalk just outside our new office doors.
During his first week, he impressed our administrative team during a lunch outing by sharing that in the future, he plans on pursuing his master's degree and moving to the United States, with hopes of attending the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His dream is to pursue a career in education, and we have no doubt that he has the talent, drive, and dedication to achieve that. As he finishes his studies at Dalhousie, we're thrilled to have him as a part of our team and can't wait to see all the amazing things he'll accomplish in the years to come.
The Value of Real-World Experience
As a computer science student, Hamza knew he wanted to gain practical experience during his co-op. While his coursework gave him a solid foundation of knowledge and a high-level understanding of programming languages, he recognized that real-world experience would be necessary to understand working in the industry.
After a few weeks of working on a .NET onboarding project, Hamza switched gears and began working alongside his mentors and other developers to help with the creation of a CRM web application for one of our clients. He found that being able to apply what he had learned in the classroom to real projects was invaluable in helping him understand the intricacies of web development. He also appreciated the chance to work with experienced professionals who could offer guidance and advice as he navigated the challenges of client work and requirements.
“Before this, my web development knowledge was kind of all over the place. I knew bits of this language and bits of that language, but here I saw how things worked from start to finish and how a website is spun up,” Hamza said. He spoke strongly about how working closely with and under the guidance of developers helped him learn and grow.
The desire to work on real projects is not unique to Hamza. Every co-op student we have met is looking to gain practical knowledge in their field of study. That's why we give the students we work with plenty of opportunities to join in on real projects and collaborate with other developers. We believe that this kind of experience is essential for any student who wants to succeed in the computer science or web development industries.
Creating a Welcoming and Empowering Experience
We have put a lot of effort into our inclusive and supportive work environment. We want our co-op students to feel welcomed and valued, and we were thrilled to hear that Hamza felt he had a chance to grow as a developer and thrive as a team member during his co-op.
“I was really excited because I felt like just from reading the description of the company, it felt like a very inclusive environment. It felt like somewhere I can grow and learn,” Hamza said. When asked if it lived up to his expectations, he said, “It’s been beyond expectations at this point, because from day one I felt so welcomed and everyone’s been so helpful.”
Office attendance was required in the first two months of his co-op. We believe that when co-op students work directly with their colleagues, they tend to be more successful. It helps them build relationships and feel more comfortable asking questions. To help Hamza feel more at home, we organized a fun teambuilding game of Pictionary during his first week. Since then, we've tried to get together as a team several times each month, both in person and virtually.
We're committed to providing all our co-op students with the resources and support they need to succeed and make meaningful contributions to our team. We’ve had a great time working with Hamza, and we’re happy to hear he feels comfortable at immediac as well!
The Importance of Mentorship
Having experienced professionals to provide guidance and mentorship can be a game-changer for co-op students like Hamza. During his time at immediac, he worked primarily alongside Sarthak and Isaac who not only interviewed and hired him, but have continued to be his mentors while he works on real projects.
We asked Sarthak how the experience of mentoring Hamza has been.
“My favourite part of working with Hamza is that he is not scared. Or even if he is, he hides it very well! He never backs down from learning anything new. In the field of tech there are an endless amount of things to learn and that can be quite overwhelming. But I find that he takes on the challenge to learn any new concepts fearlessly. Making mistakes, but more importantly learning from them and growing with those experiences. This just makes him and his cheerful personality even easier to work with.”
This mentorship was invaluable in helping Hamza grow as a developer and gain practical experience. His mentors were able to offer him advice on best practices, suggest new techniques, and give him feedback on his work, which helped him improve his skills and become a more confident developer.
We had a chance to ask Hamza if he had any tips for future co-ops, and he shared some great advice. Starting a new co-op can be tough, especially when dealing with unfamiliar technology or a new programming language. Hamza suggests taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you'll eventually get the hang of it. Don't be too hard on yourself if you struggle in the first week. Instead, focus on practicing and don't hesitate to ask for help.
Hamza found it helpful to use online resources and group chats with his coworkers to supplement his learning. His mentors were also a great source of encouragement, reminding him that everyone starts somewhere and that it's okay to make mistakes. With time and effort, he became more confident in his abilities and comfortable working in C#. So, for all the new co-ops out there, remember to stay positive, keep practicing, and don't be afraid to seek help when you need it.
Hamza will soon be heading into his fourth year, and the entire immediac team is hoping he achieves his post-graduate goals. If that takes him away from Halifax, we’re hoping he’ll come back someday to teach the next generation of computer science students at Dal!