The First All-Remote Co-op at Taplytics
- I had an amazing final co-op with Taplytics
- Snap Camera and custom backgrounds can help make Zoom meetings more fun
- Make sure to voice your opinion!
- Take breaks to keep your sanity (especially during a pandemic)
- Check out taplytics.com/careers…they are probably hiring 😉
My name is Josh Samuels, and I am a 5th-year Software Engineering student from the University of Guelph. I just completed my 4th and final co-op as a full stack intern at Taplytics. Previously, I interned at NCR for 8 months in Waterloo, Square for 4 months in San Francisco and Cash App (Square) for 4 months in Kitchener. Although my previous internships were amazing and very educational, I still had a strong desire to work at a startup. Working at Taplytics allowed me to utilize the technical skills I had gained throughout my career and grow as a developer.
The Onboarding Process
As you can imagine, onboarding a new employee is always difficult, so I’m sure there was lots of work going on behind the scenes to allow for a smooth remote onboarding process (during the COVID-19 pandemic no less!). Taplytics ensured I was decked-out with all the technology I needed to be productive from home, shipping me a laptop stand, keyboard, mouse, and monitor in my first week. My first day was full of meetings with several managers and my team. The rest of the week was filled with meetings with executives and managers from different departments to teach me about Taplytics. I also had meetings with my team and manager to ensure I was given the mentorship I needed during the onboarding and ramp-up process. The entire onboarding process was seamless and helped me be productive from the get-go!
A Technical Overview
My co-op was focussed on the experimentation aspect of the Taplytics product. Although I predominantly worked on one part of the Taplytics product, I was given the opportunity to learn and improve my fluency in many areas of development. I had the opportunity to work with their iOS SDK, backend servers, chrome extension, react front-end, angular front-end, and internal CI/CD pipeline. However, the majority of my term was focussed on the maturity of the cloudflare worker infrastructure. I was able to modularize and build tools for existing and new cloudflare workers, improve their CI/CD pipeline by adding auto-deployments to a testing environment, and build features for their workers.
Week in The Life
The average week at Taplytics was full of work and Zoom meetings with enough personal time to keep me focussed and engaged throughout my workday. My team had a daily standup at 10:00am followed by two hours of work before lunch. Majority of my afternoons were focussed on independent work with bi-weekly grooming, planning and retro meetings and a daily 3:00pm stretch/coffee break. This summer, Taplytics debuted summer Fridays, where we would have engineering team meetings in the morning followed by an end-of-day all hands from 11:30am-12:30pm. I would say that summer Fridays were successful in helping me get ready to enjoy my weekend and have a more relaxing break before starting the new week. Taplytics also utilized the slackbot Donut to help keep the constantly growing team as close as possible by pairing coworkers randomly every two weeks to have a Zoom meeting and chat. The office manager also made sure there were plenty of team building events, including playing virtual codenames, a virtual tour of a goat farm, and an occasional end-of-day virtual yoga session.
Tips for Remote Co-ops
As a remote co-op, I learned early on that the most important factor in having a successful term is learning the balance between solving problems independently and asking for help. When working from home, it can be more difficult to ask for help, as we have to use Slack or Zoom instead of just tapping on a teammates shoulder. However, it is important to ask questions when needed in order to keep making progress and prevent going down too many rabbit holes. I would also recommend taking breaks during the workday to keep your focus and sanity! Communication is also very important, especially during an all-remote co-op, since it can be hard for coworkers and managers to track progress without a constant stream of communication. Be sure to keep your camera on when possible during Zoom meetings (as long as that is the company culture) and make sure to be active and available on slack. Finally, and most importantly, make sure you share your thoughts and opinions! Taplytics along with every company I have worked at valued my opinion equally to all the full-time employees and a large portion of the tasks I was given spun out of my ideas. Good luck on your next (remote) co-op!
Thanks for reading this far. If you would like to connect with me you can do so below!