Co-op Stories: James Bednar

By: James Bednar

James is a Wentworth senior in the Electromechanical Engineering program with minors in Applied Mathematics and Physics. He graciously shared his recent co-op experience with CO-OPS + CAREERS:

  • Where was your co-op?

My co-op this summer has been at Hanscom Air Force Base, which is predominantly located within the city of Bedford, Massachusetts. I’ve been working as a SMART Program Intern for the Enterprise IT and Cyber Infrastructure Division of the Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks (C3I&N) Program Office.

The majority of the work at Hanscom AFB is in support of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), which is responsible for acquiring, sustaining, and eventually disposing of complex systems utilized by the Air Force.

Within my assigned organization, engineers are responsible for ensuring that IT and cyber systems are designed, acquired, and sustained in a manner that allows the entire Air Force to benefit from modern information systems. This poses a unique challenge, especially for organizations as large and geographically dispersed as the U.S. military.

 

  • What was your search and interview process like?

My co-op search was unique in the sense that it mainly consisted of a traditional scholarship application. After collecting the references, transcripts, and essays required to apply to SMART, I waited to see whether or not I would be offered a place within the program.

While applicants can list their preferences for potential work assignments, there’s no guarantee that they will get assigned to any of their top choices. I ended up being very fortunate, as I was both offered a spot in the SMART Scholarship Program and assigned to AFLCMC at Hanscom AFB, which was my first choice when applying to the program.

  • What is the SMART Scholarship Program?

The Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program is an initiative led by the Department of Defense seeking to provide college students with a pathway into civil service. The SMART Program offers college funding opportunities at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level in exchange for working as a Department of Defense civilian employee for a few years upon graduation.

When explaining the program, I tell people that the SMART Program is analogous to a civilian ROTC program, where students are contracted to work for one year as a civilian engineer for each year they receive financial assistance from the program. It’s an imperfect analogy, but helps to capture the fact that program participants typically want to pursue civilian service as their chosen career pathway.

  • How did you learn about SMART?

I learned about the SMART Scholarship Program shortly before entering my freshman year at Wentworth. Initially, I was accepted and planned on attending the United States Coast Guard Academy but was medically disqualified at the last minute due to an injury received during basketball practice towards the end of high school.

Wentworth was always my top choice outside of Coast Guard, so I decided to move out to Boston with the hope of finding another way to pursue service in a civilian capacity. After eventually settling on the major of Electromechanical Engineering, I decided to apply to SMART during my sophomore year and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the program.

  • Why are you interested in this work/completing your co-op with your employer?

I have wanted to pursue service in some capacity since my freshman year of high school. The SMART Program provides a great introduction to government service within the Department of Defense, which I hope to build upon as I continue throughout my career.

Long term, I want to apply my technical experience to the field of public policy, and starting my career at Hanscom AFB will provide a great introduction to the crossroads of engineering and acquisitions policy as it pertains to the Air Force. Furthermore, I hope the opportunity to work on enterprise information systems will help inform my decision as I look to study either Applied Physics or Systems Engineering in graduate school.

  • What is a typical day like at your co-op?

A typical day will vary widely depending on what stage a system is its lifecycle. While I’ve been focusing on getting a feel for the organization on-the-job training and shadowing during this co-op, I’m looking forward to working on some exciting systems as I move forward at Hanscom AFB.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing the SMART scholarship?

First, I would encourage students interested in pursuing this opportunity (or work as a technical professional in any government organization) to “know your why”. Working as an engineer on the civilian side of the Department of Defense (or any area of the government) offers some unique opportunities you simply will not find anywhere else, and the work can be very rewarding. However, working as a civil servant is different than a career in private industry. Knowing why you decided to pursue civil service can help provide perspective when you have those inevitable “what if” moments when talking to friends working in private industry.

More importantly, if you’re truly interested in what the SMART Program has to offer, my biggest advice would be to go for it. The SMART Program provides a fantastic opportunity, and it would be great to see other Wentworth students pursue the program along with me. If anyone out there is interested in SMART or has any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, either around campus or via email.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, James! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

CO-OP + CAREER Fair Event Recap

By: Abbey Pober

Our annual Fall CO-OP + CAREER Fair was held on Tuesday, October 2nd from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in Tansey Gymnasium. The event hosted 180 employers ranging from local design firms to international technology organizations and everything in between. It was our most well attended Fair to date, drawing 875 students from all majors, seeking both co-op and full-time opportunities. Students came prepared to spend the afternoon learning and making new connections.

Fall Career Fair

Students who attended the CO-OP + CAREER Fair, below are some tips for following up. If you had a LinkedIn photo taken, look for an email from coopsandcareers@wit.edu in about a month.

  • Send a thank you email to the employers with whom you spoke. Find our guide to thank you notes here. If you need a reminder of which companies with whom you spoke a list of employers is available on our website for reference. Use this opportunity to include a copy of your resume, even if you gave them one at the Fair.
  • If a recruiter gave you specific instructions, be sure to follow through on those items and then follow up with the recruiter.
  • Unable to send a thank-you note for lack of contact information? Stay connected through social media: find the company or even the person you spoke with on LinkedIn or Twitter. Follow their feeds to stay up to date on new openings and other news!
  • You are always welcome to check in with your Co-op + Career Advisor to see if they can provide you with any helpful information, too.

Fall Career Fair Booths

If you were unable to attend the Fair be on the lookout for future opportunities to connect with employers, including the announcement about the spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Our next event is Mock Interview Day, on October 22nd , and student registration is now open on WITworks. This is a great opportunity to practice your interview skills and get feedback directly from employers.

Employers, be on the lookout for future recruiting opportunities in the coming months, and for details about our spring CO-OP + CAREER Fair. Interested in participating in Mock Interview Day? Register for this free event through your WITworks account or by contacting Chris McIntyre, mintyrec@wit.edu.

Thank you to everyone who joined on October 2nd for the Fair. A special thank you to our sponsors: BOND BrothersCommodore BuildersDACONElectric Supply Center, NOVO Construction, Schneider Electric, and TG Gallagher. Your support makes all the difference.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event!

How to Prepare for CO-OP + CAREER Fair

By: Caitlin Brison

How to WORK the Career Fair – An approach for everyone, whether you are low-key or EXTRA!

CO-OP + CAREER Fair Spring 2019

Low Key Approach EXTRA Approach
RESEARCH •   Find the list of employers attending on the “Jobs and Careers” App and research the ones of interest.

•   See if they have positions posted so you can research more about the companies ahead of the fair.

•      Create a spreadsheet, categorizing employers into A, B, and C lists.

•      Write down a few questions you might ask them at the fair. Refer to these questions before each conversation.

RESUME •   Write, review, and edit your resume.

•   Come to Drop-Ins to make sure it is ready for the Career Fair.

•   Print out 10-20 copies and tuck them in a folder to hand out to employers.

•      Make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor to go over your Resume.

•      Print 10-20 copies and carry them in a professional padfolio.

•      Make your own business cards.

PLAN •   The plan is to go, shake hands, meet employers, ask good questions, and hand out resumes.  Go with it!

 

•      Locate the employer booths on the Fairs App ahead of time and map out your route.

•      Maybe talk to a couple employers on your C list to start before moving on to your first choices!

DRESS •   Gather your professional attire.

•   Visit WITwear to borrow any items you may need!

 

•      Iron, steam, fresh haircut!  Look your best.

•      Also…visit WITwear to borrow any items you need.

PITCH •   Build a 30 second pitch and practice it in the mirror so you come across relaxed and professional.

•   Practice a firm handshake.

 

•      Record yourself and critique yourself.  Be mindful of eye contact, fidgets, and filler (“um, like”).

•      Pitch with a friend and practice your handshakes.

THANK YOU •   Shake employers’ hand and thank them for their time answering your questions and speaking to you.

 

•   Collect business cards so you can write thank you notes the next day.

•   If they requested your application electronically – email them to let them know you applied.

 

Check out ALL our helpful guides on resumes, networking, pitches, and more on our website: https://coopsandcareers.wit.edu/resources/

Download the WITworks, “Symplicity Jobs and Careers App”:

Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/symplicity-jobs-and-careers/id1239828027?mt=8

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.symplicity.csmandroid&hl=en_US

Image of a smiling leopard.
TFW you nail the CO-OP + CAREER Fair

Limited time only: CO-OP + CAREER Fair All Day Resume Drop-Ins:  Fri 9/27 & Mon 9/30 in the Library and CO-OPS + CAREERS Office, 10am-4pm.

Make an appointment with your CO-OP + CAREER Advisor: call the front desk at (617) 989 4101 or stop by our office, Wentworth Hall first floor across from Admissions.

Fall 2019 WITwear Hours: M-Th 4-8pm & F 10am-Noon

Extended WITwear Hours: Mon & Tues 9/30-10/1 12-8pm Wed 10/2 10am-4pm

What Jobs Can I Get With a Major in Computer Information Systems?

By: STEAM Boston Team

Computer Information Systems (CIS) is a growing Information Technology (IT) discipline that is getting a lot of attention nowadays. There is plenty of entry-level jobs for Computer Information Systems graduates. It also has an excellent long-term outlook. For example, the demand for Computer and Information Systems Managers is supposed to grow 12 percent between 2016-2026. That’s a faster growth rate than the average for all occupations. So, a CIS degree can offer you a high-earning, satisfying long-term career.

CIS – Understanding the Business of Technology

Computer with glasses in front

Computer technology is a vast field with many disciplines and sub-disciplines. So students often struggle to understand what a Computer Information Systems degree means for them. Also, it’s easy to confuse Computer Science and Computer Information Systems degrees.

A Computer Science (CS) degree is intended for students who want to pursue hardcore computer programming. It teaches you how to build software. The emphasis is on math and problem-solving for software creation. However, in real-world environments, most companies don’t develop their software. They purchase ready-made applications from vendors and then customize them for their business requirements. The business of choosing the right software and customization requires less computer programming skills and more understanding of business needs. Computer Information Systems curriculums are designed to teach students how to use the right technology effectively for businesses.

In a Computer Information Systems major, you will learn about topics like system analysis, information architecture, information organization and management, and business consulting. You will be able to help businesses choose the right technology.

Types of Entry-Level Jobs You Can Get

A CIS major opens up many job options for you. Here are some entry-level jobs for Computer Information Systems (CIS) graduates:

Technical Support Specialist or Help Desk – Technical support specialists help users with software and hardware problems. You will assist customers with your technical know-how. You will use both your customer service skills and computer knowledge to solve everyday problems. The median income is around $49,595.

Business/Systems Analyst or Consultant – As a business/systems analyst, you’ll look at a company’s current operations and help them implement new systems or improve the current ones. The median income of a business/systems analyst is around $68,146.

Network/System Administrator – Network/system administrators are responsible for the implementation, management, and maintenance of the network infrastructure of a business. It requires both hardware and software knowledge. Network administrator median salary is around $57,747.

Database Administrator – Database administrators look after the design and maintenance of database systems. It requires an understanding of databases and how to protect data through backups and redundancies. The median salary for database administrators is around $71,833.

Web Developer or Programmer – Web developers help businesses with their websites. A web developer’s responsibilities include gathering business requirements, designing websites, implementing solutions and maintaining already running websites. Depending on your interest, you can work on the design side or the programming side of web development. The median salary for a web developer is around $58,483.

Educational Opportunities in the Greater Boston Area

The greater Boston area has lots of great colleges and universities that have CIS majors. Institutions like Wentworth Institute of TechnologyNortheastern UniversityBentley UniversityUniversity of Massachusetts – Boston and more provide excellent Computer Information Systems (CIS) degrees to start your career.

References:

Interested in joining the STEAM Boston Community, then visit this link: https://community.steamboston.com/

You will have the opportunity to expand your network and connect with students & professionals in the STEAM field in the Greater Boston area.

This story was originally posted on STEAM Boston’s blog site. Original story here: https://www.steamboston.com/what-jobs-can-i-get-with-a-major-in-computer-information-systems/

Dahnaya Joyner – My Journey of Becoming a Web Developer

By: Will Ma
Dahnaya Joyner in graduation attire
Photo Courtesy of Dahnaya Joyner (STEAM Boston)

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Dahnaya Joyner and right now I am a Web Developer. I graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Engineering Technology in 2017. I have always been interested in engineering and technology. Computer Engineering Technology is solely hardware-based engineering, but I switched over to the software side. I’m loving software now, so I’m glad I made the switch.

What got you interested in Computer Engineering Technology?

Growing up, I have always been fascinated by how things work. I have taken a lot of things apart and tried to put them back together. I have always been interested in technology and the Computer Engineering Technology degree was the right decision at the moment. I then transitioned to software and I don’t work on hardware as much now.

Tell us more about your transition to software.

I got my degree in Computer Engineering Technology, the summer of 2017. I got a full-time job right out of college and I eventually found out that the job was right for me. The job didn’t make me happy and I had to pivot to something that gave me career fulfillment. After six months, I ended up getting laid off and that moment was bad. Everything hits you at once and it was a bad time. Being a blessing in disguise, it allowed me to take time off and really try to find what I really wanted to do.

I knew I wanted to stay in tech and go into the software route. I did research online and I found out about coding boot camps. I ended going to General Assembly for web development and now I have a job in web development. I’m very happy with my decision to go to a coding boot camp and work in a job I really like.

General Assembly was a really hard coding boot camp and it was intense. There were a lot of times that I thought I wouldn’t graduate and make it through the program. There was a huge support system and everyone in the class are going through the same struggles. It was a great experience and once I graduated, I felt prepared and ready to enter the field.

What advice do you have for students looking to get into web development?

There are a lot of online resources for web development, so I’d definitely utilize that. You could go to college for web development, but there are definitely cheaper ways. There are coding boot camps now and you should do your research on which one that fits your needs.

Where do you see yourself in 1-2 years?

I definitely still want to do web development and I’m still learning. I’m working in a team where everyone is supportive and I can learn so much. In 1-2 years, I envision myself becoming a more experienced web developer and being the best version of myself.

Any wise words of wisdom to the STEAM Boston community?

Don’t give up. I got laid off my first job and I was in a really bad position. I took the time to find out what I really wanted to do and I’m happy to be a web developer now. Also, imposter syndrome is very real. I deal with it often. But no matter where you are in your journey just know that you’re not doing it for anything and it’ll all pay off.

I also want to shout out my parents. “I’m very thankful to my parents for their constant support. Making a career change is a very difficult decision but I am fortunate to have a great foundation that allowed me to do that. I love you guys!”


Interested in joining the STEAM Boston Community, then visit this link: https://community.steamboston.com/

You will have the opportunity to expand your network and connect with students & professionals in the STEAM field in the Greater Boston area.

This story was originally posted on STEAM Boston’s blog site. Original story here: https://www.steamboston.com/dahnaya-joyner-my-journey-of-becoming-a-web-developer/

 

Co-op Stories: Kelsey Degouveia

By: Kelsey Degouveia

Kelsey is a recent Wentworth graduate of the Biomedical Engineering program with a minor in Biology. Looking back on her time at Wentworth, she shared with us about her very first co-op experience:

  • Tell us about your co-op at Wyss Institute:

My first co-op was at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. I got to work side by side with a graduate student in the Ingber Lab studying metastasis of non-small cell lung cancer in microfluidic devices. As a Research Associate, I helped a lot with imaging, data analysis, and pharmaceutical comparing chemotherapy with novel treatment drugs. For my sophomore optional co-op, junior year co-op and senior year co-op I was a Research Associate in the Manalis Lab at the Koch Institute at MIT. During my time at MIT, I have had the opportunity to study circulating tumor cells (CTCs) with an optofluidic platform, in real-time, from a small cell lung cancer mouse model. I am involved in the fabrication of microfluidic devices and supplies, maintaining and handling our mouse colony and analysis of tumors cells collected. I have also had the opportunity to explore independent projects using deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) devices and suspended microchannel resonator (SMR) to investigate size separation and growth of CTCs.

KelseyDeGouveia in lab

  • Why were you interested in completing your co-op in the role?

I was interested in joining a research lab because I was curious about medicine and thought I wanted to solve the mysteries of cancer and other diseases. Ultimately research has helped me find my passion for medicine.

  • While on co-op, what project were you a part of, or something that you worked on, that has inspired you? 

I think being a part of a team that is using optics and microfluidics to study biological questions has been so inspiring because it is the perfect balance of my interest in science and education in engineering. The system has been used in so many different collaborations and has allowed me to meet many great researchers and learn about different fields of cancer research. The first project I worked on in the lab, that focused on longitudinal measurements of our SCLC model led to my first publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

  • How did you decide you wanted to pursue med-school?

During my first year at Wentworth, I thought research would be the perfect avenue for me to discover the unknown of different disease like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, but I ultimately realized, after a few years in research labs, that I wanted to help people now, in the moment, and not just work towards a cure for the future.

  • What resources have you found helpful in your application and search process?

Colleges with pre-med tracks have online resources posted for their pre-med students along with helpful information provided by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) on medical school requirements and virtual medical school fairs that let you chat with admission representatives from schools all over the country. Surprisingly, Reddit had a ton of helpful information on people’s study tips for the MCAT and people talking about their pre-med journey.

  • What is the application/search process like?

The application process is very interesting because each school is unique but great in their own way. I think that for me it has been helpful to make a list of the things that I want in my medical school experience and searching for schools that match that criteria, like a school with great opportunities to continue doing research.

  • What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing med-school?

I think the most helpful thing is to get a head start on communicating with physicians, and other pre-med/medical school student older than you. Developing a relationship with mentor is a fantastic resource for advice, a way to build your network, and someone who can help you understand a very long and difficult process.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Kelsey! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Fall 2019 Drop-In Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 1:30pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

How to Work Transferable Skills Into Your Resume

By: Kristen Eckman

During the beginning stages of hiring, many employers, especially in the STEM fields, are focused on hard skills (i.e. specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured, such as the ability to use software programs). However, when determining the ultimate hirability of a candidate, soft or transferable skills are in the forefront of employers’ minds. If you feel your hard skills are lacking, or you want to differentiate yourself during the final stages, focus on the transferable skills you have to offer. 

What are Transferable Skills?

Transferable skills are the aptitude and knowledge that you acquire through any experience that can be transferred to future employment settings. According to Wikipedia, “A transferable skill is an ability or expertise which may be used in a variety of roles or occupations.” They are less tangible and harder to quantify than hard skills.

Examples include:

  • Interpersonal or customer service skills (such as diplomacy, negotiation, and collaboration)
  • Communication skills (such as writing, speaking, and presenting)
  • Leadership skills (such as delegation, scheduling, and training)
  • Self-Management (such as professionalism, organizational skills, and time-management skills)
  • Critical thinking (such as problem solving, decision making, and analysis)

Student writing

How Do I Identify or Gain Transferable Skills?

When identifying the transferable skills that you may already have, think about what past professors, teammates, or managers have said that you do well. Transferable skills can be gained from any experience including:

  • Education:
    • Completing academic projects and papers show research, analytical, and presentation skills
    • Group projects help you practice communication and collaboration skills
    • Managing a heavy class load or balancing school with work impart organizational skills and time management
  • Co-op:
    • Collaborating with multi-departmental teams instills communication and interpersonal skills
    • Taking the lead on a project teaches project management, problem solving, organizational skills, and the ability to prioritize and take initiative
    • Explaining complex technical points to laypeople uses communication skills
  • Unrelated Work Experience:
    • Supervising people demonstrates leadership, training, or delegation skills
    • Working on several stations or projects at once leads to skills in multi-tasking
    • Learning to be prompt, adhering to deadlines, and staying focused on work related duties are all aspects of professionalism
    • Interacting with customers, clients, or managers develops interpersonal and communication skills
  • Volunteering, Sports Team, Participating in an Organization, or a Personal Project/Hobby:
    • Depending on the experience, these can be opportunities to develop skills such as event planning, organization, team work, leadership, problem solving, negotiation, or teaching

How Do I Highlight Transferable Skills?

Examine job descriptions to see what employers in your industry value. Use the key words and action verbs mentioned in the job description on your resume and in your cover letter. Sometimes employers use applicant tracking systems or ATS to screen incoming resumes for keywords relevant to the particular job. Resumes that contain more of the keywords that employers are looking for will be ranked higher by the ATS. This is why it is a good idea to not only tailor each cover letter you send but each resume as well.

  • Resumes
    • Add a Leadership section to highlight supervisory experience, volunteer work, or group membership
    • Use strong actions verbs that convey your transferable skills to begin each bullet
    • See the Wentworth Action Verbs handout
  • Cover Letters
    • Tailor each cover letter to each job description by matching your transferable skills with the ones used in the job description.
    • Provide examples. Use scenarios and short stories to demonstrate the skills you have that are mentioned in the job description.
  • Interviews
    • Use your transferable skill examples when answering questions such as “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths?”, and “Why should we hire you?”.
    • Share your examples that showcase how you used or developed the specific transferable skills that the employer is looking for. Organize your examples by using the PAR Method: Project + Action = Result.
    • At the end of the interview you may be asked, “Is there anything you would like to add that we didn’t get to discuss?”. This is a great opportunity to share your transferable skill examples that you didn’t get to mention.
    • Also at the end of the interview, you will be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?”. Ask, “What characteristics does a successful person have in this organization?”. Listen to the answer and then reply with your transferable skill example that matches the characteristics that they mentioned.
  • LinkedIn
    • List transferable skills in your skills section and get endorsements
    • Talk about skills you have gained from past experiences in your summary or experience section
    • Ask for recommendations from past managers that focus on your transferable skills
    • See the LinkedIn Cheat Sheet & the Wentworth LinkedIn Guide

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Co-op Stories: Jocelyn Frechette

By: Jocelyn Frechette

Jocelyn is a rising Wentworth senior studying Electrical Engineering and minoring in Physics. She recently completed her second co-op at BAE Systems as a Technical Intern 2 and generously shared her co-op experience with us:

Tell us about your co-op at BAE Systems.

I worked at BAE Systems Inc. in Nashua, NH for both my optional and first mandatory co-op. My job title was Technical Intern 2. My role as an intern is to learn from and support more senior Electrical Engineers in their work while also working and communicating across other disciplines to ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently. The work varied from day to day and largely depended on the part of the engineering life cycle at which I was jumping into the project.  My day shifted from working in the lab and supporting testing to working at my desk to process data and document procedures.

Having completed two co-ops at BAE, Systems – how did your second co-op differ from your first at the company.

The work I did this time was vastly different from my first co-op with BAE last summer when I worked on a different project and another part of the engineering life cycle. The first time I was with BAE, the project I was a part of was in the preliminary design stage so I mainly spent the day working with PSPICE and other simulation programs doing different types of analysis. However, during my second co-op at BAE I supported design verification testing, where the designs have been completed, but are tested to assure that they are up to the specification provided by Systems Engineering and the customer. I also found that I was a lot more comfortable at BAE compared to my first time, I was able to leverage my previous experience to make sure I got the best experience possible this time around.

What are your plans for your third and final co-op this Fall? 

I will be not be returning to BAE in the Fall, due to my commitment to another company. However, fingers crossed I hope to rejoin BAE Systems after I graduate from Wentworth! This Fall, I will be working at Collins Aerospace as a Systems Engineering Co-op in Cedar Rapids, IA. I’m looking forward to getting a wide range of experiences from different companies. These experiences will help me decide what I would like to pursue as a full-time professional.

BAE taught me many lessons, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to use your resources to your advantage, you’ll meet a lot more people and have more experiences as a result. I’ve had a lot of experiences at BAE that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t just asked someone a question. The best case is that they the answer or they know someone who does that you can speak with.

What is something you worked on during co-op that inspired you? 

During my second co-op at BAE, I worked on a team of Radio Frequency (RF) Engineers in Design Verification Testing of several RF modules of an electronic warfare system in the Electronic Combat Solutions (ECS) business area. I can’t really get into too much detail, but I had the amazing opportunity to work in the lab almost everyday testing and troubleshooting hardware. I gained an interest in RF Engineering as a result and its definitely something I would like to pursue in the future. This co-op helped me realize where my passions lie and how I can achieve my goals. I think the people I worked with really helped to instill that interest in me, they always answered my questions and fueled my curiosities when I inquired about something. They took the time to explain something to me if I didn’t understand and tried their hardest to include me in conversation.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in working in the defense industry?

If you have interest in working in the defense industry, I would say start building your network now and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who works in the defense industry whether it be a student on co-op or a full-time professional. Most of the time, people are more than happy to pay it forward and help you out whether they give you a referral/recommendation or help you craft the perfect application. Don’t fret if you don’t get an opportunity in the defense industry for your co-op on the first try, work on getting some additional experience with another company and try again. Also, our CO-OP + CAREER Advisors are a great resource – I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Ria Kalinowski putting me into contact with a student who had defense industry experience and my previous internship experiences.

Some advice on the co-op search process.

Be patient and trust in your abilities, you are going to get that co-op! There were many times in my search process where I doubted myself. I panicked a couple of times because I wasn’t receiving phone calls or emails asking for an interview, but trust me, they come! I interviewed with 3 companies and had 2 other requests to interview after I accepted my offer. Be sure to put the time into actually applying, DO NOT wait until the last minute. Start early! I typically spent 2-4 hours per week searching, applying for jobs, and editing my resume and cover letters. The hard work will pay off, just trust me on that one!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jocelyn! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

4 Ways Younger Job Seekers Can Step Up as Baby Boomers Retire

By: Val Matta

Baby boomers have always been defined by their sheer numbers. Even now, as they reach retirement age, 41 million baby boomers are still working according to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center. This equals out to them still accounting for a quarter of the workforce.

As more and more retire, there will be opportunities for younger job seekers to step up and assume the baby boomers’ responsibilities. But first, you’re going to have to prove you’re ready to take the next step in your career.

By understanding what employers want, both at your current company or another one, you can present yourself in the best light. Here are some tips to landing a job previously held by a baby boomer and ensuring you can take ownership of a role without missing a step:

Advancing at Your Current Company

If your current organization is a great fit, you might want to make a move without leaving the team. For both you and the company this is a win-win situation. You get career advancement, and your company doesn’t lose a talented employee. Make the most of your situation by taking the following steps:

Find a mentor

Having a mentor is essential to young job seekers’ careers. Older employees who have been where you are will provide valuable advice to help you learn and make better decisions. Plus, as boomers retire, having one as a mentor will put you on their radar to recommend as a possible replacement.

But to get the right mentor you need to be proactive. It’s rare that an experienced employee will approach you with an opportunity. Start by making a list of people in your organization who you already have a relationship. To evaluate if they could be a good mentor, consider:

  • Their accomplishments and if they are something you aspire to
  • How their personality meshes with yours
  • If they will push you to grow and develop
  • How available they typically are
  • Their connections within the organization and outside of it

Once you have a list of potential mentors, invite your top choice for coffee and have a conversation about what you’re looking for. Explain what your career plan is and how you think they can help. The more specific you can be the better. It helps them understand exactly what they’d be providing you.

Ask what positions are opening soon

Employees don’t retire without notice. It takes planning and conversations with company managers and leaders, helping everyone prepare for the transition. However, while upcoming retirements aren’t secrets, you may not be told about coming opportunities.

Talk to your manager about your interest in moving up in the company. Don’t say ‘I want Janet’s job when she retires.’ Instead, explain you’re ready for a new challenge and ask for their feedback on what you can do to prepare and train.

If you’re not ready to take over the retiring baby boomer’s position, suggest ways you can take on some, but not all, of the responsibilities. This will help you expand your role without setting yourself up for failure.

Manager stock photo

Advancing at Another Company

Sometimes the right move for your career is changing companies and making a fresh start. You will still need to prove you have what it takes to fill a more advanced position, however, you’ll approach the situation differently than if you were already in-house.

Look for jobs the “old school” way

In recent years, companies have turned to social media to recruit younger talent. However, don’t forget companies still use traditional job boards to reach older job seekers — especially for non-entry level positions.

Don’t neglect the old school ways to find a new job opportunity. Consider adding the following to your job search:

  • In-person networking events
  • Niche job boards
  • Job fairs

Find out what skills the company is blindly missing

Hiring younger job seekers presents employers with a unique opportunity to fill a position while getting a new set of skills. However, when an employee has performed a job for a long time, the organization may not be aware of alternate skills and ways to grow the role. While baby boomers have experience, a trending concern for years has been that not all have the latest skills.

When you’re researching positions, identify the skills that might be useful yet are not in the job description. Look at as many job descriptions from the organization (even those not for your specific department), as well as comparable positions at other companies. Use that to identify any trends of skills the company could inadvertently not be looking for in their job description.

Then, when you’re writing cover letters, updating your resume, and in the interview process, showcase the experience you have as well as how these additional skills could improve the team and bring greater value to the company.

Team stock photo

Want to find out more ways to land a more advanced job? Check out this blog piece!

Blog originally posted to: https://careershift.com/blog/2019/04/4-ways-younger-job-seekers-can-step-up-as-baby-boomers-retire/

 

From Co-op to Commencement

By: Abbey Pober

When he first discovered his passion for software engineering Ethan Arrowood never thought he’d be turning down opportunities to interview with Google and Twitter to accept a co-op offer from Microsoft. Across his back-to-back co-ops, Ethan gained experience as a software engineer and worked with groundbreaking technologies to deliver innovative cloud-computing applications to leading Microsoft clients around the world. His key to success as a growing programmer? Getting involved with opensource and finding a developer community that supported him. On campus, Ethan’s active involvement with Accelerate is what led to his interview, co-op, and ultimately a full-time role with Microsoft.

Our Spring 2019 Intern, Lauren Rodolakis, spent the semester learning all about Ethan’s journey from co-op search to accepting his full-time offer at Microsoft. Read the full article on the Wentworth website, and check out our video interview here.

Arrowood at MicrosoftThank you for sharing your experience with us, Ethan! Be on the lookout for our next co-op feature. If you would like to share your co-op experience (positive or not-as-expected), or have any questions about the co-op process, please email us at coopsandcareers@wit.edu.

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.