What being a co-op in a Billion Dollar Company (Galvanize) is like.

Gallant Tang
May 14 · 5 min read

Hello World, I’m Gallant Tang, a Software Engineer (SWE) Co-op in R&D department’s Prism and ML team during Spring of 2021. This little article is my attempt at capturing the many things that has happened over my 4-months at Galvanize.

For a TDLR, here are some of the things that made this co-op special:

  1. I got to start, engineer, research, and launch my own AWS Serverless project, Robotics
  2. The opportunity to learn from different teams– Prism team and Machine Learning team
  3. An AWS playground that’s actually a playground
  4. Socials that were always eventful! We had sponsored team lunches, a virtual tour in a Columbian coffee farm, games for fun, celebrations for people who are being promoted … you get it the point
  5. Galvanize was acquired by Diligent for a Billion USD half way through the co-op
  6. And more!

A culture of continuous growth and authenticity

It didn’t take long for me to recognize that the people at Galvanize had a serious obsession with self-development. With numerous training modules, book clubs, training sessions, and other resources, you would think of

Galvanize as half school, half corporation. Galvanize is set on putting your learning first and bringing everyone to the next level.

Now, is their training programs are perfect? That depends on you. There will still be things you need to look up and study on your own and the modules definitely aren’t designed to “hold your hands” through the process. So, if you’re the type of person who is willing to ask for help when needed, you’ll be fine. All things considered, the goal of educating you is still to ensure that you are not only able to provide value to the company in return, but also leave Galvanize as a better developer. Since there really isn’t a better way to learn than through practice, it’s a win-win at the end of the day!

The work-life balance is also great! The company’s slack channel gives you an opportunity to connect with employees from around the world! From India, to Singapore, Canada, and more. There are also channels for employees to share their lovable cat or dog or kid photos… you get the point. Weekly department stand ups also give you a chance to meet with people outside of your team. Teams also host the social about once-a-month as well!

Serverless Application Project — Robotics

The opportunity to take on this project taught us about many aspects of software engineering. Starting a repository that conformed to a strict set of policies, collaborating with others, writing code that was readable by others, researching ways to optimize the service, and so on, was incredibly difficult and rewarding!

My biggest takeaway from this experience was to slow down and be thorough. The work put into planning and understanding the parameters and tools used in the project has helped me to not only code better, but also given me new frameworks to think about how to solve different problems.

A playground that is actually a playground

What this meant for co-ops and current employees is an environment to grow in! The amount of resources made available to SWEs is tremendous. With an entire playground dedicated for SWEs to develop code, train, and conduct exploratory research, Galvanize empowers every employee to develop skills, learn, and collaborate.

Anyone who has tried to study infrastructure development themselves would find these resources to be particularly liberating. They give you the opportunity to see how other people are using the same tools and also make mistakes that might cost a fair amount. For those who are unfamiliar with infrastructure development, it’s a lot of the backend code that is often invisible to people. Therefore, it can be difficult to find large scale backend code to learn from.

ONE BILLION DOLLAR VALUATION

All things said, there is a whole dimension of Galvanize that I missed out on because we had to work remotely — Office life.

What I missed out on because of COVID-19

Snack bars, beer on tap, awesome lunch and hang out spaces, a decked out spot for games (N64 -> Switch -> Foosball and pool tables). Office dogs and unicycles. A hot dog toaster with sausage cookers for some reason. You get the idea. The office was truly filled with character and objects created by the people at Galvanize (they literally made their own street fighter arcade with raspberry pi and went to a woodworking shop to set up guide posts in the office).

I wish I could’ve been there to go on team lunches, work on projects with people, attend live demos, and collaborate in-person. However, that doesn’t take away from the experience I already had!

Conclusion

Build Galvanize

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