My first engineering co-op experience at Procurify

Written by Ian Choy

Originally published on Oct 13, 2020

Image of Ian Choy, a 4th year Computer Engineering Student at UBC
Me, a 4th year Computer Engineering Student at UBC

Hi there! I’m Ian, a fourth-year computer engineering student at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

For my first co-op, I have the privilege of joining Procurify as a backend software engineer, and am currently working for Team Sticky — a team that focuses on empowering finance users with simple, reliable processes and integrations with other workplace systems.

Throughout the experience, I was surrounded by the most supportive, enjoyable, and knowledgeable teammates who constantly strived to develop a valuable product while having fun along the way.

Having been with Procurify for almost half a year now, I would like to share my experience regarding the co-op onboarding experience and the organization’s culture in general.

Onboarding as a co-op engineer at Procurify: what’s it like?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I moved to Saskatoon to help support my family. Before the co-op placement started, one major question had been worrying me: “How am I going to work if Procurify’s office is located in Vancouver?”

Thankfully, just a few weeks before my start date, I was relieved to receive an email stating Procurify had decided to go fully remote, and there was no need for me to return to Vancouver just for the co-op position. Additionally, they mentioned that a care package was heading my way.

A few days later, I received a parcel from Procurify. I was greeted with a welcome note, two Procurify T-shirts, a Procurify lanyard, a Macbook Pro, a notepad, a copy of ‘Clean Code’, and some candy! I really appreciated Procurify sending a work laptop with Procurify swag all the way from Vancouver. It made me feel immediately welcome despite being unable to work physically at the office.

My care package from Procurify

Even though it was Procurify’s first time hiring co-op students, on top of being Procurify’s first time onboarding new hires completely remotely, the entire onboarding process was a breeze.

I was amazed at how professional and well organized the onboarding process was. For the first few weeks, the co-op students had regular meetings with a few representatives from each department — which was extremely beneficial. It not only introduced us to the other team members across the organization, but it also improved our understanding of what other departments were doing day to day to produce a valuable product.

Before we could start developing anything, we had to first understand the organization’s product. Jacob, the Training Certifications Manager, had prepared a training course covering the ins and outs of Procurify. After the completion of that course, I gained a firm grasp of what the Procurify Platform was about and what we are trying to achieve. Most importantly, the course helped me see Procurify through the eyes of a customer.

As this was my first co-op experience, I was concerned with how I was going to contribute. I had no prior experience working in a professional development team, nor was I familiar with Procurify’s tech stack.

Turns out I did not have to worry at all, for each co-op student had a dedicated mentor. My mentor, Kenzy, was more than happy to guide me through simple tasks via pair programming during my first few weeks. The pair programming process allowed me to learn how he worked through various tasks and allowed me to further understand the codebase.

I really appreciated Kenzy’s patience for taking the time to answer all of my naive questions with a smile during the first few weeks — (not that I stopped asking naive questions after!). He also patiently taught me many different procedures that improved my programming workflow.

After all the pair programming, I was soon able to complete tasks and file PRs on my own.

What is culture like at Procurify for co-op students?

Procurify’s core values, courage, creativity, curiosity, compassion
Procurify’s core values

Procurify’s culture has been one of the main things I’ve enjoyed most. Their culture is based on ‘The 4 Cs’: Curiosity, Courage, Creativity, and Compassion.

These traits have been extremely evident since the moment I joined Procurify. Everyone has been friendly and open, and they are constantly sharing jokes and stories with me. Whenever I need help with anything, I am unafraid to reach out to anyone on Slack, and they are more than happy to set up a Zoom call to help out with my issue.

Another prominent aspect of Procurify’s culture is everyone’s desire to grow and learn together as a team. Everyone is constantly providing and asking for feedback, and looking for ways to improve.

Due to this feedback-rich environment, I have grown a lot as a backend engineer. For example, whenever I make pull requests, my team would leave feedback on ways that could improve my code. Reading the feedback allowed me to learn about clean code structure. Also, after my first demo to the Engineering Team, I received a lot of valid feedback from my teammates on how I could improve my presentation skills.

Learning aside, I also enjoyed how everyone fosters an environment of having fun. Every Wednesday evening, we would allocate an hour to have a game hangout session. During this session, we would play online board games or, more recently, play this new game called Among Us.

Overall experience

Overall, I had an amazing time here at Procurify. I was able to meet and work with extremely talented individuals, learn a lot of skills that enabled me to grow as a developer while having fun along the way.

I believe Procurify is a place where everyone can come together to share and build knowledge, and work and grow together to build an amazing product.

I strongly recommend anyone that desires to learn to join the team and continue their journey in Procurify’s rocket ship!

About Procurify

Procurify is a leading all-in-one spend management solution that helps mission-driven organizations deliver tracking, accountability, and end-to-end workflows for expenses and spending.

We’re always hiring new team members. To find out more about how you can get involved with life at Procurify, visit here: www.procurify.com/careers.

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