What is it like to work at Ruboss as a coop student?

by Peter Armstrong, Co-Founder / CEO

This blog post was written for UVic and UBC students interested in considering becoming a Ruboss coop student. If this describes you, and you're interested, please email a resume to peter@ruboss.com.

Ruboss regularly hires coop students from the University of Victoria, and we are open to hiring students from UBC as well. We hire Computer Science, Software Engineering, Math, and Physics students who love to code!

Since May 2020, we have hired over 20 UVic coop students to work on Leanpub and gain relevant industry experience writing real production code in Ruby on Rails, React, Remix, and Haskell. We started hiring UVic students right at the start of the pandemic, hiring 6 UVic coop students in May 2020, some of whom had lost their coop work placements due to the pandemic.

We enjoy working with UVic coop students, since they bring energy, new ideas, and unique perspectives, as well as helping us to continually improve our onboarding and training processes. (Also, we get to know talented people who we may work with in future, and we're happy to help UVic students gain valuable work experience.)

You can read some of the testimonials from coop students we hired in 2020 and in 2021 below. If you want to learn what the best things about working at Ruboss are, there's no better place to start.

Ruboss prides itself on being a great place for a UVic coop student to work. Our founder Peter Armstrong did a coop Computer Science degree from UVic, and that experience directly led to his Silicon Valley career, which led to him creating Leanpub back in BC. Besides being a way to recruit smart people to work on Leanpub (we know what the hard classes are), this is our way of giving back.

The best thing about working at Ruboss is that you get to work on Leanpub: a real production web application used by thousands of authors and hundreds of thousands of readers.

Ruboss sometimes hires coop students, either on the full stack team or on the book generation team.

For the full stack team: The coop students we hired in 2020 helped ship the redesigned version of Leanpub you see today. The coop students we hired in 2021 and beyond helped to build the next version of Leanpub, which we are building based on React, GraphQL, and Remix on the client and Ruby on Rails and GraphQL Ruby on the server. Our infrastructure is all AWS, of course. (During 2021, we were actually using Next.js on the client, but when Remix was open sourced, we evaluated it and switched to it, since even though Next.js is great, Remix was a better fit for Leanpub.)

For the parser team: The coop students we hired in 2020 and in 2021 helped ship a redesigned version of the Leanpub book generation engine. We ported the code from a private fork of a Ruby library to a private fork of Pandoc and CommonMark.hs. If you love Haskell and want to be paid to code it all day, this is the coop position for you.

Testimonials from 2020 and 2021 UVic Coop Students

“I have grown tremendously as a developer throughout my coop at Ruboss. I was exposed to various industry standard technologies such as React, Ruby on Rails, and GraphQL which made me much more confident in my skills. I was also very privileged to work alongside very capable and smart developers. The flexibility of my work schedule at Ruboss allowed me to have a great work-life balance while still pushing me to become a better developer. I also firmly believe that my experience at Ruboss has increased my likelihood of getting interviews and offers from other companies.”

- Umutjan, 2021 Coop Student

“I’m Elisabeth, and I worked as a Junior Software Developer for Ruboss, starting off with front-end development and eventually helping organize the release testing and documentation. It was a great experience. I had very little experience working with websites, so I had to pick up several frameworks very quickly, but everyone was super helpful, and I was given plenty of space to learn.

Ruboss provided a great working environment for me. The hours were flexible, and the combination of set communication hours and individual work hours allowed me to focus on my work and still communicate effectively with the team. Rarely did I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work I had, but rarely did I feel like I didn’t have enough to do. Overall, it was a great experience, and I would definitely recommend a coop at Ruboss to anyone interested in web programming.”

- Elisabeth, 2020 Coop Student

“Ruboss offered a unique and flexible work environment where I could find my niche and strive.

As a first-time co-op student with minimal experience, I was hired as a Junior Full Stack Web Developer and was worried I wouldn’t be able to contribute. Peter quickly established expectations and assured me the priority was to learn, and that developing high-quality code would follow. I was encouraged to work on whatever area of the codebase I was most inclined to develop, rather than being assigned a specific role. While the learning was largely self-taught, there was no shortage of knowledge and willingness to provide help when needed. By the end of my work term, not only did I learn the Leanpub Stack, but I learned how to effectively research and dissect a complex problem.

The work environment at Leanpub is nothing short of flexible and efficient, and I sincerely hope I can find this balance in future co-ops and careers. Peter recognizes both the value and quality of your time, and allows you to structure your days to suit the needs of both the organization and yourself. While at Ruboss, there was ample opportunity for collaboration and dedicated free time to code - something I strongly believe maximized productivity. For anyone who is self-motivated and enjoys a work from home environment, I would strongly consider applying for a position with Ruboss Technology Corporation.”

- John, 2021 Coop Student

“A major contributor to my growth as a student and employee was the CEO of Leanpub, Peter Armstrong. Despite running Leanpub, he still spent time reviewing and critiquing the pull requests of co-op students. Some principles of Lean publishing are shown in how he supported the students: (1) allow the student to produce work, (2) provide feedback, and (3) allow the student to iterate on work with a richer understanding.

Another thing to note is some of the development tools and languages learned throughout the work term. I learned Ruby on Rails and JavaScript React to scratch the surface. Others may learn tools such as GraphQL and Next.js. Leanpub is always adapting, and with it, the development tools required by the student. However, one thing is certain—the student will get to observe and even produce some of those changes.”

- Ty, 2020 Coop Student

“When I was a Junior Coop Software developer at Ruboss, I took on a parser related project and was able to learn about parsers, functional programming, AWS, and much more. Additionally, I had the opportunity to grow as a software developer through being allowed to take responsibility for work, challenge myself, and get help when needed. Ruboss was a great place to work and helped me become a much better software developer.”

- Mark, 2020 Coop Student

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