The past summer, I worked at RBC as an Innovation Developer in the High School Summer Tech Labs Program. I had an unbelievable experience thanks to the people I met and the things I learned.
Throughout the summer, RBC’s forward-thinking mindsight continuously amazed me. Despite being initially skeptical of the large financial institution’s ability to keep up with modern technology, I soon discovered RBC has not only a vision for the future but a passion for innovative technology, a belief in the ability of its employees, and the courage to take risks such as employing high school students.
While working on a web application, I got to use many skills and tools such as HTML, CSS, Angular, Java, Spring, GitHub, Visual Studio Code, and Maven. With my team, we built various frontend and backend features while working on weekly sprints in an agile environment. We also gave weekly presentations about our progress and work. These helped me become a better speaker and develop my ability to give concise and engaging presentations.
Overall, this was my first time working on a large codebase with other developers so I learned a ton about collaborating in a professional environment and the experience helped me improve both my technical and personal skills.
I also had the opportunity to attend many workshops on topics like voice technology, data science, and developing web applications. These helped me expand my knowledge about topics such as data science and the future applications of voice assistants.
Through the program I became friends with around 20 other developers who all had similar passions, interests, and goals as me. It was incredible to be working in an environment surrounded by so many other motivated people. Every day at work we all inspired each other to work harder, grow, and improve our skills. After work, we bonded over fun events such as going out to eat and doing an escape room.
Outside our team, the community inside the Tech and Operations (T&O) division was just as strong. Almost everyone was kind and friendly. I regularly met with other employees and co-op students to make new acquaintances and share knowledge with new people. At first, I thought everyone would be resistant to talking with a 16-year-old, however, I soon realized most people were curious to learn more about me, just as I was them. By talking to a data scientist working in RBC’s research department, Borealis AI, I learned about using artificial intelligence for real applications and the importance of continuous education for growth. It was through setting up coffee chats that I had some great discussions and learned many important life lessons.
RBC organized several social events over the summer. One was a Summer Social at a restaurant where we got to network with other T&O employees. We also participated in a food drive and had a can stacking competition with the donated non-perishable items. Other events included a Blue Jays Game, an internal tech conference, a hackathon, and a debate about voice assistants.
Thinking back, the community I met and the things I learned made this an unbelievable experience! I can’t wait to apply some of the skills I learned on my future endeavors.
The biggest key takeaway I have from this experience is simply the value of having a strong community. Being surrounded by motivated, like-minded, passionate, exceptional people can make any experience unforgettable.