Co-op Q&A: Scott Hind

Scott standing next to the 8' x 5' dry-erase map he created of all the RCMP detachments in Canada

Where did you work?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police E-Division (BC) Headquarters, Information Management and Technology Branch – Geomatics (Surrey, BC).

What was your role (what type of work did you do)? What were some of your responsibilities?

As a Geomatics co-op, my primary roles were management and curation of the RCMP’s spatial data, fulfilling requests for information and mapping products, and liaising with dispatch to resolve spatial data issues. I also had the opportunity to work on bigger projects, such as developing custom geoprocessing tools specific to the needs of the RCMP, creating an 8’x 5’ map of all the detachments in Canada, and contributing spatial analysis to other departments.

How did the skills/knowledge developed in the classroom apply to your job? What did you learn?

The skills I learned at SFU provided the foundation required for me to successfully meet the requirements of this position.  This includes technical skills, such as cartographic concepts and computer programming, and transferrable skills, such as critical thinking and decision making. Throughout the duration of the work experience, I was able to improve and expand my skillset through both repetition and deliberate training.

Can you share a challenge you faced in your Co-op and how you overcame it?

The biggest challenge I faced was the initial transition to the workplace. Spending the first decades of our lives predominantly as students, it’s a big change going from the classroom to a professional environment with the expectation to perform.  However, having prior co-op experience helped ease some of the stress. Transitioning to an unfamiliar environment was uncomfortable, but I will be better prepared for my future profession having experienced it.

What was your most memorable Co-op experience?

It’s hard to pinpoint one experience that stands out more than the others. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of several projects that will continue to provide value to the RCMP long after I leave. Helping make a lasting positive impact as a public servant with the RCMP is something I will always remember.

What have you learned through your Co-op experience?

My co-op has been a valuable teaching experience in the broader picture. It has helped me get more value out of my schooling by providing real life context for the material covered in the classroom. I’ve also improved my transferable skills, such as effectively communicating ideas with others, managing time more efficiently, and working effectively within a team environment.

Additionally, this experience has helped me refine my vision for my career, as I now have a firmer grasp on the realities of being a GIS professional.

What advice do you have for future Co-op students?

Even though a work experience can be a welcomed break from the classroom, it is still a tremendous opportunity to learn. Take advantage of the talented, more experienced people surrounding you by asking questions and picking their brains. Take the time to network and make connections, even with people working outside your area of expertise. Provide quality services to others without asking for anything in return. Be proactive in seeking out criticism so you can get as much value as possible out of your co-op experience.