Co-Operative Education and Careers

Earn While You learn

Our Co-op Program, which offers paid work experience, consists of four to six work terms (16 to 24 months) over the five years of your degree program. Co-op graduates typically have job offers before they graduate because of their previous experience with employers. Software Engineering students benefit from being able to access the Co-op programs from both the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Computer Science. In recent years, the average ratio pf positions available per UNB Faculty of Computer Science student (which includes Software Engineering students) applicants has exceeded 2:1, so our Co-op students have enjoyed placement in jobs that really interest them.

A student completes a minimum number of four work terms (up to a maximum of 6) in order to achieve the Co-operative Education designation on their official transcript. The typical length of a work term is 14 to 16 weeks.

  • The Co-op program integrates full time work terms with study terms.  A typical six work-term plan follows the schedule below.
YearFall (Sep.-Dec.)Winter (Jan.-Apr.)Summer (May-Aug.)
1 Study Study Work (W1)
2 Study Work (W2) Study
3 Work (W3) Study Work (W4)
4 Study Work (W5) Work (W6)
5 Study Study Graduate

The FCS Co-op office and Engineering Co-op office will:

  • Provide coordination between employers and students with respect to recruitment, interviews and other procedures.
  • Provide an appropriate orientation before students go out on their first work term.

Some of the advantages for students in a Co-op program are:

  • Receive attractive pay on work terms and potential for higher salaries after graduation.
  • Enhance personal development, independence, and adaptability.
  • Recognize the importance of good communication skills early.
  • Practice interviewing with organizations who really want to hire someone.
  • Experience a variety of work environments that can help decide your future career choices.
  • Have the opportunity to travel.
  • Build a professional resume which allows you to clearly communicate your current skill set.
  • Participate in a professional work environment with industry specific mentorship and supervision.
  • Have the possibility to graduate debt free.
Work TermW1W2W3W4W5W6
Hourly Wage $14 $14.75 $15.50 $16.50 $17.00 $18.00

The figures above indicate average salaries for FCS Co-op students in 2011.

The Professional Experience Program (PEP) is an alternative to the Co-op Program that allows you to participate in a 12 or 16 month internship. You will combine theory and practice in major long-term projects while earning a competitive salary and gaining relevant work experience.

What Co-op & PEP Students Have to Say:

"My first work term was with Lockheed Martin logoLockheed Martin Canada in Dartmouth N.S.; it was a very enjoyable experience. I was able to apply the concepts that I learned throughout my first year of university, and to learn many more concepts and methods during my work term. During the term I was given freedom to figure things out at my own pace, but also given assistance whenever something just wasn't clicking, assistance that was really quite friendly and understanding. All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to seeing what the next work term will be like." - Richard Killam, BScSwE student

"During my Co-op work term at LashPoint Lashpoint, I gained valuable work experience and worked along side great, knowledgeable people who helped me improve on the skills acquired in the classroom. This eight month work placement really showed me what I was capable of. I got the chance to work on projects from day one to release which is a great feeling. But most importantly,  it gave me the chance to be part of something real and have my work out in the world. This opportunity will definitely reflect on my school work and career. I highly recommend this program." - David Legare, BScSwE student

"During my work terms at IBM, I had the chance to have hands on experience with the full life cycle of development, from research all the way to testing and shipping products to customers.  I know that these work terms are helping me not only expand my knowledge of my field but are giving me the great experience I need to help me now and after school.  I would highly recommend the Co-op program to anyone entering or are currently participating in the Software Engineering program." - Michael Harrington, BScSwE student

Careers in Software Engineering

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Library Edition, Jan. 2008, pp.133-136

"Computer software engineers apply the principles of computer science and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computers work. The tasks performed by these workers evolve quickly, reflecting new areas of specialization or changes in technology, as well as the preferences and practices of employers."

The same document indicates that

"Computer software engineers held about 857,000 jobs in 2006."

"Employment of computer software engineers is projected to reach 1,181,000 by 2016, an increase of 324,000 or 38% in ten years."

"In May 2006, median annual earnings of wage-and-salary computer applications software engineers were $79,780."

"In May 2006, median annual earnings of wage-and-salary computer systems software engineers were $83,370."

The Wikipedia article on software engineering does a good job at explaining that software engineering is a profession dedicated to designing, implementing, and modifying software so that it is of higher quality, more affordable, maintainable, and faster to build. Software is now embedded in most man-made machinery and systems; a systematic approach to building software is critical for the reliable and safe operation of these systems.

A U.K. site posts jobs in the software engineering sector. Reading the job postings gives an idea of the kinds of work software engineers do.

The Canadian company Blackberry, maker of the Blackberry mobile computing and communication devices, has a web page devoted to the types of things they hire software engineers to do.

Google has a web site that allows anyone to search for jobs available at their locations around the world. There were 428 job openings for software engineers at Google's U.S. and Canadian locations as of early February, 2013.

In February, 2013, a search of the Jobs at Apple web site returned a list of 542 full time software engineering jobs around the world, with the majority (495, or 91%) being in the United States.

Ideal for Careers in

  • Software design and development
  • Software quality assurance
  • Software system analysis
  • Embedded system development
  • National defense
  • Computer security
  • Safety critical system development
  • Web system development
  • Engineering project consulting

Our Software Engineering graduates find jobs with many companies, including:

  • NB Power
  • Research In Motion
  • Q1 Labs
  • CGI
  • IBM
  • Communications Security Establishment (CSE)
  • And many more!