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My Experiences Working at the WDS-ITO

Seiya TeradaBlog post by Seiya Terada (WDS-ITO Co-op Student)

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a co-op student at the World Data System – International Technology Office (WDS-ITO). The skills I developed and the experience that I gained from this 8-month work term were not something that I could learn in school, only from being in a professional working environment.

During my co-op term, I had opportunities to work on many projects, including creating websites, visualizations, presentation material, and much more. Some projects were more challenging than others, but I had lots of fun learning as I worked on them. The first big project I worked on was making a WDS Member visualization with Adobe After Effects. The visualization shows a globe that spins a full 360-degrees while highlighting the location of each WDS Member. This was my first time using After Effects, let alone making an animation-type visualization, so I had a hard time at first. I learned the basics of After Effects using online resources, then I learned to use more advanced features like masking, which I applied to the animation. The biggest struggle in making the animation was keeping the file size small, since it is to be used on the WDS-ITO website. This meant keeping the animation to a bare minimum, so that the file doesn’t get bloated.

The project I am particularly proud of and had the most fun working on was the website I made for the Research Metadata Schemas Working Group (WG) of the Research Data Alliance. The website hosts visualizations that are based on data from a survey conducted by the WG. As a software engineer undergrad, I was excited that I had a chance to build a website from scratch using my coding skills. I had never used HTML to build a website until this project, I had not even taken any courses on it at university, and so everything was new to me. I therefore had to learn HTML syntax as well as coding practices by using online resources before I started working on the website. I realized that building a sleek website from scratch with my current knowledge would have taken forever, so I decided to use a website template I found online to fill in my knowledge gaps, and tweaked it to fit to what I needed. The skills and experiences I gained from these projects are something I will never forget moving forward with my career.

Overall, I had a lot of fun working as a co-op student and it was a good experience. Although some of the projects were challenging, I was able to learn a lot and developed skills that I did not have before. The work environment was relaxed and easy to work in. I was also able to make a lot of unforgettable memories along the way thanks to the people I worked with. This whole experience will definitely help me with my career moving forward.