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Written by: Linda Lupini

Grow with Copperleaf: A Journey from Co-op to Full-time Employee Featuring Naveen Sivasankar

At Copperleaf®, we believe in investing in our people and providing growth opportunities for every level in their careers.  As part of our Grow with Copperleaf program, we support our co-op students by providing meaningful experiential learning, guidance and mentorship, and in some cases, the opportunity to join our company as an employee after graduation. In this interview, we speak with Naveen Sivasankar about his journey from co-op to full-time employee.

Can you share what you do at Copperleaf and how your co-op experience has helped you get to your current position?

“I’m a software developer on the Business Process Automation team. Our current focus is on enhancing workflows within our software applications so that clients have a better user experience. We’re also making improvements to various aspects of our solution to support architecture improvements across the codebase.

My co-op experience really helped me understand not only Copperleaf’s tech stack and development process, but also the inner workings and decisions of the company. I gained a good understanding of the different departments, some of the reasons behind major decisions, and what makes our products stand out from the competition. My technical knowledge combined with the domain knowledge I gained as a co-op made returning as a full-time employee a lot easier.”

What’s your favourite memory of your co-op experience?

“My co-op experience took place while the pandemic was in full swing and we were all working from home. Although I socialized well with my teammates virtually, I had never met them in person. Fortunately, towards the end of my co-op term, the pandemic curve had flattened and I was finally able to meet in person and go kayaking with everyone in Deep Cove! That team event is my favourite memory.”

What new skills did you develop at Copperleaf?

“Overall, it was a great learning opportunity and I developed many new skills. I gained a greater understanding of full-stack development, including .NET (C#), SQL, and Angular, and learned more about agile development and how to navigate a large codebase with over 1 million lines of code. In terms of soft skills, I improved my communication overall and learned how to ask better questions.”

What about your co-op experience made you want to come back to Copperleaf as a full-time employee?

“I really enjoyed working at Copperleaf as a co-op because I felt supported by people who cared about my wellbeing and professional development. My teammates helped me settle in quickly and taught me a lot about the organization and product development. Additionally, it was easy to seek advice through our team messaging platform or hop on a quick call when I needed further clarification.

I also appreciated that my manager actively prioritized my growth by taking time to learn about my goals and what I wanted to gain from the experience. He gave me opportunities to experience different areas within the codebase so that I could become a well-rounded developer.”

I really enjoyed working at Copperleaf as a co-op because I felt supported by people who cared about my wellbeing and professional development.

Would you recommend Copperleaf to other students or recent graduates looking to gain professional experience?

“Absolutely! Copperleaf is the perfect size for those looking to get started in their career, as it captures the best parts of both a startup and a large tech company—it merges the close personal connections you can form at a startup with the robust support and guidance of a large tech company, while still allowing you to make significant contributions and directly impact the design of products. This means that people can see the results of their hard work and use what they’ve learned to progress further in their career.”

How has Copperleaf supported your growth as a young professional?

“Copperleaf has provided me with lots of growth opportunities. I gained insights into better development practices and conventions through code reviews and asking others for help. My 1:1s with my team lead allow me to share my thoughts about processes, development goals, and other aspects of working life. It’s nice to have the opportunity to have personal conversations and align on what makes sense for both me and my team.”

How would you describe the culture at Copperleaf?

“I had a great time working here as a co-op and part of the reason I came back was because of the culture. Since the culture was developed collaboratively by all employees, there’s a greater sense of ownership and it doesn’t feel like we’re forcing ourselves to fit in. On a daily basis, I’ve had nothing but pleasant and respectful interactions with others regardless of where they fit within the organizational structure. I feel like everyone has a positive attitude and growth mindset, and is keen to provide a great experience and help improve our products.”

What are you most excited about for the future?

“My team is currently working on software architecture improvements and I’m excited to see the results pay off. There are some amazing things in the works that will improve the user experience and allow us to provide more value for clients. On a more personal level, I’m excited about further improving my skills and becoming more involved with major decisions that affect the direction of our decision analytics solutions and development processes.”

We’re dedicated to employee growth, development, and happiness because our most valuable asset is our people. Find out more about what it’s like to work at Copperleaf.

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