Monday, September 6, 2010

Completing a four month Coop at ACL Services

Having finished a four month Co-op at ACL as a software developer, here is a report of what I have done:

ACL Services is a software company based in Vancouver, specialized in data analysis, audit and reporting software. We have about 200 employees in Vancouver and have various contracted companies world-wide. It dominates more than 50% market share of Auditing software; ACL AuditExchange – The Business assurance platform – is their major software service. The work environment is very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Colleagues are always around to get support and have good communications with everyone in the team. We have a weekly mingling on every Friday and have a quarterly fiscal year party and company meetings. I am in charge of assisting with understanding and communicating the details and nuances related the deployment and configuration of its products. I also coordinate activities to facilitate its cross-functional teams.

My major roles in the team are deploying new builds to the development’s servers and modifying configuration files to meet daily changes, updating various databases in different platforms (MS SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL). I work mainly on Geronimo Apache Server to deploy various EAR and War files, ensuring new features function properly. I conduct test cases to our enterprise software, report bugs and utilize internal issue tracking system. One of my projects is that I build new installers and test on different platforms to find any issues; this requires me to knowcommercial database applications in depth. Furthermore, I make powerpoint presentations and diagrams that describe new configuration changes in our platform to the development team.

Since this is a fairly big software company and follows traditional software circle, I see the whole picture of software development. I also witness restructuring the organization and pros and cons of outsourcing. Since this is not a heavy coding position and more about coordinating with other teams, I wish I could have bit more coding side of tasks. But overall, this is a very valuable experience and I have learned a lot from this work term.

one of my achievements in this work-term is that I am now able to understand a structure of big enterprise software and enable to deploy them myself. This requires a lot of configuration changes and modifying database changes. I also manage to handle multiple commercial database applications. Furthermore, I communicate with teams from different locations to coordinate, use various communication tools such as teleconference, emails, shared documents and repositories. For improvements, I would take a cheat sheet from the first day of work. That is, I had millions of small things that are taught and learned when I encountered problems, but I had to ask a same question more than a couple of times since I did not take a good note in the beginning. After start taking a cheat sheet and updating with problems and answers, I was able to solve issues myself. From the next coop, I would organize a cheat sheet so that I would not need to ask a same question over and over again.


SFU Computer Science Co-op Program

ACL Services

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