Career and personal growth at SAP Labs Waterloo
The David Johnston Research + Technology Park is a community where challenges are tackled, advancements are made and new ways…
Choosing co-op placements can be a game-changing decision for University of Waterloo students. Every student has between four and six co-op placements during their academic career, with each being an opportunity to learn, grow and add value as a team member.
Saajan Kar is a fourth-year Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication student who recently completed a four-month co-op placement with SAP Labs Waterloo as a user assistance developer. Kar wants to pursue a career as a technical writer after graduation, and working at SAP Labs Waterloo provided him with opportunities to work with full-time staff and students from other academic programs.
“I’m working with a lot of engineers and talented writers. It was a great opportunity,” Kar said.
While the University of Waterloo is known worldwide for its computer science, engineering and mechatronic programs, Kar said the University’s arts programs also have an excellent reputation for producing top-tier talent.
“I’m passionate about writing, design and communication. I wanted a program that could shape my career in a way that would provide positive career outcomes. I love the intersection of design and writing, and in my co-op term at SAP, I was a user assistance developer. It’s technical writing with a hint of UX design. Luckily, it allowed me to be creative while developing my skills as a technical writer,” he said.
Waterloo is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the world, with opportunities to work at hundreds of startups, scale-ups, and large enterprises. For employers, standing out from the crowd is critical to attracting great talent. Kar said SAP’s reputation among his peers helped him choose SAP.
“One of my colleagues at school had done their first co-op at SAP and said it was a great placement experience. I started researching it more and learned about the SAP Intern Experience Program. There are so many cool events that go on for interns. We got to learn about the company, career growth potential, and different avenues within SAP. There are also programs for mental fitness and other interesting events always going on there,” he said.
SAP Labs Waterloo is one of six SAP offices in Canada and one of the three SAP Labs facilities here. The office was initially started as Watcom in 1981 by Professors Wes Graham and Ian McPhee. Watcom was acquired by PowerSoft in 1994 and then by SyBase in 1995. In 2010, SyBase was acquired by SAP.
“There are a lot of advantages to working at a company that has had such a history in the city with experienced people A lot of startups only have a certain age demographic. But here, you have someone like me who’s an intern and someone who’s been working here for 40 years. I get a vast amount of knowledge from these different perspectives,” Kar said.
He added that SAP’s global presence has also helped him develop connections for his network.
“Even if I don’t pursue technical writing in the long run, SAP has given me so many connections to UX designers, engineers, and developers. It’s not just that either, it’s also sales and marketing and communications teams at SAP offices around the world that I have built relationships with from working here in Waterloo,” Kar said.
Being in the SAP Labs Waterloo space in the R+T Park also allowed Kar to personally connect with his team. Working side-by-side and attending events further strengthened his working relationships with SAP team members and other co-ops.
“I’m someone who likes a social environment. I think a lot about the community that you build at work. SAP had in-person events happening almost every week. The whole office would come and hear a speaker or just grab a coffee and hang out. It really fuels me to work harder,” he said.
R+T Park Director, Mike Pereira, speaks about remote work and domestic violence at DisruptHR KW, an event about innovative change…