Work Experience at CoopDigital

Hello my name is Caitlin. I’m 15 and have spent a week with CoopDigital on work experience.

Picture of Caitlin
Caitlin Graham

I’m doing computing at school as one of my GCSEs where I’m the only girl in my computing class. So far I’ve learnt the basics of Python and MySQL using Codeacademy and Grok Learning.

I chose Co-op for my work experience because my mum, who works in IT at Co-op forwarded an email she had received about the CodeGirl event that was held at 1 Angel Square by Ladies of Code and arranged by Danielle. I emailed Danielle and got an almost instant response, it was that easy. 

I expected the people that I was going to work with in the week would have tunnel vision on their own projects. But I was wrong, the people on every team are very involved with each other, and a lot more relaxed than I expected, but they still got their jobs done very well.

On my first day I spent time with the social media team, doing Boolean searches to analyse things people had said about retailers on Fathers Day on social media, the conversations were really interesting.

My second morning was spent with the Paperfree team, which was brilliant because instead of listening and being passive, I felt like they wanted me involved with their team, and valued what I had to say.

I think my favourite day was my third. It was spent coding with Thoughtworks and BJSS. I learned to code in JavaScript, which I’d never done before.

I also learnt to code in HTML on my fourth day, which was different but interesting. Becky who is working on the Wills Alpha helped me build a website for French Bulldogs, which was brilliant.

I’ve had a great week here and felt very welcomed by everyone. Thank you.

Caitlin Graham.

Introducing Co-op Paperfree

Hello, I’m Tom, and I’m the Chief Product Engineer at CoopDigital. That means I do a bit of writing code, a bit of design and a bit of pointing at whiteboards. I’ve been here since January, and it’s been an incredible first six months. There’s a brilliant, excited team here, and I’m proud to be part of it.

You might have seen Mike’s speech from our AGM, where he set out our ambition to be, amongst other things, trusted with your data. That’s a big topic and no small feat, but we’ve been working on an experiment to help us understand what it might take.

If you’re anything like me there’s a lot of paper in your life. It just keeps turning up: envelopes full of bills, bank statements, notifications about pensions, and so on.

Often they go straight in the recycling, but sometimes I keep things around because I *might* need to refer to them again in the future. So they get thrown into heaps and piles that move slowly from the kitchen to the stairs to the attic.

Many of the people we’ve spoken to in our research feel overwhelmed by their documents: information is never to hand when they need it, things get lost, and they take up loads of room.

We think we can help, with a simple, secure app to help you go paperless. Our working title is Co-op Paperfree.

paper-free-screens

You get your documents into Paperfree by scanning them with your phone’s camera. We make the contents of the scanned photos searchable using character recognition, so you can always find what you’re looking for without needing to organise too neatly ahead of time.

But Paperfree isn’t just for storage. We’re exploring ways of to make your life easier with automatic reminders for expiry dates, and ways of safely sharing with housemates, for example.

And of course, these important documents are increasingly digital, so we’ll be supporting those equally.

For most people this is some of the most sensitive data they hold, and we’re very aware of the security and privacy risks, both technical and social. We’re working alongside Sarah Gold and her team at IF, to ensure we put our users in control of their data. We’ll talk more about this in a later post.

scan-screen

So that’s a quick introduction to Co-op Paperfree. It’s the first prototype we’re developing in this area, and we’re excited to have a handful of our colleagues testing it right now. (Gulp!)

If you’re interested in working on this, or products like it, we’re hiring engineers, designers and user researchers.

If you are a colleague or a council member and want to find out more you can join us at our regular show and tell which is every other Tuesday 9.30 on the 10th Floor of 1 Angel Square. The next one is the 19th July, hope to see lots of people there.

Tom Taylor