Each year, Safe Software offers practicum positions to BCIT students in the GIS program. I was lucky to be chosen for a position on the FME Customer Solutions Team. My goal was to create and update custom transformers using ArcGIS Online’s REST API to integrate FME with ArcGIS Online services.
I started my practicum in April, with little knowledge of REST APIs and FME. I was always interested in building web applications but was too intimidated to learn on my own. Through my time at Safe Software, I learned about the power of APIs and how they can be used to build web applications with real-time data. With existing resources and a lot of help from the FME Technical Support Specialists, I was able to create new how-to articles on using the integrations with ArcGIS Online services.
What is it like working in 2022?
In this new remote working environment, Safe Software offers an optional hybrid model of work. This is where you can work fully remotely or come into the office a flexible number of days. Meetings are often still online regardless.
Safe Software has a new office as of 2019 that occupies the top four floors. There is also free onsite parking in the private parking garage underneath the building. Perks of working in the office are that there are the free drinks (pop, juice, tea, and coffee) and subsidized food if you ever forget your lunch or want a quick snack.
“I’m also a BCIT GIS student. Should I do my Practicum at Safe Software?”
I can say my GIS Practicum at Safe Software has been interesting, educational, and most of all fun. This is all thanks to the great people and work environment at Safe Software.
During my time at Safe, I was responsible for updating and creating articles and custom transformers associated with ArcGIS Online’s REST APIs. I was given creative freedom to do this. Every article was a collaboration between myself and my supervisor, Sienna Emery, and sometimes involved the rest of the team. I think it’s rare to be given this much freedom as a student. I managed to create use cases that I thought were interesting and it led to more ownership of my work.
- Getting Started with ArcGIS Online Custom Transformers
- Food Desert Analysis Using ArcGIS Online and FME
- Automatically Enhancing Excel Data and Publishing to ArcGIS Online
I also attended and participated in Innovation Daze at Safe. Innovation Daze was a week where the developers were allowed to create any FME passion project. During the presentations, I learned about all of FME’s capability for handling data, the software’s potential and where not to develop in the future.
I collaborated with another practicum student from my cohort, Matt Meeboer, to complete a mini Innovation Daze project looking at the Slack API to scrape keywords from a channel’s message history and count how many times they appear. This project was internal, but valuable in learning the opportunities and potential limitations of FME in a real application.
I have learned a lot in my short time here at Safe Software! It all started from the FME Desktop Basic Training Course and the FME Server Course. I learned how to install and run my own FME Server. I learned about APIs, Webhooks, and other integrations with FME. I also attended virtual training, and an all-new Accelerator training event for both training purposes and to provide direct feedback on the training material. Due to a wide range of options at Safe, there are many educational opportunities for practicum students to explore.
Safe Software values having a good work-life balance. During work days, you can participate in many clubs that Safe has to offer. Drop-in soccer at lunch time (if you are in the office) and many fun channels in Slack. This includes (but not limited to) #fun_pets to showcase your furry friends, #fun_tea for the tea fanatics, #fun_bujo for all your bullet journal needs, and #fun_photography for those interested in amateur photography. Every month Safe has a “Monthly Virtual Coffee Chat” to meet people in the company as if you were to bump into them in the hall for 15 minutes. With remote and Work From Home (WFH) environments here to stay, I believe it is important to have such outlets to keep us connected to some sense of “office culture” and socialization.
Favorite Moments at Safe
I asked other BCIT students what their favorite moments were. Matt Meeboer’s highlight was working on ArcGIS Survey123 and Field Maps integrations using webhooks and REST APIs, and he also created a video summarizing his work. Overall, he liked getting to know the team at Safe, our weekly music sharing during “Municipal Mondays”, and learning a lot more about the FME Platform in a supportive environment.
- Article: Automating Workflows from Survey123 to ArcGIS using FME Server
- Video: Automate Integrations with Survey123 and ArcGIS Field Maps using FME and Webhooks
My colleagues mentioned that the supportive learning environment at Safe is one of the key features. They know that practicum students are still in the learning stages and are willing to support any questions they may have.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete my practicum at Safe. To learn more about opportunities at Safe Software, visit safe.com/careers.