Faculty of Computer Science blog

“Co-op gave me a resumé”

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Jun 7, 2023

Category: Alumni Spotlight

When Reuben Peter-Paul (BCS’05, MCS’08) began studying programming in his undergraduate computer science degree at UNB, he knew he was in the right place.

“I fell in love with programming. The idea of solving a puzzle and building something you can’t see but that gives you a sense of structure and scale in your mind – it’s fascinating.”

Now a principal software engineer with an impressive resumé of companies and accomplishments behind him, Reuben says he’s stayed on the programming side because of that passion.

Hailing from Pabineau First Nation, Reuben enrolled in the computer science co-op program to gain work experience and give himself an edge after graduating. “It gives you an instant resumé and employment-ready skills. It also gives you the ability to negotiate a decent salary for your first job.”

After graduating and working in consulting for a year, Reuben returned to UNB for a master’s degree. It was there that he gained several mentors who guided him in his career. “The self-directed study, the closer relationship with professors and the chance to build a network really helped me grow and mature. I’ve leaned on that network and mentorship ever since.”

Not long after graduating, Reuben was alerted to a job at the National Research Council by one of his mentors at UNB, and was hired. “It was a pivotal position for me – it set me up for success down the road.”

Down the road came positions as Senior Software Engineer and Senior Architect in the energy management division of Siemens at their offices in Fredericton. While there, he designed and implemented core features and subsystems of the company’s world-leading Demand Response Management System for power grids, and designed complex high-volume Internet of Things data management systems that could scale. He also did a stint at Resson, a Fredericton AgTech company that analyzes large-scale data from satellites, aircraft, drone and tractor-mounted sensors to provide insights and awareness about agricultural crops, fields and plants.  

These days, Reuben finds himself as a Principal Software Engineer at STEM Inc., a global leading company in AI-driven clean energy solutions. “I came onto the STEM team in the early days – because of relationships I built in the energy developer circle. As an energy AI company we deliver and operate battery storage solutions that maximize renewable energy generation and help build a cleaner, more resilient grid. Being part of a successful start-up is something I’m really proud of. It’s incredibly interesting – we’ve hit a major milestone each year and continue to grow.”

Reuben works at home in Fredericton, while the head office of the company is in San Francisco. Despite his experience and success, he says he’s resisted taking the managerial route. “I get the same kick out of programming as I would playing a video game or solving a puzzle. I get into a flow, and that state of focus is very enjoyable. It’s building something, which I love.”

Although he’s traveled around the world for work – to the U.S., India, Italy, and Germany to name a few – Reuben has managed to remain New Brunswick-based even while working with Silicon Valley companies. “Gaining experience from the get-go, having good mentors and building a strong network is key. I work hard to uncover opportunities and stay ahead of the changing landscape. It’s been amazing to do all that from right here at home in New Brunswick.”