Software Engineering
2022 Class Profile
University of Waterloo

About the program

Software Engineering (SE) at the University of Waterloo is an interdisciplinary program supported by both the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Engineering. Students spent 8 semesters in school with similar schedules and also gained work experience over 6 co-ops. Undergraduates in the Software Engineering program are awarded a Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) degree (by request, the diploma may say Baccalaureate of Software Engineering) at the end of their 4 ⅔-year journey.

SE is commonly compared to Computer Science, and is often seen as its more-constrained, Engineering-oriented counterpart. Prospective students may wonder whether SE is the right fit for them, and whether they’ll enjoy the environment. This profile attempts to showcase who SE 2022 students are, what they've done, and what their journey through university was like.

This profile is not affiliated with the SE program or the University of Waterloo in any way.

For more photos of the class of 2022, check out the yearbook!


The findings in this report were derived from the results of a class survey. In total, 63 out of 101 (62%) graduating SE students, and 3 who were in SE but transferred out, responded.

SE classes can vary significantly depending on the year, so generalize from this survey to other classes at your own risk.

Study terms are defined as 1A, 1B, 2A, up to 4B (8 terms). 4 month co-op terms occur after every study term starting after 1B and ending before 4B. Government shutdowns due to the Covid-19 virus began in February 2020, partway through the 3A study term.

All analysis involving income is expressed in Canadian dollars (CAD). A constant rate of 1 USD to 1.3 CAD was used to make comparisons consistent and simple. As this rate varied over time, 1.3 was chosen due to its being an approximate average USD to CAD exchange rate over the past 5 years.

The content of this class profile was inspired by the many profiles across Waterloo Engineering that preceded it.





Students come from many different ethnic backgrounds. There is a significant number of respondents who identify as East Asian or Caucasian.

There are many on-campus communities that support ethnic minorities on campus such as UW Black Association for Student Expression (UW BASE), UW Indonesian Students Association, and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).


Year of Birth

85% of respondents were born in 1999.

Birth year


23% of respondents identify as women. There are many on-campus communities that support the success of women in Computer Science and Engineering at UWaterloo. For example, Women in Software (WiSE), Women in Computer Science (WiCS), Women in Engineering (WiE), and Women Who Code Waterloo.

Gender distribution

Sexual Orientation

At least 5% of respondents are part of the LGBTQ+ community. There are many on-campus communities that support LGBTQ+ community such as Engiqueers, and Glow. This is not to say that only non-heterosexual people are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sexual orientation

Home Location

74% of respondents grew up in Ontario, of which 60% grew up in the GTA/Toronto area specifically. In Canada, respondents also grew up in other provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Quebec. Around the globe, respondents primarily grew up in India and China.

Where is home for you?
Are you an international student?


First language

48% of respondents' first language is not English. There was a significant number of respondents who spoke English and Mandarin as their first language, but overall, there is a wide variety of languages spoken by students.

What was your first language?

Polyglots, the Lot of Us

63% of respondents speak at least two languages. The most common languages spoken, other than English, are French and Mandarin. Among respondents who spoke 3+ languages, French was a common spoken language.

How many languages do you speak?
What languages do you speak?

Family background

Level of education

There are more parents with Master's and Doctorate degrees than those with Bachelor degrees. Compared to our parents, only a handful of respondents are planning on attending grad school. This could be a generational shift, or could be because entering the software industry does not require a Master's or Doctorate.

What is the highest level of education your parents/guardians have completed?


66% of respondents come from families whose income before they started at Waterloo is higher than the median Canadian family income in 2017 ($92,990). These numbers represent the income the students' family had prior to starting University. The majority of respondents have a family income between $100,000 and $200,000.

What was your family income before coming to UWaterloo?


The majority of respondents have at least 1 sibling. With 44% of respondents being the eldest child.

How many siblings do you have?
Are you an eldest or youngest child?

High School, Enriched Programs & CEGEP

Admission Average

The high school average for the class was 95.6% and the median was 96%. The 1st decile was 93%. Although it is recommended to have a high 90s average to get accepted into the program, 20% of respondents had an average less than 95%.

What was your high school admission average?

Enriched Programs

42% of respondents did not take part in any enriched program. The most popular Enriched Programs among respondents were AP and IB.

Did you participate in any enriched programs in high school?

Calculus AB, Chemistry and Physics 1: Algebra Based were the most popular AP courses that respondents took.

Which APs did you take the course or exam for?

Chemistry, Language A: Literature and Mathematics were the most popular HL courses.

Which IB courses did you take higher level (HL)?

Respondents took a wide variety of SL courses.

Which IB courses did you take standard level (SL)?


Of the respondents who attended CEGEP, 75% of them graduated it.

Did you attend CEGEP?

CEGEP Fields

The students who attended CEGEP took part in science, mathematics, and computer science programs. To convert CEGEP course credits into university credits, you can find more information here.

What CEGEP program were you in?

Tech Interest

Coding Background

Before University

The majority of respondents learned how to code before starting university. Fear not, the first year of the program provides helpful introductory programming courses CS 137 and CS 138.

Did you know how to code before university?


61% did not have any close family who worked in tech.

Did any of your close family work in tech before university?

Programming Languages

First Steps

Java and Python were the most popular first programming languages. Followed by Visual Basic and Turing.

What was your first programming language?

Early Birds

Java, Python, and C++

What languages did you know before university?

Favourite Language

JavaScript, Python, and C++ You'll notice a trend coming up - respondents are most comfortable with Python, C++ and Javascript and those three are also used most often on co-ops & interviews!

What languages are you most comfortable with now?

Co-op Language

What languages do you use the most during co-ops?

Interview Language

What is your preferred programming language for technical interviews?



3A to 4A averages were higher than 1A to 2B averages. Classes moved online from 3A onwards, altering the format of assessments. This along with more freedom of choice for courses seems to have led to higher class averages.

Grade distributions from 1A to 4A.
Grade median from 1A to 4A.


Attendance consistently dropped term by term, with a huge drop between 2B and 3A. 3B and 4A have the most divided attendence numbers. On one hand, some respondents might have enjoyed their 4A & 4B classes more as they get to select almost all of their classes. On the other hand, some respondents may have preferred attending courses asynchronously.

Percentage course attendance from 1A to 4A.


56% of respondents failed at least one midterm. Failing a midterm does not necessarily mean that the course was also failed.

Total number of midterms failed.

18% of respondents failed at least one class.

Total number of classes failed.

Respondents failed classes from a variety of departments.

Which classes did respondents fail?

Office Hours

72% of respondents went to at least 1 office hour.

Have you ever attended prof or TA office hours?

Favourite Courses

Respondents enjoyed CS 343, CS 449 and CS 241 along with other courses from variety of departments.

What was your favourite course?
Per term, respondents liked: MATH 135, CS 138, SE 212, CS 247, CS 349, CS 343 and ECE 454. Favourite courses diversified as respondents took more electives in later terms.
What was your favourite class per term?

Interactive: Click on a term to view the favourite classes for that term.

Least Favourite Courses

Least enjoyed courses are scattered across the board. 8 people agreed that SE 463 was their least favourite course.

What was your least favourite course?
Per term, respondents disliked ECE 105, ECE 106, ECE 222, MSCI 261, MATH 213, SE 380 and SE 454 the most.
What was your least favourite class per term?

Interactive: Click on a term to view the least favourite classes for that term.

Favourite Professors

Respondents had many incredible professors during their undergrad.

Who was your favourite professor?

Minors and Options

8 respondents responded to doing an a minor or option during their undergrad degree.

What option/minor did you do?


New Product and Advanced Technology were the two most popular categories for FYDP projects.

What category is your FYDP in?

67% of respondents enjoyed their FYDP project.

Do you like your FYDP project?

38% of respondents may continue their FYDP.

Do you plan to continue FYDP?

Respondents spent more time working on FYDP during 3B than in 4A.

How many hours did you spend on FYDP each week?


Students have the opportunity to take extra courses during each term. This is called overloading. In most terms, respondents didn't overload. However, in 2B more respondents chose to overload than not to.

Have you ever overloaded a term?

Respondents overloaded for a variety of reasons including having a lighter future term, taking more electives and taking classes offered only in specific terms.

Why did you choose to overload?

CR/NR in 3A

Most students did not CR/NCR any courses. Due to a covid-impacted term, respondents were able to CR/NCR any courses meaning that a mark would not show up on their transcript regardless of them getting a credit or not.

Did you CR/NCR any courses this term?

Replacing low marks and going on exchange were the main reasons to CR/NCR. Most respondents chose to do this to replace low marks from showing up on their transcript or impacting their average. It is also a side effect from taking courses on exchange (which must be CR/NCR).

Why did you CR/NCR courses?


Respondents mostly lived on campus in their 1A and 1B terms and then started to fan out around Waterloo in subsequent terms. Online classes also allowed students to travel across the country and across the world while studying.

Where did you live?

Rent costs followed a downward trend across terms Between 1A and 1B, cost of residence ranged between $2000 to $5000 for the term. Presumably this is due to the cost of living on campus. From 2A to 4A, housing costs stayed around $2000 to $4000. However, for the first fully remote term after covid, there were many more respondents who lived rent free most likely with their families.

How much did you pay for housing each term?

Interactive: Click on a term to view how much it cost for housing for that term.

Respondents generally lived with up to 5 people total.

How many people did you live with each term?

Interactive: Click on a term to view how many people lived with each term.


Respondents typically did 1+ hackathons/term from their 1A to 2A terms, afterwards most did not attend any more hackathons.

How many hackathons did you attend each term?

Side Projects

Respondents spent more time working on side projects in their lower years.

How many hours did you spend on side projects each week?

SE Event Participation

Respondents participated in more SE events during their lower years.

How many hours did you spend paticipating in SE events each week?

Technical Extracurriculars

Respondents participated in more technical extracurriculars earlier on in their university career.

What technical extracurriculars did you participate in?

Respondents participated in more technical extracurriculars (e.g. design teams) during their lower years.

How many hours did you spend participating in technical extracurriculars each week?

Non-technical Extracurriculars

Respondents also enjoyed participating in a variety of other clubs.

Popular non-technical extracurriculars.

Respondents participated in more non-technical extracurriculars during their upper years. However during 2B, participation in these extracurriculars was fairly low.

How many hours did you spend participating in non-technical extracurriculars each week?


Burnout seemed to be higher every other term (e.g. 1b, 2b, 3b).



At least 166 companies have hired an SE student. Students had the opportunity to work in many different types of environments, including lean startups, writing code in Japan, researching with professors, and working at large tech companies. While a majority of students were software engineers during their co-ops, some explored other areas such as game development, product management, and trading.

The benefit of having 6 co-op terms is that students get to explore different company sizes doing different positions in different cities. This is invaluable for students because it helps students figure out what they want upon graduation.

Which companies have you co-oped at?
Less enjoyed, more enjoyed, no data
Fewer students, more students


Co-ops happened all across North America, and a few across the world! The majority that co-oped in the US worked in California or on the east coast.

Even though the University of Waterloo did not authorize any co-ops outside of Canada once the pandemic hit, many respondents said they worked in the US for their last few co-ops. This might have been possible due to the University lowering the number of required (authorized) co-ops.

Where have you worked during co-ops?
Co-op Location:
Kitchener / Waterloo
Toronto / GTA
Ontario Other
Montreal / Quebec
West Coast Canada
Central Canada
East Coast Canada
California USA
East Coast USA
Pacific Northwest USA

Interactive: Click on a location to hide or display the plot for that location.

Favourite Locations

30% of respondents picked California as their favourite work location, and 41% of respondents' favourite work location was in the US. Toronto was a close favourite with 24% of respondents picking it as their top choice. The pandemic likely hindered students from exploring opportunities outside of Canada as the percent of US locations dropped from 68% in 2021 to 41% in 2022. On the flip side, it is also surprising that California has dropped from 39.6% in 2021 to 30% in 2022, which suggests it may not be the right place for everyone, especially with the infamous cali or bust mentality.

Where was your favourite work location?


Median hourly compensation increased over time. By the last co-op term, compensation had on average increased by 2.8x compared to the first co-op term. Average hourly compensation per co-op term was $19.86, $30.14, $38.18, $42.21, $46.37, $51.55 (in CAD).

The difference could be explained by the exchange rate between the USD and the CAD, as more respondents started working in the US, and an increase in salaries and stipends to compensate for the difference in living costs between different locations. As a very loose example, renting in San Francisco typically costs between $2,000 to $2,500 per month. In comparison, Waterloo housing costs approximately $800 per month.

Note that these values do not include additional compensation such as housing stipends.

Average hourly compensation per co-op term in CAD

Co-op Applications Breakdown

As respondents gained work experience, they applied to fewer jobs over time, found more jobs outside of WaterlooWorks and returned to previous employers more frequently. Respondents applied to 3 times fewer jobs by their last co-op.

Average number of co-op applications, interviews, and offers
How did you find your co-op?

Co-op Ratings

Most respondents had an "Excellent" or "Outstanding" co-op rating. Across every co-op term, at least 44% of respondents received an outstanding co-op rating and 91% received an excellent co-op rating or higher. During the 4th and 5th co-op terms, 60% and 59% of respondents received an outstanding.

Co-op ratings per term

Co-op Roles

Respondents worked in a variety of roles, the most popular being fullstack and backend roles. It is important to note that this is not the exact job title from each co-op. Rather, it reflects the various roles that respondents took. Respondents were able to select any number of roles per co-op.

Co-op roles over work terms


Over the co-op interview cycles, respondents sometimes missed an interview or were late to interviews. Additionally, many respondents have bombed (did extremely poorly on) at least one of their interviews.

Have you ever missed an Interview?
Have you ever arrived late to an Interview?
How many interviews have you bombed?

Does X affect job pay?

Salary as a metric

In order to rank jobs appropriately, salary is used as a proxy metric to measure job opportunities. Due to the limited expressiveness of this metric, the following results should be taken with a grain of salt because higher salary does not imply higher job satisfaction.


There is no clear correlation between grades and salary. In other words, having a high cumulative average does not imply that the student will get a good salary in the upcoming co-op term. This suggests that there are more important factors than grades when it comes to finding a good job.

Some companies do use grades as a cutoff to filter large candidate pools. However, many companies are aware that grades are not a good indication of how performant a student can be during co-op.

Hourly Salary vs. Cumulative Average


On average, women are paid less during co-ops. The most significant gap occured during the 4th and 5th co-ops. Although the data trends indicate that women are paid less than men, it is difficult to determine which portion of the compensation difference is due solely to gender bias, as opposed to other causes.

Note: There were about 39 men and 14 women who responded to co-op salaries.

Average Salary per Co-op Term

Lifestyle and Experiences

Food Preparation

A minor in culinary studies. SE students cooked often, with ~59% cooking over 60% of their meals themselves. That being said, this does not mean that respondents are master chefs.

Each week, what percent of your meals were homemade?


Students clearly value sleeping at reasonable times. The most popular answer was 1 AM, at which point ~67% of SE students have gone to sleep. ~90% of SE students go to bed by 2AM.

However, some students still prefer sleeping late, possibly due to work or personal reasons.

What time do you usually go to sleep?

S.R.E.A.M - Sleep Rules Everything Around Me. Future students will be glad to see that studying SE does not mean sacrificing sleep. In fact, a strong majority of respondents stated sleeping more than 6 hours each night. Furthermore, ~13% of respondents reported sleeping more than 8 hours each night.

How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

Only ~30% of students reported never pulling an all-nighter. While SE students are getting a good amount of sleep each night, 70% of students pulled atleast one each term. 3 students reported pulling 20 all-nighters each term.

How many all nighters did you pull each term?


Making time for fun before COVID. At least 52% of respondents went out/partied once a month, with ~7% doing so multiple times a week. Only 10% said they never partied. This somewhat goes against the stereotype of SE students being antisocial.

How often did you go out/party per month before COVID?

Making (less) time for fun during COVID. COVID brought in a variety of public health measures including restrictions on how many people can be inside your home, and the closing of public spaces. About 40% of respondents reported never partying during COVID.

How often did you go out/party per month during COVID?


Sickness and Injury

The majority of respondents did not visit the hospital or ER, during their undergrad. However, some respondents went to a hospital or ER two or more times during their undergrad.

How many times did you go to the hospital or ER during your undergrad?

Respondents did not require a deadline extension due to injury or illness. The University's Illness or Extenuating Circumstances Policy was not well used by respondents. Only ~17.5% of respondents reported requesting a deadline extension due to illness or injury.

How many times did you ask for a deadline extension due to illness/injury during your undergrad?

Going to class while sick during in-person terms was commonplace. Only 29% of respondents reported never going to class while sick during in-person terms. It is unknown whether this was because they never got sick during in-person terms or if they consistently went to class while sick.

How many times did you go to class sick during all in-person terms?

Mental Health

Mental health is a vital part of our well-being that needs continuous monitoring. Over half of the respondents reported struggling with mental health problems during their undergrad.

Starting post-secondary education can bring a lot of change and excitement to a student's life. With that change, there are many factors that can also cause students to struggle with their mental health. It's important to look out for yourself and one another as everyone is fighting a different battle and may need support at any moment.

Have you struggled with mental health during your undergrad degree?

The most common mental health issues were depression and anxiety. The cohort experienced a wide variety of mental health issues. Trying to manage academics, co-op, and social lives can take a toll on us. It's important to take some time to focus on ourselves and do the things that are important and relaxing for each of us.

What mental health issues have you faced?

Over half of respondents reported that mental health effected at least one school term. Mental health can have large impacts on a student's life ranging from academic to social. Approximately, 10% of respondents reported mental health affecting half of their undergrad degree.

How many school terms were affected (academically, socially, or otherwise) by struggling with mental health?

University of Waterloo Counselling Services was the most popular mental health resource. While some respondents reported using some type of counselling service, many of those who struggled with mental health did not use any.

Have you used any of the following counselling resources during your undergrad?

Imposter Syndrome

Over 75% of respondents felt imposter syndrome over their university years. Impostor syndrome refers to an individual's internal experience of believing that they are not as competent as others perceive them to be. The Software Engineering program is very competitive and has one of the highest admission averages in Waterloo. This can place students in a pressure-to-achieve environment which might have led to students feeling like an imposter.

Did you feel like an imposter?

By the end of their university career, around 57% of respondents do not feel imposter syndrome, while 24% of respondents still do. This shows a growth in the respondents' confidence over the years as they overcame their academic hurdles, experienced the real world during co-ops, and found their calling in Software Engineering.

Do you currently feel like an imposter?

Over 70% of respondents reported a higher self-esteem exiting the program. Self-esteem refers to an individuals overall opinion of themselves. The majority of respondents exited the Software Engineering program with a higher opinion of themselves than when they entered which shows incredible growth.

How is your self-esteem now compared to before starting university?

Physical Health

Active bodies and active minds. It's important to keep our bodies active as it can boost our overall health. In certain cases, aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.

How often did you exercise during your undergrad?

Strengthening our lungs and muscles. Respondents were involved in a wide variety of activities from running and weightlifting to rock climbing and muay thai.

It's important to find the form of exercise that brings the most enjoyment to each individual.

What types of exercise did you participate in?

44% of respondents participated in intramurals. A lot of respondents tried intramurals at least once. Some were heavily involved in intramurals with 10% participating in intramurals during half of their academic terms.

How often did you participate in intramurals?

Respondents participated in most intramural types offered by the university. Intramurals are a great way to get active in some organized sports and even learn a sport you haven't played before. It's also been a great way to meet people and have fun with friends while breaking a sweat.

Which intramurals did you participate in?

Approximately 70% of respondents participated in a sport during their undergrad. Most respondents participated in a sport recreationally or competitively during their undergrad. 64% participated recreationally, and 5% trained in a sport competitively.

Did you train in a sport competitively during your undergrad?


Softwares through a global pandemic

Covid-19 unexpectedly hit the class at the beginning of 2020 and classes moved online halfway through the 3A term.

Covid Cases

Covid hit a sizable chunk of respondents with 20% of the respondants who personally got covid and 95% who knew someone who did.

Have you contracted covid?
Do you know someone who got covid?

Fortunately, all respondants were vaccinated with at least 2 doses, with 73% having gotten boosters.

How many vaccine doses did you get?

Staying safe

Respondants also took covid tests when needed. 6 respondants took more than 20 covid tests, ranging from 40-58 tests each. Home testing kits were made readily available at local pharmacies and grocery stores around the same time that this survey was released.

How many covid tests have you taken?

Public Guidance

A majority (71%) of respondants strayed towards "most of the time" when it came to following public guidance on social distancing and other covid rules.

How often did you follow social distancing rules?

Respondents did end up going to gatherings during the pandemic. There were 5 respondants who participated in gatherings exceeding 120 people, ranging from 200 to 400000 people.

What was the largest gathering you've been to during covid?

Impact on fulltime

19% of respondent's fulltime jobs and prospects were impacted by covid.

Was your fulltime job affected by covid?

Of the respondents who were impacted, the largest impact was jobs moving from in-person to remote. Respondants were able to choose multiple responses.

How did covid affect your job?

Family and Relationships


Most respondents spoke with their parents or guardians at least once a week in first year (55%) and in fourth year (60%). Most people were in regular contact with their parents/guardians. It appears as though respondents spoke with their parents more frequently in fourth year than in first year.

On average, how often did you speak to your parents/guardians during 1st year?

On average, how often did you speak to your parents/guardians during 4th year?

Most respondents went home at least once a term in both first year and fourth year. Before the pandemic, most of us lived near campus and away from family.

From first year to fourth year we saw an increase in the number of people who lived at home. Perhaps that was due to online classes or difficulties finding housing.

On average, how many times did you go home during 1st year?

On average, how many times did you go home during 4th year?


On average, a softie has 4.08 friends from high school, 1.36 from co-op, 1.48 from residence, and 1.49 from orientation. Furthermore, a softie has, on average, 5.17 friends in SE.

Friendship Sources

Sofites tend to make many friends within the program. 53% of respondents reported that at least 40% of their friend group was made up of fellow SE students.

What percentage of your close friends are from SE?

The SE cohort is a tight knit group. ~56% of respondents said they had met or spoken with over 60% of the class. However, we should acknowledge that those who were more likely to fill out the class profile may have also been more likely to have met others in the program.

What percentage of people who started in or are in SE22 have you ever met / spoken to?


About 29.6 % spent at least half of their degree in a romantic relationship. Out of 54 respondents, 20.3 % of them spent their entire degree single. Three people were in a relationship throughout their entire degree.

What percentage of your degree have you spent in a romantic relationship?

SEs explored their romantic options during their degrees. SEs most commonly had 3 relationships throughout university. However, respondents went on an average of 2.86 first dates.

How many romantic relationships have you been in during your degree?

Did SEcest -- a term coined by a previous class profile -- happen in our year? 1 out of 3 respondents said yes.

Have you been or are you in a relationship with someone in SE22?

SE and sexuality Respondents had on average 2.3 sexual partners during their degree. 28% of respondents said they had no sexual partners during university. Two people said they had 12 sexual partners during their studies, and one person admitted to having sex on campus!

How many sexual partners did you have during your degree?

A numerical method of comparing life experiences? Before university, SEs had an average rice purity test score of 85.1. One person reported having a score of 35 (omitted from the graph to know skew results). The average score dropped to 54.5 after university.

Change in rice purity test score

Spilling the infideli-tea. 11.1 % of the 54 who answered were involved with cheating. A breakdown of how they were involved can be seen below.

Have you been involved in romantic cheating during your degree?

The use of dating apps was evenly split between respondents. Most respondents did not use dating apps. However, it was very close, with 51% of respondents not using dating apps.

Did you use dating apps while in university?

67% of respondents reported using some form of controlled substance recretionally Alcohol and weed were the most common.

Did you take any controlled substances for recreational purposes?

26.4% of respondents admitted to going to class drunk or high A smaller percentage, 9.4%, said they took an exam drunk or high.

Have you ever gone to class drunk or high?
Have you ever taken an exam drunk or high?


Cost of Tuition

$69000 $69000 is how much it cost a Canadian student attending Software Engineering at Waterloo for 8 terms from 2017-2022. This includes tuition, co-op fee and about $625/term of misc fees (insurance, LRT pass, club fees) - some which are optional. This does not include housing or school materials (e.g. supplies, textbooks). All numbers are in CAD.

The average undergraduate tuition for Canadian citizens studying in Canada is around $6,693/year compared to $17,000/year for SE.

Tuition breakdown
Term Undergrad Domestic Tuition Co-op Fee
Fall 2017 7329 709
Winter 2018 7392 709
Fall 2018 7761 729
Spring 2019 7761 729
Winter 2020 6985 729
Fall 2020 6985 734
Spring 2021 6985 739
Winter 2022 6985 739


88% of respondents payed for at least half of their tutuion using money earned from co-op. The next largest portion of income came from respondent's families. For Canadians, this is typically from a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

What percentage of each income category was used to pay for your tuition?

Expenses on School Material

85% of respondents spent less than $550 on school materials. 7 respondents spent more than $550 in school materials over their entire school career with the maximum being $2000.

Money spent on school materials (e.g. textbooks)


45% of respondents did not take any student loans. Co-op provides the oppurtunity to have an income every 4 months. This may be a factor allowing students to avoid the need for loans.

How much did you borrow as a loan?


85% of respondents invested their money. Index Funds and Equities were the most popular methods of investments, used in 60% of responses. Additionally respondents also invested in crypto. Respondents were able to select multiple options.

How students invested their money

Of those who invested, most respondents either invested below 40% or above 70% of their wealth.

What percentage of your wealth is invested?

Net Worth

89% of respondents graduated debt-free. The co-op program can help students earn money to pay off debts and expenses as they work towards their degree.

Net worth @ 4B/final term

69% of respondents were at least somewhat satisfied (4 or 5) with their current financial situation.

How satisfied are you about your current financial situation?


Covid and Travel Restrictions Abound

Had there been less exchange cancellations and better course flexibility, more softies would have gone on exchange. Of the 56 responses received for the exchange section, just 11% went on exchange.

Have you gone on exchange?

SE Abroad

SE students all went on exchange on their 3A term. All respondents went abroad for only a single term. Travel restrictions imposed by Covid prevented students from going later terms. The sister universities SEs attended were all in Singapore and Sweden.

Where did you go on exchange?

The Exchange Experience

We asked our exchangees to provide us some insight into their exchange experience.

What was your favourite part of exchange?
What was the hardest thing about going on exchange?


Beauty in the details

Reflecting on our time at Waterloo means more than making some graphs. Here are a handful of stories from first year.

The Legend

"On the first day of class, when the ECE 105 professor walked up to the board, no introduction or anything - and started scribbling physics problems on the whiteboard - before he gave us his name, Mansour 😂 and he became one of the most legendary profs in SE"

20-20 Vision

"I loved the moment when someone brought binoculars to ECE 105 and Mansour sat them at the front of the class. That prof was an absolute legend!"

Study Sessions

"I think that the most memorable parts of my first year were the late night ECE105 study sessions with Prof Mansour. They were extremely helpful and always entertaining."

Quick Memories

"Getting a co-op :)"
"MC 1085"
"cusec was a fun time"


"Staying up until 3 am working on the SE101 project with friends"

Exploring Waterloo

"Every time my friends would get drunk after a party, we would sneak into EIT so we could look at the dinosaurs."

A First Year Get Together

"One of our classmates threw a party in an AirBNB and trashed the place, and someone punched through the window of the front door; in class he was reviewing the fines (esp. for strange things, like "moved plant").

Life At Waterloo

Respondents enjoyed a variety of restaurants by the Waterloo campus and in Uptown/Kitchener.

What's your favourite restaurant to eat at in Waterloo?

Walmart was the top grocery store, narrowly beating out the competition.

Which stores were your go-to grocery stores?

With newfound freedom, many respondents lived away from Waterloo and from home during their online terms.

Did you spend a semester during an online term living away from Waterloo/home town?


Dogs and cats were top condenders!

Favourite animal(s) as a pet?

We asked for respondents' favourite colors in the form of a hex code!

Favourite colour?


Not all interviews go smoothly, below are a few stories.

Interview Mishaps

"Thought interview was the next day at the same time so overslept, never picked an 8:30am time slot after that"
"Interviewer vaped the whole time"
"An interviewer looked at my transcript for a few minutes and then asked why I did so bad in Linear Algebra.

A Rough Time

"I got food poisoning the day before my onsite and spent the whole night throwing up. I forced down a few coconut waters and matcha teas before putting on my best high-energy face. During my second interview, I leaned over to fart - and instead, I shat my pants. I excused myself from the interview, went to the bathroom to deal with it, and then did the next 3 interviews before going home and lying on my bed wide-eyed, unable to sleep because of all the caffeine."

Beautiful Elevators

"A co-op asked me to design an elevator, and I spent half an hour talking about the aesthetic designs of an elevator. E.g. have a nice rug and nice music"


"My boss said the only reason they hired me was because my cover letter was so arrogant and they had to see what I was like."

Take Buckley's (this is not professional medical advice)

"Was super sick for uber interview, coughed so much the interviewer covered their face with their tshirt - and no, I didn't get the job"


Most of the class has never gotten into a physical conflict, though there were a few fights. Unlike the class of 2021, a few respondents said they had gotten into fights outside a sport setting.

Have you ever physically fought someone outside of controlled martial arts environments?

We made it through Waterloo Engineering, but not without some hurdles along the way. School isn't always easy-going. On top of what you see in the graph, 3 respondents cried 10 or more times per school term.

How many times did you cry per school term?

Tech Usage

Needless to say, we're big redditors. Here is a breakdown of how many hours were spent by respondents on the UW Reddit.

How many hours did you spend on the UW Reddit per week during your undergrad?

Almost all respondents spent some time on social media per week. One respondent spent over 50h/week on social media! That's longer than a fulltime job - very impressive!

How many hours did you spend on social media platforms per week during your undergrad? (excluding the UW Reddit)

A sizable portion of respondents didn't spend any time on video games. One respondent spent 40h/week on video games. That's also a fulltime job - impressive!

How many hours did you play video games per week during your undergrad?


These were some of our respondent's favourite co-op experiences!

Arizona Adventure

"Flying out to phoenix to visit a call center and spending a few days afterwards driving around alone in arizona and sleeping in the car."

Life in Singapore

"Working in Singapore, lived in a hostel for 4 months while doing the co-op. Made friends from all different nationalities and age groups (18-65)"

Life in Singapore

"FOOD. Chocolate covered nuts, cheese, cookies, granola bars, juice and LaCroix. And other office perks like lunchtime Nintendo Switch games, Ping Pong, PS4, Jackbox."

Hiking Life

"Going to Yosemite for a full weekend of sick hikes and amazing friends."

Intern Buddies

"Sharing a building with another company and all the co-ops from both companies would hang out."
"Working at a startup in downtown Toronto and hanging out with the other co-ops after work every day!"

International Travels

"Deciding to go to the London office of my company when returning as an intern was a great idea since I got to live in an entirely new continent to me."

Respondents liked Vancouver the most with 4 votes. Next up was Iceland with 3 and Singapore with 2.

What has been your favourite place to travel during your undergrad?

Respondents are most looking forward to visiting Japan! The culture, scenic views and food are just the beginning for why people want to visit Japan.

When travel restrictions will be lifted, which country/city do you want to visit the most and why?

Memories of 2021 & 2022

Here are a handful of stories from our final years at Waterloo.

Running It Back

"I loved 4B when everything moved back to in person and I got to hang out with people in our cohort gain."

Support System

"A bunch of my friends/classmates came as moral support when I got my ears pierced this term :))"

Bad Dog

"When Peter Buhr started using crazy analogies in CS 343 - insanely underrated storyteller"

Pranks Night

"Pranks night :)! Finally seeing so many of our classmates after 2 years, putting our jokes and signs all over DC, and remembering how fun and creative everyone is! Running around DC and the Engineering buildings, and seeing our banner next to all of the other engineering programs."


The Switch Years

All respondents who transferred out of SE went into the Computer Science program. However, only 3 transfers responded to the class profile survey.

What was the last academic term that you completed in SE?

Reason for Switching

A flexible course schedule and avoiding a specific course were the main reasons for switching out of Software Engineering. The Engineering program has a relatively rigid course schedule which offers students the flexibility to choose courses usually only in their fourth year. The Computer Science program, on the other hand, is less restrictive and allows students to customize their schedules freely. Surprisingly, no respondents chose Exchange or Graduating Early as the most important reson for switch out.

Why did you switch out?

I Regret Nothing

All of the transferred students were happy with their decision to switch. The Computer Science program was successfully able to provide the transferred students with a better place to align themselves with their university goals.

Was switching out the best choice for you?

Overall Experience

Highest Workload Course

35% of respondents considered CS 343 - Concurrency to have the highest workload. Next up was SE 350 - Operating Systems which 31% of the respondents chose. Fortunately, these two courses were not taught during the same term.

Which course had the highest workload?

To P.Eng. or Not To P.Eng.

9% of respondents plan to work towards their professional engineer (P.Eng.) designation.

Do you plan on getting your P.Eng.?

Staying in SE?

29% of respondents seriously considered switching out of SE at some point during their degree.

Have you ever considered switching out of SE?

Most respondents who seriously considered switching out of SE indicated they would study Computer Science instead.

What program/school would you have switched to?

Staying at Waterloo

Most respondents did not consider dropping out of University.

Have you considered dropping out of University?

Running it back

91% of respondents would choose Waterloo SE again if they had to redo university.

If you had to start again, what school/program would you enrol in?

4B Burnout

Respondents were asked if they felt burnt out during the middle of their 4B term. 33% did feel burnt out.

Are you currently feeling burnt out?

4B Senioritis

67% of respondents had senioritis during 4B.

Are you currently experiencing senioritis?

Satisfied with SE/Waterloo?

81% of respondents rated SE a top score of 5, and 96% of the class rated 4 or above. Shoutout to the SE faculty and the vibrant student community!

Are you happy with your choice to come to SE / Waterloo?


Post-graduation plans

One month proior to graduating, 93% of respondents had already accepted a job offer.

Post graduation plans

32% of respondents chose career growth as their top motivation in deciding their fulltime plans.

What is the most important motivator in your fulltime decision?

The next most popular factor was compensation.

What is the 2nd most important motivator in your fulltime decision?
What is the 3rd most important motivator in your fulltime decision?

At the time of the survey, 71% of respondents were planning to start their careers in the US.

Where will you be?

Meta is the most popular company for respondents to start their careers at. 43 respondents answered this question, which is less than half of the total graduating class. It is likely that the full breadth of companies and industries is larger and more diverse.

Full-time company

The majority of respondents plan to start their careers out at large/established companies.

Full-time company type

The majority of respondents are content with their post grad plans.

How content are you with your post-grad plans?

Full-Time Compensation

Take this section with a huge grain of salt. The sample size for the following questions was only 50. Additionally, all currencies in this section have been converted to CAD. The exchange rate used for this question and the ones that follow was 1.25 CAD per 1 USD. The median base salary is $161,200 and mean is $168,887.

What is your annual base salary?

The median first year stock grant was $48,750, with the mean being $41,866. Less than 5 respondents had a first year stock grant of more than $100,000.

What is your first year stock grant?

Respondents had a median one-time bonus of $65,000 and mean of $81,311.

What is your one time bonus?

End of year/recurring annual compensation ranges with a median of $16,000 and mean of $56,747.

What is your end-of-year/recurring annual compensation?

Total stock grant had a mean of $167,914 and median of $195,000. This typically vests over 4 years. Less than 5 respondents had a total stock grant of over $400,000.

What is your total stock grant value?

Median first year comp was $305,920 CAD and mean is $336,276 CAD. This number includes all forms of remuneration eg. signing bonuses and equity.

What is your total first year compensation?

Co-op to Fulltime

The co-op experience acts as a great pipeline for hiring young talent for companies. It also enables students to find a workplace they enjoy, as shown by the amount of students opting to return to a co-op employer rather than accepting an offer elsewhere.

Are you returning to a prior co-op?

Respondents who returned to a previous co-op typically interned during their 5th or 6th co-op.

Which term did you do a co-op for your fulltime company?

General Fulltime Plans

A sizable proportion plan to work remote for at least part of their work week. This reflects a broader industry shift towards remote work.

How often do you plan to work remote?

Majority of respondents plan to stay at their first company for 1-4 years.

How long do you plan to stay at your first company?

Majority of respondents are planning to stay away from their home country for at least 5 years.

How long do you plan to stay away from your home country?

Thank you!

We hope you enjoyed reading the University of Waterloo Software Engineering 2022 Class Profile!


This project wouldn't have been possible without the help of some great people:

Robbie Zhuang, Heather Musson, Wesley Leung, Bimesh De Silva, Tina Gao, Alex Girard, and Amanda Morin for volunteering their time to work on this profile over the past year.

Andy Zhang and the 2021 Class Profile Team for allowing us to fork the previous sites, saving us time and letting us focus on making this profile more personal than ever before.


UWaterloo Software Engineering

Software Engineering Program Homepage

Co-op at UWaterloo

Academic Calendar


Software Engineering 2021 Class Profile

Software Engineering 2020 Class Profile

Software Engineering 2018 Class Profile

Electrical and Computer Engineering 2021 Class Profile

Mechatronics Engineering 2020 Class Profile

Management Engineering 2020 Class Profile

Biomedical Engineering 2019 Class Profile

Systems Design Engineering 2019 Class Profile


2022 Class Profile Code

2021 Class Profile Code

2018 Class Profile Code