My name is Ori Talmor and I am a fourth-year student at the University of Guelph. Not long ago, I completed a 4 month-long term at ecobee in Toronto, Ontario. This blog will analyze the goals I set for myself and the steps I took to reach them. It will also dive into my role as an intern at ecobee and the skills I learned while working there.

Employer Information:

ecobee is a Canadian smart home company that makes flagship thermostats amongst other products for residential and commercial use. ecobee was founded in 2007 and has since been recognized with a number of awards highlighting the accomplishments made in the green technology sector. ecobee is the first to market smart thermostat company that has set the bar for comfort as well as ecological and economic savings when it comes to smart home devices that don't compromise on lifestyle. The mission at ecobee is to create smarter devices that are beautifully designed, easy to use, provide comfort and savings for families, and are good for our planet. The office located on Queens Quay was concentrated on new software solutions for the smart home environment, and during my term, an exciting new product was released called the ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control:


Work Term 3: Summer

My goals for this work term were primarily focused on analysis and understanding skills as well as my communication skills in terms of the way I present what I think in verbal conversations. These skills were a daily necessity during my work term and helped me become a better intern and a more involved employee. By working on my oral communication skills, I could learn a lot when it comes to the way I think things through before I speak. I tend to be someone who thinks and talks very fast, which can be nice at times, but for the most part makes it difficult for people to follow what I say. It also affected what I would say, in that the words I used didn't match exactly what I was trying to convey. In doing so, I would end up confusing people at times. Throughout this term, I worked a lot on this skill since I worked across multiple teams and had to learn to communicate effectively in many channels (whether technical or not). I also managed to meet my goal of being on time for the most part (there were some days I was late, I'm not perfect). My goal for self discovery was met in my opinion as I learned very quickly that the things I was doing at ecobee excited me like no other job I've held before. As far as the milestone that the coop program sets forth when it comes to figuring out what it is you want to do, I consider that checked off. Near the end of my term, I had the opportunity to cross off the final goal revolving around interdisciplinary work. I wanted to achieve a higher level of Inquiry and Analysis and dive into the business aspects with relations to my role such as learning how to translate SRE quantitative metrics of success to something both the customer and the business can understand and utilize in the business models. By looking at Service Level Objectives and Indicators I was able to narrow down what was important to the end users and to the business in order to succeed, and that was my measure of success being met.

Job Description

This term was probably the most challenging one thus far, as almost everything I did was new to me - nothing in school could have prepared me for it. This predicament made my experience unique since much of what I learned was done with my own self-drive and interest; everyday was something completely different and that's what appealed to me the most. My manager jokingly told me that my job in a way was to be an adult lego builder, and I couldn't agree with him more. It was gathering requirements, finding the right pieces, and assembling the perfect solution, all without a manual. As an SRE, much of my role came down to taking the Software Development approach that I've learned in school and my past work experiences, and apply that to what is traditionally called "IT" or "Operations". I was responsible for server infrastructure for various products working on cloud platforms like Google Cloud. I would do things ranging from solving challenges in performance measurement, scalability, reliability, and security - all the way to evaluating new tools and delivering complex networking solutions to deliver required uptime and performance. I worked across multiple teams each with their own set of requirements, helping to work on Service Level Indicators and Objectives (SLIs/SLOs) so that the product owners and business teams can make Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that customers can rely on. This job was very out of my comfort zone, but that's what made it great. It taught me a lot about what it is I want to do, and the type of things I like to work on.


I learned so much from this work term, but I think the most significant piece is what I learned about myself and what I want to do. In my previous work term I concluded that I wanted to go into academia and pursue an entirely different route. In this term I came to a very contradictory decision. I learned that it was the job itself that I didn't connect with, and I came to love the work of an SRE. I really enjoyed my time at ecobee, the company culture was right up my alley and the people there were inspiring - a real joy to work with. I definitely won't forget ecobee, and I'll be sure to stay in touch for the future. The skills I learned in this term could not have been taught in a better way, and I am certain that without the opportunity I had at ecobee I would not have the confidence or the inspiration that I do now.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jason Hadi, without his guidance and ability to withstand my constant rush of questions and PRs I would not have had the chance to learn as much as I did. You were a great mentor and friend and any future coop who shadows you will be lucky to have had you.

I'd also like to thank Erol Blakely and Elliot O`Brien for their direction throughout my term, as well as the entire team with which I spent the majority of my time for their supportive, embracing, and approachable personalities: I learned a lot from each and every one of you. To the team that I joined later throughout my term, I wanted you to know that I gained much of my aptitude and appreciation of the SRE role from working alongside you as the sole SRE; it was a lot of fun and I thank you for always pushing me to think critically and being happy to help me when I needed it.

Finally, ecobee, thank you for pushing me to be diligent, hard-working, and for welcoming me with open arms. I loved the door's always open sentiment that was apparent everyday I walked into the office.