by Christian Stafford
Megan Lau, computer science and design ’21, and Joseph Annis, computer science and design ’21, have both recently completed co-ops at TJX.
TJX, headquartered in Framingham, MA, is the parent company of notable stores like Marshalls, HomeGoods and TJ Maxx. Both Lau and Annis spent their time at TJX behind the racks of clothing and shelves of home décor, helping to improve and maintain the company’s digital operations.
Lau said she is interested in how computer science and business work together because the combination blends the human interaction and technical aspects of businesses. During the last few months of working at TJX, Lau said she gained an appreciation and understanding of the communication and interaction between business and IT.
Lau worked as an IT Engineer, working specifically with the Master Data Management Team. A notable project Lau worked on during her time at TJX included the devolvement of a program called Hierarchy Manager, which helps merchandisers and in-store employees organize inventory. “I have helped with the data conversion, the Java structure of the source code and business requirement processes,” she said.
Object Oriented Design was one of the many classes that helped prepare Lau for co-op, in class students switch code with another team, the workplace can be similar, says Lau, “Rarely do you start from scratch – most of the time you will be joining a team halfway and you need to catch up quickly.”
When she’s not at work, Lau said she likes to stay productive on campus, where she spends time serving as president of the Asian Student Union, which she considers to be her second family.
Joseph Annis, who is interested in doing work with user experience design, worked in a development role for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) at TJX, “which allows people to create digital workers that can carry out time-consuming, repetitive tasks that humans normally don’t favor doing, allowing us to reallocate people into positions that offer more valuable and creative work,” he said.
Before Annis worked on RPA, he worked on a web development project to enhance his team’s website in order to make it more user-friendly for the rest of the members of the TJX organization. Annis also worked on Security Architecture, writing security standards for TJX applications to ensure they were being run smoothly and risk-free, he said.
Interested in both classical and digital art, Annis spends his time on campus serving as Design Chair and Treasurer of the Northeastern University Maker’s Club. He values athleticism and a healthy lifestyle, noting that he is always trying to dedicate a portion of his time to maintaining that lifestyle by taking frequent trips outdoors, either locally or out of state.
“My eventual goal is to contribute to the progression of design in society and work the principles of human interaction into general society,” he said.
According to Annis, he believes he has grown exponentially as a member of the industry thanks to his co-op experience, and he said he is looking forward to coming back to class with increased knowledge that he can merge with the new skills he will pick up in his coursework.