Market-leader in PDF software hires top B.C. computer science + engineering students

3 min read
June 6, 2019

Want to land a co-op position at one of Canada's top employers for recent grads? Keep reading to learn more about Vancouver-based PDFTron and see if a co-op placement is a fit for you.

PDFTron Systems is the provider of a market-leading PDF software development kit (SDK) used by hundreds of enterprise customers around the world. This spring they secured a $95 CA million investment led by Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm. They also hired two students through our Tech Co-op Grant Program to work on features of their technology that support their mission to change the way the world works with documents.

Talking to Amy Henderson, PDFTron Systems’ HR manager, we discovered the impact the Tech Co-op Program had on the company and what’s next for them.

Q: What did the co-op students do during their time at PDFTron?

Amy: One, a graduate student from the University of Victoria (UVIC), applied mathematical solutions to update our annotation capabilities across document formats (we support 30+ formats beyond PDF). The second student, also from UVIC, worked within the Web Team and gained experience with modern full stack web development and debugging skills on our continuously evolving WebViewer demo product.

This was both students’ first exposure to working within a tech company in an environment of professional software developers. It was an opportunity for them to directly apply what they had learned in school to the real world.

Q: How did the co-op students’ roles impact the company?

Amy: Customer experience and feedback are paramount to us. Uniquely, our customers are often other developers themselves. The grant has helped us hire top computer science and engineering students to work on projects that contribute to maintaining our first-class developer experience and high customer retention rate.

Q: What made the Tech Co-op Grant Program stand out from other options?

Amy: The Tech Co-op grant stood out from other options for a few reasons. Applying for the grant itself proved intuitive and straightforward. Since we are engaged in high-volume recruitment, this meant we could focus on finding the right students rather than being preoccupied with the application process. We were also able to submit grants retroactively, which ensured we could fully utilize the award. Finally, in addition to lowering the cost to achieve resource needs faster, we were able to stretch the budget and allocate more opportunities to hire talent. This ultimately has allowed us to be efficient and cost effective while accomplishing what needs to be done to succeed.

Q: What is the main reason you would recommend the Tech Co-op Grant Program?

Amy: We recommend the Tech Co-op Grant for helping us to acquire top tech talent in a competitive space. The award, tailored to tech companies with less than 100 employees, enabled us to better connect with students and potential future employees, and thus compete for talent against large corporations with the advantage of brand recognition.

Q: What are some company milestones you’re most looking forward to in the year ahead? Or are there any recent successes you’d like to talk about?

Amy: As an established company with millions of users interacting with PDFTron’s technology on a daily basis, this has been a year of change for PDFTron – and our milestones show it.

Co-op opportunities are still available for the Fall semester. Students can check their school’s co-op portal or contact us directly at for more information.

Q: What makes PDFTron Systems different from other PDF SDKs?

Amy: The main difference is 20 years of innovation which has resulted in a differentiated product with hundreds of features that are tailored to customers’ needs. PDFTron is a frontier of document technology including being the first to offer a cross-platform SDK, the first to offer client-side PDF and are still the only SDK with server-less Office document viewing capabilities.

PDFTron is about to launch #PDFPrime, which will make us the only company that can offer

performance guarantees on any document (including large and complex files). We are also

innovating on the document-understanding side, utilizing deep (machine) learning techniques to understand document contents beyond optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities.

Whether you’re a tech company looking to grow, a non-tech business looking to innovate, or a co-op student looking to get on-the-job tech experience, our program could be right for you. Learn more about our Tech Co-op Grant Program.

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