When I was still a wee little university co-op student, I got very lucky were I found myself working....
First on the hardware & software of airport landing systems, for the Canadian government. That perspective on safety-critical systems has stuck with me and helped form the paranoia that served me well in later jobs.
Next I worked at Bell Northern Research -- the part of Nortel that was Canada's version of AT&T Bell Labs. Brilliant people, plenty of pure research, and the best tools that money could buy. I wouldn't see it's like again until much later at Google.
Several jobs later, I still love writing code, and living on the command-line - where the core of the files that make up my
.bashrc approach 2500 lines :-)