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Expected out of college experience?

Question: What is expected of a green just-graduated student?

I'm assuming at least one internship is pretty standard, but what else?

I'm in college now and when I graduate I'll have at least one large independant study and several tiny personal projects under my belt. Is this normal for a fresh student? Am I behind?

I realize I'll still be unexperianced when I get out, but will is there something else I should try to get/do before I graduate?

Mike Swieton
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Do some things that you will probably never have a chance to do again in your life.

Act in a play.

Write for the school newspaper.

Do an independent study project on some topic that's not related to your major.

Study abroad for a semester.

Alex Chernavsky
Monday, November 18, 2002

If you're into marriage, try to find your future wife, seriously. I still think college days are the best time for this, but if you have time before your first job do this. Most of my work colleague who has trouble finding their soulmate is because they don't have time for this important (but sometimes neglected) activity.

marc ramos
Monday, November 18, 2002

It's all about balance. Have fun, take part in some things that you might not be able to do once you leave college, but don't let the extra-curricular activities drag down your grades.

Personally I think that employers want to see good grades and a _few_ other extra-curricular activies. If you're doing okay grades-wise, you've got an internship or two (preferably where you actually did some work you can talk about in an interview), you've got a project or two big enough to put on your CV (ditto) and you've done one or two other things (clubs, plays, writing, whatever) then you should be fine. There are always super-students who get straight As and do 20 other activities as well -- do not try to emulate this, stick to a few things and do them well while enjoying them.

Look for a wife/husband as well if you want to -- but frankly, I can't see many relationships where you're evaluating the person as "marryable/not marryable?" from the very first date working out too well.

Adrian Gilby
Monday, November 18, 2002

Question: What is expected of a green just-graduated student

Really depends on where you graduate from and what you want to do.

Assuming you graduate with a 3.5+ from a decent school, degree in CS, a decent internship with a letter of recommendation, and you're willing to relocate a bit for work, I think you'll be fine.

If you want to have an edge at the interview ...

1) Write a web-based project; have a URL to show your future employer.  When you go into the interview, ask "would you like to see the source code?"

2) Figure out what niche you want to work in.  MainFrames?  Learn COBOL and ForTran.  Health Care?  Get an earned minor in Health Informations Systems (if your school offers it.)  Anything so that, when they ask "Do you know visual stuffware?" (Where it's a tiny package written for a niche market that 99% of people have never heard of) you can reply "Sure."

If you want to have an edge 5+ years from now ...

1) I'd suggest getting an earned minor in Business - Specifically, one or two semesters of accounting, a business law class, an economics class, and a management class.  Once you get to a certain point, you'll need to understand the language of business.  Best to learn to speak it now.

2) If communications is a weakness in any way, take a commo class or two, possibly a psycology class.  It's been my experience that brilliant developers with no people skills tend to lose, and great communications who are mediocre coders tend to win more often than you'd expect.


just my $0.02.  regards,

Matt H.
Monday, November 18, 2002

I talked to my boss about why I got hired at my current position.  Was it my 2+ years of experience working on an Open Source CMS? ( http://scoop.kuro5hin.org/ ).  No, it was mostly grades.  Keep the grades up, but the extra experience helps a lot.

Andrew Hurst
Monday, November 18, 2002

"Expected out of college experience?"

There are plenty of religious groups claiming "out of body experiences".  Its likely that you can probably find some that provide "out of college experiences" also.

Remember not to inhale...  someday you'll need all the plausible deniability you can find.

Nat Ersoz
Monday, November 18, 2002

Internships or co-ops, decent grades.  I just interviewed a guy who had gotten his MS & BS from my alma mater, but had never had a 'real' job of any sort.  He didn't make the cut.

The absolute most important thing you can do (IMHO) is act enthusiastic about the job.  Research the company.  Ask good questions.  Act interested in the work they're doing.  This will definitely help you stand out from the pack.

Jason
Monday, November 18, 2002

I suggest you read this regarding interns.

http://www.thebaffler.com/frederickexcerpt.html

?
Monday, November 18, 2002

The link to the article in the baffler is a bit misleading. Certainly in the fashion magazine biz, unpaid internships are the norm. However, I've never heard of an unpaid tech internship.

Intern
Monday, November 18, 2002

I will graduate in May '03 and am pretty much in the same situation you are in Mike. you are doing fine.

Approach getting hired at each company in a different light. Be a solution to their problems, what I mean is if you are interviewing for a position of a Software Test Engineer at Microsoft, make a note of the responsibilites for that position, see if you have done any or all of those job requirements. If not try working on those.

I do not think employers really care about any extra stuff you have done, etc, they look at how you can contribute to the position you are interviewing for?

I agree with other things like having sound domain knowledge depending on the industry you are working on, etc.

Maybe a certification might just help too in a certain technology.

All the luck!

Prakash S
Monday, November 18, 2002

http://www.computerworld.com/careertopics/careers?from=top

Prakash S
Monday, November 18, 2002

Study something besides computers, for crying out loud. That way, you can work in interesting problem domains.

You should take some extra classes in physics or linguistics or biology or chemistry or something (I, personally would avoid business classes), so that when you graduate, you're not stuck working for a consulting firm writing "custom accounting applications" in visual basic over and over and over and over again.

Benji Smith
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Be a clone of the person interviewing you, in all likelihood these people have been stuck in the same job for the last 10 years but are too scared to try something different because they are in hock up their eyeballs, also, all they know is IT and they really wish they had done something different and more interesting 15 years ago, when they had a chance. Act eager to follow them down the same path, appeal to the notion that they need to know that they are not suffering alone, and that there is indeed "safety in numbers". Heck they'll think, "if this young fellow is prepared to ruin his life, then it can't really be that bad" and they'll feel better about the decision to go into IT that they made 15 years ago, when they had a chance to...

If Only I had...
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

FYI, my first job was with the company that I interned with: they said "come back to us when you have finished your degree", which I did, and that was how I got that sometimes-difficult-to-attain first commercial experience.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I don't know the experience with other people, but my experience was that I was always in a good position after interviews when I wasn't too eager. It's the same experience actually with women, if I'm too eager then most of the time I failed. I think women and recruiters are alike: they respect someone who can clearly shown that what they want but can control himself (or 'relax')

Gibbo
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

" It's the same experience actually with women, if I'm too eager then most of the time I failed. "

women have "desperation radar."  acting too eager amplifies the desperation rays you are emitting.

to the original kid posting: if you still have a couple of years to go, it isn't too late to complete your pre-medical requirements.

crackpot
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Blag it. It's all blind luck anyway.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

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