Oh man, what a week.
It is kind of strange, but the recruiting season for summer jobs/internships is already in full swing, even only 6 weeks into the fall semester. Engineering companies are looking to get interns with world-class talent, so they start looking early.
My feeling has always been that for a computer scientist, the question isn’t really whether there are jobs for the taking, but rather which jobs you get. In order to start working at the company of your choice right out of college, it is important to get summer internships so that a company knows you are comfortable in a work environment. It makes you less of an unknown, since every college student takes classes and thus may look similar on a resume until that first job experience. I’m determined to intern this summer, so I’m putting my all into reaching out to companies and distinguishing myself.
Luckily, Viterbi gives students plenty of opportunities to get in contact with recruiters from the very best engineering companies. Last year I got an on-campus interview through a spring career fair (hosted by Viterbi on our Engineering Quad (E-quad) ) and then got to fly out to Redmond, WA, for a final round interview. Thus, I knew the importance of these events. This week, Viterbi hosted both a networking dinner (called VINE, the “Viterbi Industry Networking Event”) on Wednesday and the fall career fair on Thursday. I had signed up for VINE, and spent a couple hours brushing up my resume and headed over to the Town and Gown building Wednesday night all dressed up and ready to network.
VINE was a really cool event where Viterbi provided hours d’ouerves and a classy venue in which all registered students were able to chat with company recruiters and drop off a resume. This event was for juniors, seniors, and progressive degree students only, so it gives undergraduates a bit of an edge in the job hunt! Dressed in my best suit, I talked to recruiters from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Intel, and tons of other top software companies. It was a really great experience and allowed me a decent amount of one-on-one time with recruiters. One highlight was a rather animated discussion about neural networks with a Facebook recruiter (I brought them up, and the recruiter was actually an engineer who works on them at Facebook!). Shameless plug: if you don’t know (or don’t remember) what a neural network is, you should read my last week’s blog post!
After talking to about 10 companies, I retired for the evening and got some rest before the career fair the next day. Basically, tons of companies come onto the E-quad with recruitment teams specifically looking for students to hire over the summer. It is a huge event! As I said, this got me an interview with Microsoft last year, so I was looking to talk to even more companies and really expand my net.
Some companies just have you check in and drop off a resume, and some even gave out programming tests to help them gauge your skills. Basically, every company is different and you have to be on your toes when talking to recruiters. Some conversations go better than others, but overall, it was such a positive experience (some recruiters even remembered talking to me the night before, which was awesome!). Not only did it *probably* boost my chances of getting at least a preliminary interview with each company I talked to, but it was also helpful in that I found out about more companies I would like to work at (which is always a good thing). For a full list of all the companies I could have talked to, check out this page.
It is so awesome going to a school that really helps you out in getting in touch with people in industry. So many of the recruiters were former Trojans who really want to get more Trojans in their company that it doesn’t feel as stressful as it should (I even saw a former TA of mine recruiting for Google). And, now that it is over, companies will start reaching out to students to have interviews on campus in Viterbi’s dedicated interview rooms, which helps us students out so much when we can meet reps in person without travel.
Well, I think that’s enough on that topic for now. I’ve got a final round interview scheduled with Microsoft next Monday and phone interviews being set up with Google, so maybe I’ll have awesome news to report soon! Now, I’ve got to go apply to the about 15 companies I’ve talked to this week (don’t worry, it’s way easier than applying to colleges). Have a great week everybody!