New Grad Advice

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steelerfan
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:33 pm

New Grad Advice

Post by steelerfan »

Asking for a friend. Actually my son. He recently graduated (Dec) with BA degrees in CS and Computational Math. He is starting to despair with no joy so far in the job quest. He has had a few bites but no face to face interviews. He has talked to Lockheed, IBM, Epic and a few others. And is shotgunning a lot of CVs out. I told him to relax. We live in Denver and the job market seems still pretty robust. I don't want him to settle for just anything but to me it seems to matter starting off on the proper trajectory. His grades are decent but not top tier. 3.5ish. No relevant experience. He worked retail and at the golf course as a groundskeeper.

Today he had an interview with a tech "incubator" whatever that is. Basically a boot camp where they pay you $10 an hour to train you and you sign a contract for 2 years. Does anyone have any experience with that? Sounds sketchy and unnecessary at this point.

I think his fall back may be the military assuming he can get a security clearance out of it. My wife is not on board with that. Any perspective from the army of techies in this forum is appreciated.

bostonimproper
Posts: 216
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:45 am

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by bostonimproper »

"Incubator" usually means a sponsored program that helps match entrepreneurs to mentors and create structure as they test new business ventures for a period of time in exchange for some small amount of the startup's equity. If it's actually that, it might be worth doing if he has a venture in mind.

"Boot camps" are classroom programs to teach someone how to be a developer that you usually pay to be a part of (or they take a referral fee if they get you hired by some company after). They are often expensive and completely unnecessary /potentially detrimental if you already have a CS degree.

He should make sure to apply through his university's recruitment funnels if he can (i.e. go to on campus recruiting, apply through alumni jobs postings). University recruiting for the big companies is a pretty well defined process that usually starts the fall of senior year.

The biggest drawback for developer roles is his lack of internship experience. Does he have side projects on his resume (e.g. open source dev, mobile app or website he runs)? That'll help. If he's not getting a bite at big companies, he can try applying to startups (See angel.co and Built in Colorado).

What kind of jobs is he looking to apply to? Entry level IT jobs are easier to get than dev. Junior QA is easier to get than junior SWE. He could also try looking for data analyst or research assistant positions.

Edit: Also, if he knows students a year or two above him already placed at companies, he should make sure to ask them for referrals.

steelerfan
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:33 pm

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by steelerfan »

Thanks for the response @bostonimproper. He is looking for companies that have early career development programs and entry level. He has friends in industry and in the military. I am honestly not sure if he knows distinctly where he is focusing which is a problem. He has applied for data analyst positions as well as QA and entry level programmer positions. My wife works for a large insurance company and he applied to an entry level tech program that rotates into several roles within the company. Honestly, he could probably make it through an actuarial program although after working and interacting with actuaries I am not sure it is him! He/we know many people at Lockheed as the main local plant is 5 minutes from my house. One of his hs/college friends got a finance position there. As an american born citizen it would seem like he would have a slightly easier time than some of his classmates. At the commencement it seemed like well over 50 percent of the class was from overseas. The chinese exchange guys he roomed with would probably not qualify LOL.

He has some but limited side projects but he *deeply* regrets not obtaining an internship. That was on him. Anyone in CS needs to do these.

It is still way early. We will see in a month or two. He would need more school for a data science position which would be where he would like to land. But it will not be on my dime and most likely not on his either. It is a numbers game. My wife and I are trying to keep his spirits up. He needs to continue going to the job fairs at his school (which he can do for 2 years). I am sure it will work out in the end but maybe further down the trough. I appreciate your insight.

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C40
Posts: 2529
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:30 am

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by C40 »

steelerfan wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:09 pm
graduated (Dec)... No relevant experience.
That is a huge mistake. Can't correct it with him, but if you have other kids in the pipeline make sure they are working jobs in their chosen career path while in school. Even unpaid internships - while it seems in the short term aren't 'worth it' - may be very much so in the long-run.

When your poor kid goes in interviewing, he's going up against others who have real work experience... Real stories about challenges they faced and overcame... Real evidence of how they will perform well at this employer.

And your kid: all he did was take some classes.

steelerfan
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:33 pm

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by steelerfan »

@c40....Absolutely. It was a huge mistake. He knows it and is depressed about it. I know it and was pushing him to do just that. But that is where we are. He will find something. Someone will take a chance on him. There are plenty of people with liberal arts degrees that went on to be very successful even in tech. He just took classes - yes. He will do fine though. It will probably just be a less direct course. Any kid that can get a A in a piano course in college after never playing piano or any instrument since middle school has some mathematical ability LOL. Thank you for weighing in.

FWIW my younger child is taking classes at community college and already working in his industry. And at 19 has over $30K in the bank. He will graduate this fall with an associates and will have a job. I guess he was paying attention.

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 366
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by ZAFCorrection »

I'm getting the vibe that the default plan ended up being "have degree, now job will appear," which barely works even in the most credential-heavy, regimented fields. In CS they hire people off the street if they demonstrate good ability. Your son needs to start coding today and throwing the results up on the internet. There are tons of projects out there. He just needs to get some inspiration and get started.

For instance, I have what should be a relatively simple task for him in image analysis if he wants something to do.

George the original one
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Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by George the original one »

Don't forget to have him apply for work that is in the field, but not coding. Technical sales, technical writing, quality control, etc.

steelerfan
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:33 pm

Re: New Grad Advice

Post by steelerfan »

As a postscript to this thread, today my son accepted a position as a software engineer for a defense contractor. He also interviewed with several companies including Amazon, an intelligence subcontractor and had some initial inquiries from and conversations with other alphabet agencies. It ultimately was the math they were interested in. At the place he was hired they were considering him for roles in two different teams. Thanks for all the folks that responded to my panic even the negative but honest comments. I think a lot of it is the times we are living in. His cousin and a friend for hs and college also got hired at the same company recently in different circumstances. To those that are looking for their first job - good luck and stay positive even when things are not happening. Have a good one.

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