Monday, February 11, 2008

High Tech Job Workshop

It all started a bit over two years ago. I was thinking to myself, you know, I didn't really learn the skills I needed to get a job in high tech during those co-op preparation classes I had to take. They really focussed on interview questions and resume styles that suited the majority of students present, but those students were from arts, business, and other similar programs. It was high time somebody focussed on our needs as computer science students.

So I set out to design and deliver a workshop for my fellow students, intended especially to help new co-op students get their heads in the game as they started to apply for their first jobs. I would cover technical interviews, resumes, and co-op experiences such as living out of province. And I would showcase all of these things from the perspective of the students who had done it already.

(That's me at the very first event)

Thus was born my first annual high tech job workshop. It called "Co-op Tips and Advice" due to the co-op focus and inspiration. Around 20-25 students showed up to listen to me and three other co-op students talk about their experiences, as well as our program co-op coordinator's advice. After all that talking, they were happy to be fed with some free pizza and pop.

But it didn't end there. No, as was alluded to when describing the event as the "first annual," there were more editions to come. Last year was the second workshop, which was re-branded so as to attract and benefit a wider population. It was renamed the "High Tech Job Workshop" and focussed solely on technical interviews. By being more specific, even people who went to the first event could benefit from the second.

This time around, I developed my own content. I created a set of slides that included several activities for the participants to do. At first they were a bit shy about it and didn't really know what to make of it, but once they got into it, the evening was much more enjoyable and interactive. The silly-factor of some of the activities helped them remember the key points about succeeding in interviews. Our co-op coordinator also made his appearance to tell students what he felt managers were looking for during interviews with potential co-op students. Once again, the students were rewarded with free pizza.

So what about this year? Well, now that I am no longer an undergraduate and not part of CCSS (Carleton Computer Science Society), I'm not really in the best position to be providing these workshops. It was time to pass the torch, so to speak. So I encouraged the new CCSS executive to continue with what has been a really successful event. I offered my help to get them started, but they didn't need it. They were able to take what they learned in previous years and come up with a similar, yet unique format for the evening.

This year, the event featured a talk by the CEO of a successful local start-up, Protocode. The co-op coordinator did his thing as per usual, and several students once again spoke about their experiences. Best of all, I was able to obtain some sweet Google swag for those that RSVP'ed thanks to my contact for the Google Ambassador Program! There was awesome feedback about this year's event, and I am very happy to see that my tradition will be carried on, hopefully for years to come.


Post a Comment

Comments are moderated - please be patient while I approve yours.