Ideally, anyone who graduates from college should be able to start working immediately. This, however, is not the reality at all. Graduating does not equate to a job. However, working along the way during college, but before you are ready to enter the work force, allow for much greater opportunities when you are ready to begin your career.
One major way to begin working towards your career is to begin a research program. The Jacob’s School of Engineering has several different partners where a student can get a position including (but certainly not limited to) the Center for Networked Systems (CNS), the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), and Information Theory and Applications Center. At such research centers, students could study topics from cyberinfrastructure to network management to application of programming skills into real world fields. With such options, not only does research show dedication on the part of the student, but there is so much that can be learned that will help with increasing the skills available for your resume.
Another big way to help reach a career during your college years is to get involved in learning programming languages through competitions and hackathons. UCSD often holds hackathons, such as the hackathon sponsored by Teradata that will be this weekend. In a hackathons such as the one being held this weekend, writing a high level program will qualify you to attend the next level competition. This is eventually bring you to a high level competition, where winning would set you apart from students from a widespread area. Depending on the size of the hackathon, it could ultimately set you apart from other students in the entire state or nation. Compared to those who have never attempted to compete in a hackathon, the size doesn’t even matter; simply showing such a level of interest that you are willing to compete in a hackathon is more than most people.
Perhaps one of the best ways to help work towards a job is to first have an internship. Through TESC’s program DECaF, or other forms of on-campus job fairs, it is fairly simple to work towards an internship for even some of the largest companies. For example, at today’s job fair on library walk, there were representatives from companies as large as Intel and Qualcomm looking for CS majors to work for them. There were also several small companies looking for interns, which could offer different kinds of experiences for people looking to have experience in a more close-knit environment. Regardless, both large and small companies offer opportunities to students of all years, meaning that anyone in the CS has the opportunity to gain work experience. Collectively, it almost seems hard to not get a job with all of the opportunities available to computer science/engineering students.