The 2nd Grace Hopper Student opportunity lab was a fantastic opportunity for students and new grads to learn more about the tech industry. There were four main tracks: Career, Skills, Grad Schools & Extracurricular, all of which gave students a great opportunity to learn holistically about the world of tech.
Some interesting insights from the panels I managed to attend:
On career fairs, applying for and picking internships:
- Don’t only speak to companies you’re interested in. Talk to some that you have no interest in to warm yourself up, but also to step out of your comfort zone or what you think you might want to do. This way, you get to perfect your pitch, but you might also discover that you do want to consider the opportunity after all.
- Consider applying to different types of positions. Industry based internships are great, but consider avenues like research labs, research with professors at your school, non-profit & open source opportunities, government based opportunities and others. There’s more to computer science than the valley!
- Look into companies where you’re interested in the product or sphere, not just the fact that you’ll be writing code. Eg. Health, eCommerce etc.
On starting a community org around code:
- Tap into the existing communities. If you’re starting a student group, reach out to other related developer groups.
- Reach out to your fellow leaders in your city or if a larger org, around the country
On getting involved with open source:
- Make a list of the domain of projects you want to work on, decide on the time you want to commit and what technical stack you want to work with or improve on
- Don’t be afraid of looking stupid, the open source community is there to help you. Get familiar with IRC, mailing lists and developer forums. If you’ve tried your best to solve a problem, the community will help!
- Don’t be afraid to start as early as possible. Students can participate in structured programs like Google Summer of Code or Rails Girls Summer of Code or start by tackling a small bug in the project of their choice. Either way, jump in!
- It’s a great way to simultaneously become a better programmer, make an impact, learn how to ship high quality code and work on a (remote) team.
- Having a support or study group is always useful