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How to prepare your future?

Upcoming college senior majoring in Computer Science. Experienced with Software Engineering and Electrical Engineering. computer college engineering computer-software

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Subject: Career question for you

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18 answers


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Joyce’s Answer

Hi Lihan!

Since you've already selected a very marketable major, it's clear you have a great start in preparing for your future! Congratulations to you! A few points to keep in mind along your journey include:
- continue to monitor your related industry to see where the highest demand is growing and target your ongoing education and skill development to remain relevant in an ever changing world.
- recognize that most employers value well rounded individuals with exceptional communication skills both verbally and in written form. Complimenting your technical skills with strong communication skills will help serve as a key differentiator among your peers.
- consider the organizational culture that will match your personality most and will naturally bring out the best in you. Then, seek out those types of firms and don't settle until you find a good match. You will recognize the difference when you can't wait to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work on something you enjoy and makes a difference!

Best wishes!
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Reef’s Answer

Hi Lihan,

Think of your dream job and note that down. It is very important that you pick a career that you enjoy. There are multiple careers that you can pursue with a CS degree. If you are not sure what you enjoy, what I found most useful is to try and complete a few internships. Internships are great because they let you gain experience and at the same time you get to know what type of work you enjoy doing.

If you already know what you enjoy doing, for example, you enjoy coding and see yourself as a senior developer. Then seek a job that gives you that experience. Make sure to choose an industry that you like. Post your resume online on sites like Indeed.com, and make sure you have an updated LinkedIn profile that lists out the projects that you worked on.

For your first job don't target a bigger salary, rather target the positions that will provide you with the experience you need to get to where you would like to be. Once you get that job, make sure you give it all your focus. Learn as much as you can. View it as your masters degree, except you get paid to learn. After spending 2-3 years in that role, you will have a very good chance to land your dream job.

Hope this helps.

Reef

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Atul’s Answer

Hello Lihan,

It will be helpful to think what industry AND function excites you. With your major, you have several paths. Do you want to pursue programming? If so, which industry? Tech, Financial Services, Healthcare, Oil/Exploration, Retail? Or are you agnostic of industry? Then think about size of company -- do you want a large company to get variety of experience and work with several professionals? or do you want to focus on smaller companies where you can get opportunity to have more responsibility faster? Or do you want to use the analytical skills and do beyond programming?

Answering some of these questions will slowly help you focus. Another approach you can take is 'what you don't want to do' -- this can help narrow down the choices.

Rest assured, having empathy, strong work ethics, and good communication will bring success and satisfaction; no matter what you choose. Good luck.
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David’s Answer

Some good steps to take to prepare for the future would be to prepare a portfolio of projects that you have worked on that you can show off to any potential employers. Another step would be to practice for interviews as it is likely you will be given a problem to solve during the interview so it would be ideal to be prepared for it.
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Scott’s Answer

Work to make sure that you are find an area in your field to pursue that you are passionate about...it will make all the difference if you truly enjoy what you do!
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Medha’s Answer

Congratulations on deciding your major. Computer science is a broad, fascinating area. I would suggest exploring and researching as much as possible - does coding excite you? or are you more of a product designer? reading up on different areas will help you narrow down which areas you can pursue in the short term. The next step would be to then find opportunities for internship/volunteering in your chosen areas -- for e.g. if you are interested in coding, there are several free hackathons/coding challenges you can do sitting at home.

The other thing I suggest focusing on is developing a strong resume aligned to the areas you are planning to pursue - have a separate one for each job/area and try to highlight the skills/experience that is aligned to that job. Get this resume reviewed with folks in your network who are knowledgable of the job/area.

Finally, whichever areas you chose, continue to upskills yourself, keep abreast of the new trends /developments and taking courses if needed to learn the new skills (super important in computer science as new developments happen very frequently)

Good luck!
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joann’s Answer

Since you have already selected a major you should start researching companies in your field. Also, I would apply for summer internship positions
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Joe’s Answer

Find something you're passionate about & work to make yourself an expert in that area
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John’s Answer

Such a great question. A someone who is 14 years in to a 20 year career, I ask myself the same question. One thing i do wish that I would have done earlier, is finished my college and started a more aggressive savings plan when I had less responsibility.

With everything that is going on in the world, now is a great time to take some much needed breaks that involve a good look inside yourself. This process is called an introspection. If you are honest with yourself, you have the potential to really uncover what you want, if you are willing to put the energy into it, and if it will make you happy.

Money is not the root of happiness. It is not the root of evil either. A comfortably balanced life with good and bad stress with a decent financial compensation is all that I ask for. You have to find what works for you.
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Ahmad’s Answer

Hi Lihan,

Great, you have a good experience in Software and Electrical engineering. Points below may help in seeking the job and for our future career.

1. Interview preparation
The first preparation that graduates need to have is the technical aspects of interviewing. Since interviews are the most popular and compulsory way for employers to evaluate their potential employees, the preparation of interviewing skills is important. Here are several tips that we can use:- Research the industry and company, Clarify your "selling points" and the reasons you want the job, Prepare for common interview questions, Line up your questions for the interviewer, More practice, Be ready to handle illegal and inappropriate questions, Make your selling points clear and Speak the right body language.

2. Good communication
Workplace communication is very important to companies because it allows companies to be productive and operate effectively.

3. Expand our knowledge
We have to continue our learning, don't stop. For example, now we see the technology is moving fast. Robotic Process Automation is under AI technology that helps the business process. Machine learning, data science, and data analysis now become an important technology that we should know and use.
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Mike’s Answer

I would highly recommend you research the locations where you want to live (maybe not as important now that many jobs are remote) and what opportunities are available in that area. Try to find the job that you are most passionate about!

If you haven’t done so already, fine tune your resume and begin working on your interviewing skills. The more companies you have an opportunity to talk with, the better your chances will be to find the job that is right for you. Even after you find something, keep interviewing from time to time. It will help to know what skills are in demand in the industry and how well you are keeping up.
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Joyce’s Answer

Hi Lihan!

Since you've already selected a very marketable major, it's clear you have a great start in preparing for your future! Congratulations to you! A few points to keep in mind along your journey include:
- continue to monitor your related industry to see where the highest demand is growing and target your ongoing education and skill development to remain relevant in an ever changing world.
- recognize that most employers value well rounded individuals with exceptional communication skills both verbally and in written form. Complimenting your technical skills with strong communication skills will help serve as a key differentiator among your peers.
- consider the organizational culture that will match your personality most and will naturally bring out the best in you. Then, seek out those types of firms and don't settle until you find a good match. You will recognize the difference when you can't wait to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work on something you enjoy and makes a difference!

Best wishes!
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Brad’s Answer

It's great you have already decided on a major. Sounds like you're 1 step ahead of most students. A couple points I would keep in mind.
-Start of with a vision. Where do you see yourself after you have completed your degree. Always keep that vision in the back of your head never lose sight of it.
-Live in the now. Don't focus to hard on the past or present...it can hold you back. Focus on what you have to do now! Where you want to be in 5 years is not going to happen in a split second. Each day do what you're supposed to do and life will takes it's course!
-Always do your best to have a positive attitude! I know it's not easy, but i cant stress enough how important it is to think positive on a daily basis. Positive thoughts will bring you positive results! Vice versa with negative thoughts.

Best of Luck!
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Jennifer’s Answer

Great question and very difficult to answer without knowing more about you however my advice would be to job shadow, intern or find ways to try the different jobs before you commit to one path. I worked for years before I knew that I liked computers and I would be good at leading teams. It wasn't something I knew about myself until I started working in the field. While you are going to school, look for opportunities for internships that relate to your major to get hands on experience.
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Syed’s Answer

Hi Lihan,

While developing your technical skills is important, you're going to want to spend ample time working on your soft skills as well. Learn how to write a good technical resume. Get coached on interview skills. Get comfortable presenting in front of different groups. Learn how the business side of technology works. Learn how to put together compelling presentations and a basic business case. Network with Venture Capitalists and successful founders of tech companies. This will help you stand out from the average computer science student and position you for entrepreneurial opportunities in the future.
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Dawn’s Answer

Hello,

There are many things to consider and I may not cover all of them that you're thinking about.

There is likely a department or office available to you that assists with resume building and give you assistance in apply for jobs by holding job fairs. If you haven't already been in touch with that office, find out about it and what is offered.

Consider what experience you have to build your resume. If you've had the opportunity for internships or cooperative education work, then you already have work experience for your resume. If you haven't had those opportunities, then gather together the information you do have on whatever jobs you may have had or skills you learned doing projects at school. Did you learn specific computer languages or tools. Did you work with Microsoft or other products to learn how to create spreadsheets, presentations, flow diagrams, etc. Be honest about your skills. Interviewers will call you out if you put something on the resume and aren't able to back it up in the interview.

Consider what you do and don't want to do. Do you want to build circuit boards, do you want to build web applications, etc. I was a computer science major and I knew after taking a circuits class that building boards wasn't my forte.

Practice interviews. Interviews will be somewhat stressful as they are the unknown, but if you do practice sessions and look around the internet for different questions, you'll be better prepared. All these years later, I remember getting asked "If they built a statue of you, what would it be for and why". I must have given a decent answer because I ended up being flown out for a second interview. If you don't get the next interview or the job, keep in mind the hiring manager has an idea of what is needed or wanted to make the team better. It just may not be a good fit for all of you.

Even if you aren't sure that a job will be for you, consider taking the interview. You may be pleasantly surprised or you may find out more about your likes and dislikes.

Consider if you want to relocate or travel as part of your first job. When I graduated, the hiring market was soft. I had already gone to an out of state college to get the cooperative education experience. I looked for jobs both in my home state and the state where I went to school, but I also considered jobs in other states. I ended up moving to a new state for my first job. It is a personal decision as you have to consider life factors as well.

Consider opportunities you may not have originally thought about when you're interviewing. My first job after graduating was something I wouldn't have necessarily said was "the fit", but it gave me a good foundation to move on a few years later. I was working in a small shop and worked on everything from pulling wires and installing operating systems in the computer room to programming. That type of background gave me the opportunity to see many sides of computer related jobs and determine which ones I wanted to do more of in the future.

Consider if you would like the type of job where you move around every few year to try different aspects of a company or whether you would want to start with a specific job to build your career in a specific direction.

Try not to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Put your framework together and compare that to the current market of job opportunities.

Lastly, keep an open mind as your career develops. I now work on the business side instead of in technology. After many years, I wanted to learn more in a different direction. As long as you're always learning, you'll have a fruitful career.

Good luck
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Subathra’s Answer

Hi Lihan!

Your question itself states that you are moving on the right path. Keep going. Ask questions to the right people, meet many people, make good friends, networking is one of the keys to getting knowledge. Explore profiles in Linkedin to know what knowledge they have to achieve your dream/the desired role.

Improve your communication skills along with your studies. Learn about the different roles in an organization, research those, and find your best. Good luck!
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Michael’s Answer

Lihan,

I would start researching job opportunities and possibly apply for jobs so you can get a sense of what prospective employers are looking for in a prospective employee in your field. Since you are attending college, consult your career center if you can and get some help from professionals there to see if you can get a mentor or professional advisor. It is important and will continue to be important to develop relationships. Relationships are potentially more important than skills (though both are important). Ensure you continue to keep an open mind and continue to learn. Even though you finish with school, you should always be learning.

Good luck!
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