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CS01: Beginner’s Computer Science Career Guide

April 30, 2017

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By Areeta Wong

Introduction

Heyo! This is a “guide” for primarily for those (some stuff are strictly directed at girls) in tech hoping to find opportunities during your start of the career.  All of this information is from my own research and is in no way the most calculated and correct way to have a successful career in tech. Disclaimer: This is not the complete list and I’ll be updating this! Reach out to me through facebook if you have more resources, tips, or just information.

INTERNSHIPS 101

I’ve actually haven’t had an internship, but I’m searching for one (just like you). I’ve placed two “paths” for an internship for those who are interested in interning at a college campus or a company (steps for both are about the same.) As most tech companies are like, they don’t have a lot of set programs dedicated to freshman which is why it’s essential for you to personally reach out to companies/colleges. Additionally, keep in mind that most beginner level internships are paid through knowledge.  Best of luck!

First, make an excel spreadsheet and divide it to look something like:

excel

College Campus:

  1. Find a college to intern at
    1. Should be relatively near for you to commute
    2. Check if you are eligible to intern (some have an age requirement)
  2. Go to the college’s’ main website and search up faculty/labs doing research that interest you
    1. Make sure it’s a topic that you at least know a little about
    2. Actually be interested in the lab
  3. Make a list (10ish) of faculty/labs and the emails of the professor in charge
    1. Make sure the professor’s’ interests are aligned with yours
  4. Create an email template
      1. Should be concise ( 1 to 2 paragraphs)
      2. Introduce yourself (name, age, grade, school)
      3. Explain your passions, extracurriculars, interests, job/volunteer experience, work ethics, etc.
      4. Why you’re interested in interning at their lab
      5. Explain what you hope to gain out of the lab
      6. Describe the commitment you wish to place onto lab (hours/week)
    1. Make sure you’re polite
    2. Should have good grammar
    3. Put your resume
  5. Follow up if no response after a week.
    1. Professors are busy and have a lot of emails to go through.

Company:

  1. Research and make a list on all of the companies that you’re interested in
    1. Interest can be through their team, product, or even location
  2. Find the emails of recruiters/engineers
  3. Create an email template
    1. Introduce yourself (name, age, grade, school)
    2. Explain your passions, extracurriculars, interests, job/volunteer experience, work ethics, etc.
    3. Why you’re interested in interning at their company
    4. Explain what you hope to gain out of the company
    5. Describe the commitment you wish to place onto the company(hours/week)
    6. Make sure you’re polite
    7. Should have good grammar
    8. Put your resume
  4. Repeat about 100 times.

Resources:

Tips (courtesy of Lizzie Siegle):

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for more (help, resources, time, meeting with people, etc. ) Ask for an office visit. Ask for coffee. Ask for advice. Ask for a week long externship (outlining what you can do, what you want to do, what they’d have to do ie you’d shadow, contribute ideas, but mainly shadow.) On office visits, ask questions about culture, backgrounds, people.  A thing that I’ve learned is that adults want to help you. They want you to thrive in whatever subject you’re interested in, so take advantage and learn everything they can provide you with.
  2. Follow up if you don’t hear anything back.  
  3. Cold email. Ask everyone you know. Find someone on twitter. Find their email on their twitter or personal site or LinkedIn.
  4. Network. Point out someone’s tee shirt or laptop sticker. Bring cookies.
  5. Say yes to almost everything.
  6. Build whatever projects you enjoy and learn whenever you can.
  7. LOOK AT THE GWC #HIREME INTERNSHIPS
  8. Add resume to every email – about your cover letter and resume, these are relevant articles: https://signalvnoise.com/posts/1748-forget-the-resume-kill-on-the-cover-letter and https://signalvnoise.com/posts/1799-if-i-have-two-candidates-in-front-of-me. Just make sure your cover letter isn’t a copy/paste thing that sounds like it came out of a cookie cutter for each company 😉
  9. Do what you think is best and be smart about it. Experience is number 1. – Samuel Escapa
  10. Start out with start-ups.
  11. If you’re writing to a professor, make sure to read a paper/publication by them
  12. Be persistent.

SUMMER PROGRAMS 101

Some of these are strictly for girls only. Shout out to Michael Yoo for some of these.

Freshman Year:

Sophomore Year:

Junior Year:

Senior Year:

All Years:

Scholarships for CS:

Remember that even if you don’t attend any of these, there are still online courses or local community college courses that you can enroll in. Udacity is a great place to start!

EVENTS

RESOURCES

Things to participate in:

Things to look at:

Facebook groups to be in:

Scholarships (not CS related):

CONCLUSION

I hope all of you found that at least semi-helpful. If not, here something that you might like: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sGwicWRSK3ZMBUfU_kxzdBKx_JT88CAptJSPMS_aK4s/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true# .

A Taxonomy of Women in Technology Resources (LOOK AT THIS! Literally the best thing ever. Courtesy of Shriya Nevatia.)

Remember to PM me if you have suggestions, comments, or issues (yikes). Huge thanks to everyone who’s sent me some of these.



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