Are you entering your final year of your Information Technology or Computer Science degree and already feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the work that you are facing? This week at Verify we guide you on how to make the most of your final year and target it for a graduate role and the career you want.
I’m in 4th year of my computer science – how do I maximise my chances of getting a job next summer?
1) Consider Your Career Options
We speak to lots of graduates who are looking for development jobs because that’s what Computer Science degrees push you towards. However, the IT world is vast – there are various options and paths and it is a completely individual decision.
Look at job boards and see what job descriptions you find interesting. Pay particular attention to the roles and responsibilities. Think about what parts of your course you enjoy the most and look at jobs in that area. If you have a chance, try to talk to some people in the industry to get the inside track on the role.
Simply put, if you don’t really like coding then development probably isn’t for you. This may impact the modules you follow, the project you complete and the roles that you will apply for so it is definitely worth setting aside time to think about where you see yourself working next September.
2) Have A Great Project
Your final year project is going to be a major topic in most of your interviews. Every recruitment consultant and every hiring manager are going to ask you about it. You will want to have something awesome to talk about.
Some colleges assign projects while some allow you to choose a topic yourself. If you’re in a college that does the former and you have an amazing idea, try talking to a lecturer about it – perhaps you’ll get more support than you would expect. Even if you can’t choose your project try to approach it in an innovative way that you would be happy to talk about in an interview.
If you’re doing a group project – do the part of the project that aligns with your career interests. If you want to be a developer, take on a heavy portion of the coding. It seems a bit obvious but I’ve talked to grads that did all the documentation for their team and wrote no code and then they struggle to get into the development job they want.
Challenge yourself. Learn a new language. Do something innovative. The world has enough Android apps that check the weather.
3) Work Hard
This is the year that counts. Some colleges aggregate third and fourth-year grades to get your final grade but for most of you, this year’s grade is what goes on your degree. It will be a tough year but there is a significant reward waiting for you at the end!
The harsh reality is that most of the top employers look for the 1:1 students and the high 2:1 grades. If you get a 2:2, all is not lost but you will most likely have to take an alternative path.
The internet is stuffed with resources in every single area of IT. You couldn’t be in a better area to get additional help – you can access free lectures from Harvard, you can take free programming courses, there’s a subreddit for nearly everything. Read beyond the course on everything.
You’re going to get fed up and tired at some point but think of the career and salary waiting for you at the end of it all!
4) Squeeze In An Internship
It’s possibly too late to tell you this now but an internship will hugely increase your chances of getting a job at a top-tier company. Your internship should be in the area you plan to work in as again it will form a large part of any interviews and should reflect the role for which you are interviewing.
If your college doesn’t provide them, see if you can get yourself into a company for a few weeks at Easter or talk to some start-ups and ask if you can intern part-time. There are options and workarounds to get some real-world experience. This experience will be appreciated by companies and leaned upon by you in your early months.
With these four considerations, you should be well on the way to maximising your final year to get you the graduate job and ultimately career you want! It will be hard but remember the payoff is there at the end.