Students and companies welcome in-person touchpoints at fall career fair
September 7, 2021
The Department of Computer Science held its first in-person CS|Source fall career fair since 2019 on September 13, where hundreds of students gathered to speak with the representatives of various tech companies, with hopes to connect with potential employers.
“Getting to meet the reps in person again is much better than meeting them virtually,” said one student who attended the previous virtual career fair. “The (virtual) lines were so long and sometimes we only got to talk to them through a text convo.” Another student remarked that the virtual fair allowed them to wait in multiple lines at once, however it was difficult to make any personal connections.
After speaking with some of the representatives, it seemed that they shared this sentiment. According to Virginia Tech alumni with CACI International, two key characteristics that they look for in a potential intern is the ability to articulate ideas clearly and a passion for computer science, qualities that are nearly impossible to gauge over a zoom call. “Technical skills are teachable,” said Dennis Nguyen, a software developer at CACI and Virginia Tech computer science graduate (’19). “We look for students who have good communication skills and the drive to excel.”
Matt Howard, a representative from CoStar Group who works in the campus recruiting and branding, said that Virginia Tech students make ideal candidates because they tend to have well-rounded skill sets and come from a culture that facilitates good communicators.
In addition to legacy companies, three companies held booths for the first time: Kentik, Mosaic Learning Inc., and West Creek. Boomer Muth, president and co-founder of West Creek and a mechanical engineering (’02) graduate of Virginia Tech, described their smaller company as the perfect option for passionate, entrepreneur-minded students looking to work in a fast-paced environment where they will learn quickly through hands-on projects. At the moment, West Creek (soon to be “Koalafi”) is only offering full-time employment, however they are developing an internship program that students should keep an eye out for the spring 2022 semester.
--Written by Grace Daniels, an intern with the Department of Computer Science, majoring in English and minoring in cinema.