On Monday, Feb. 6, 659 students from computer science, computational modeling and data analytics, and computer engineering students attended the CS|Source Student Career Fair. The biannual event was attended by dozens of employers including the National Security Agency, GEICO, and the CoStar Group. Following the career fair, employers invited select students to participate in on-site interviews.

Ahead of the event, the Department of Computer Science offered programming to prepare students for success at the career fair, including resume reviews, course panels, and technical interview sessions. Students were encouraged to research employers ahead of the career fair, explore resources on dressing professionally, and engage in resume writing workshops and practice interviews at the Career and Professional Development.

“This was my first time attending the fair, and I had such a good experience putting myself out there and talking to companies about what opportunities they have for me,” says computer science senior Udom An.

To prepare for the event, An set up meetings with the Career Center to practice interviews, update his resume, and learn corporate etiquette. By going to the fair, An gained a better sense of career opportunities and interview experience. He spoke with representatives from CACIRGI, and Accenture.

Also in attendance was volunteer Deep Datta, a senior majoring in computer science. This was Datta’s second time volunteering for the event, in which he helped with setting up and greeting company representatives. Datta says he enjoys volunteering for this event because he likes contributing to the computer science community. He also values the experience of running events and getting to know the companies better.

“The fair made me think of the sorts of careers I could have within contracting or working for a company in general. I specifically want to code artificial intelligence- and machine learning-based projects for companies and mainly use them for projects that wouldn't be used in weaponry or used for harm, rather in emergency services, rescues, and disaster relief,” says Datta, who met with PeratonMITRE, and CoStar Group.

“The biggest thing to gain from career fairs, in my opinion, is the ability to know how to talk with professionals, advocate for yourself, and understand what you're looking for,” says Justin Vita, a graduate student that primarily works with cybersecurity. Vita met with American Systems, MITRE, and Verisign.

“I like the career fair as it allows me to talk to people about my qualifications instead of hoping my application gets seen online. Additionally, I find employers who are looking for skills that I did not know they were looking for. This career fair, I found one employer who was searching for people with high-performance computing skills which I was not aware of, so I definitely got a better view on what my opportunities are because of CS|Source,” says Vita.

 In preparation for the career fair, 65 students attended a CS-sponsored resume review workshop and 91 students attended a technical interview session sponsored by Bloomberg, one of the CS|Source stakeholder members. Forty-two students volunteered at the event, which was attended by 27 companies, 12 of which conducted on-site interviews.

“I had never gone to the fair because I felt scared and like I wouldn’t have landed anything. I want to share with other students that the first step is always the hardest and you should just go for it. You can’t fail, you can only learn,” says An.

Written by Tayler Butters, Communications Intern for the Department of Computer Science at VT.

All photography by Tayler Butters for the Department of Computer Science at VT.