Rutgers program brings computer science students closer to employers
The industrial affiliates program (IAP) run by the Rutgers Department of Computer Science aims to help computer science majors find jobs and internships in their field.
Sesh Venugopal, director of Introductory Undergraduate Instruction in the Department Computer Science, is also the founding director of the IAP. The program was founded in 2009.
“It was because there were a lot of companies that were looking to connect with the student community better and get to know what the students were doing and then recruit them for jobs and internships,” he said.
The IAP has affiliations with certain companies that come and connect with students on campus. This allows them to know what is going on at the Department of Computer Science and find out understand what each offered course does, he said.
Students are able to speak to these affiliates, giving those companies insight to what the students themselves do, he said.
When choosing which companies participate in the program, Venugopal personally attends career fairs and is on the lookout for companies that would be a good match for the program. He especially looks for companies that are less well known but are doing great work in the technology field, he said.
“For example Merck. Because it’s a pharmaceutical, (students) don’t think there is actually equal technology happening there. Because of that, there are a good number of companies, in the area especially, that are doing really good technology work that students don’t really know about,” he said.
He also speaks to each company to see what technologies and skills they are hiring for, and then determines if they are a good fit for the program, he said.
It’s also an advantage to students because the IAP is a more targeted program for computer science students compared to regular career fairs, Venugopal said.
“There’s only about seven or eight companies in the program and (students) get to talk to all them if they want. And they get to also talk about their experience better. A lot more than what they can do in a career fair,” he said.
There are many ways in which students can get in contact with companies affiliated with the program, Venugopal said.
The first level of contact would be to look at the IAP website where students can look through all the companies, what they do and what they’re looking for. The website also posts job and internship announcements and events held by the company, Venugopal said.
Venugopal also connects the companies with student clubs such as the Undergraduate Student Alliance of Computer Scientists (USACS) and Women in Computer Science (WCS), he said.
“These companies are free to come to campus for events that are held by the student clubs. So that gives the option for networking outside of your regular interviews,” he said “The companies also come to HackRU for example and again students get to see them there and they get to see the students.”
Anna Faytelson, a School of Arts and Science sophomore, is currently utilizing the IAP in order to find potential internships and jobs.
Faytelson has the chance to meet certain companies as well as students who have interned there, she said.
“I just attended a networking event for Lockheed Martin and I learned about the company, their internship and job opportunities, and I even got to speak with students who have interned for them and their experience,” she said “It’s basically a bunch of students who have gone to Rutgers and they explain their experience and how they got those jobs.”
The IAP was much more targeted compared to career fairs held by career services, which look for a broad type of majors, she said.
These companies are looking specifically for computer science majors, so students immediately know the company is interested in them, she said.
“When you meet and go to these recruiting events they know that you’re a computer science major and they right off the bat are interested in you because they know that you’re interested in them.”
For computer science students searching for opportunities, Faytelson said she recommends talking with professors.
She got involved with the IAP by reaching out to Venugopal and asking about potential opportunities, she said.
“Computer science is so broad I would talk to professors, go to their office hours, e-mail them and especially (Venugopal). He honestly has helped me a lot,” she said. “The professors definitely care about the student’s future here at the computer science department."
Madhuri Bhupathiraju is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @madhuri448 for more