I have been spending more time lately interviewing new college graduates to hire into our company. Especially, the computer majors from the 2nd tier cities. We made a conscious decision to explore the talent from these cities. Indeed, we met a few really good talent in those cities.
However, we discovered there is a gap between what the industry requires and what the students know. Irrespective of where the students are from. The gap is not necessarily in the IQ of the candidates. We found these students to be extremely good with aptitude and theory they have been taught in the course. Companies today assess what the students have done beyond their course and what are their interests.
So if you are currently a student, here are some tips to prepare yourself to get hired into your dream job.
Be curious and learn the fundamentals
Start with your PC at home. Assemble it on your own over a weekend, have you dual booted your computer with more than one OS? How about customizing different OS with some hacks? Sure, you will get into some issues but that is how you will learn how it all works. There are tons of websites that talk about latest technologies. Ensure you follow them regularly to be on top of it.
Get your hands dirty by working on the technology
Note I mention that you need to work on the technology rather than just “know” it. Many of the students we interview, just know the “buzzwords” and try to explain what it does rather what they have done with that software or technology. Organizations need the employees who are really hands-on (especially the freshers).
There is no reason for you to not work on the latest software or technology available in the world today. In these days of development on the cloud, all you need is a computer and a decent Internet connection. Most other computing infrastructure, tutorials, IDEs etc that you need are available online for free. Download them and you are on your way to work on them.
Build or participate in the user groups
Linux, python, ruby on rails or name your favorite technology. Look for the user groups in your college or city and join them. If none exists that you are interested-in, build one in your college. You will learn and discover faster about a technology by interacting with others who have similar interests. BarCamp is another valuable forum to know what is new in the world of technology and ideas to use them.
Contribute to an Open Source project
The advantage of contributing to an Open Source project, it gives you the experience of working in a diverse team. Though, all of the team members are contributing to the project from different places around the world. Contributing to an Open Source project may seem daunting at first, but it is not so tough.
Lastly, make sure you regularly follow the websites of the companies that you dream about working. This is one of the sure ways to impress the interview panel with your knowledge about the company. Best of luck!