Public Speaking & New Comp Sci Grads

I recently had the chance to talk to some computer science university students. I was there on behalf of my company with the intention of recruiting young minds away from sexier tech companies. I don’t do a lot of public speaking and in general I prefer to stay behind a computer screen and communicate digitally rather then face-to-face. Several of my colleagues have spoken at events like this on behalf of the company and it was my turn to do it. Like any task I must perform at work, I wrote a well thought through speech and delivered what I consider a compelling talk.

Public speaking is a rush! It’s also not nearly as scary as I remember it. I think the trick is to talk about something you care about and know your subject matter very well.

I talked about my career – this is something I care and know a great deal about. I shared the early days of my career, when I was first doing Co-op and how it contrasts to a Co-op student I recently hired. I made the argument that because my company is so amazing they will get great experience in X, Y and Z, whereas I was a mere code monkey at a seemingly great sweatshop. I hope it was inspiring. I figure even if they aren’t interested in joining my company I did tell them what they should be looking for their first position. I think it’s common sense, but it’s best to go somewhere where you get to learn. There’s the temptation to get any job, but the sooner they get a good job the sooner they’ll be heading in a direction best for them. Far too many companies are looking for code-monkeys to just crank out code. As a new grad that’s a horrible environment for learning. When starting out it’s important to work with smart developers that have time to mentor and train you. It’s also important for students to realize their education isn’t over. They MUST keep learning. You can certainly coast at your current education level for some time, but before you know it you’ll be wondering why your career has hit a ceiling and you are having a hard time finding that job you really want. Anyhow, maybe they’ll be more public speaking in the future. I’d like to do a tech talk on something… I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

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