In the 28th annual alumni panel, former computer science (CS) students came back to share their experiences after NEIU. The event was on Thursday April 11 and went glitch-free.
The five panelist were Jean Boris Konan, Millie Hernandez, Joseph Rodriguez, Deena Rubin and Shane Taylor. Each had the opportunity to speak to current computer science students about the job finding process after college.
After a brief introduction from each of the panelists, the audience was able to ask questions about the panelists current jobs, the interview process and even their time at NEIU.
One of the panelist, Hernandez, advised students to “start building your LinkedIn and have someone double check your resume.”
In 2016, LinkedIn users between the ages of 18 to 24 years old made up 13.1 percent and users between 25 to 34 years old made up 23.1 percent. The latter group was the highest percentage of LinkedIn users. Many professionals, depending on the career path, also urge college students to use LinkedIn.
Current CS student, Joseph Liddell, said, “I can say that I actually like this better than job fairs. When you go to a job fair, you just give them your resume and you don’t know. You’re just up in the air,” he added, “this is more like: this is what I did, this is how I got here. I feel like we got experienced information.”
The computer science department, Computer Science Society, Alumni Relations and the NEIU Foundation all paired up to create this event for the computer science majors. According to the Data Digest Enrollment, 426 undergraduate students were working towards a Computer Science degree in the Fall 2018.
Rachel Adler, the event organizer for the last five years, said the event “gives the students a chance to see what they could do now to build up their resume so when they go in the market, they can be successful at getting jobs. One thing that they get to do is ask questions…and I think it’s very important for students to be able to ask questions to other students who’ve graduated and been through what they’ve been through.”
Current CS student, Daniel Ayvar, said that former students coming back to NEIU is good for the current students. “I think it’s important because a lot of times we don’t really get to hear the success stories of other students. Most just leave and they don’t look back — they don’t come back to the university and interact with the people currently going there,” Ayvar said.
The panelist even shared some specific classes and teachers at NEIU that help the interview process. Panelist Jean Boris Konan shared his experience of taking the programming I and II classes at NEIU. Konan said that it is the “core of computer science knowledge” and encouraged students to keep trying. “Of course you are going to fail, but you should still try.”
Liddell was inspired by this and said “this is first hand experience with people working, not just a corporation”.
Once the panel was over, the attendees were allowed to approach the panelists for more questions. Daniel Roldan, a current CS student, had a conversation with Rodriguez after the panel. “When I was talking to Joseph Rodriguez he gave me good recommendations. One of the things he mentioned was ‘whatever you are going to put on your resume, be ready to talk about it.’”
After graduating from NEIU, the panelists used their knowledge from the CS classes to successfully complete the interview process.
Ayvar said, “I’m happy to see students that have succeeded in the industry because a lot of time, I feel discouraged when looking for jobs and interviews. So to see students who have graduated here with degrees, able to find high paying — well — awesome jobs in the computer science industry, it really inspires me to keep trying, regardless of how many times I’ve failed.”