Startuplife after Computer Science

The background

I made an observation some months ago: almost everything I see regarding recruiting, sourcing and talent has a top down approach1. This works great for med-senior hires, people who already have a profile and some work experience, who push rich content to the web and who are therefore easily findable.

But getting in contact with top graduates straight out of Uni is a whole different story. The students mostly have zero idea on what awaits them on the other side when they graduate.

Yes, there will probably be a Career Fair where the Top-Co's, Blue Chips and other big fish try to lure the youngsters into their company. But for early stage startups the chance of hiring a high potential is quite slim. This needs to change, as there are a lot of youngsters who'd like a startup experience first over a big-co experience.

There is a good thing happening in the startup scene: the fact that startups are getting better at hunting and reaching out themselves. Or even employ someone in talent / recruitment quite early stage to reach out to talent.

But, here is the caveat, most students have no Github, no Linkedin, no Stackoverflow, no Angellist, no blog, no online presence at all. At University the major concern is the focus on Computer Science related courses, there is not much emphasis on the life thereafter.

So, I put one and one together and decided I would try to fix this bottom up and try to become a guest lecturer at Universities, teaching their students the tips, tricks and best practices of building rich online profiles. In my opinion the best chance of landing a cool startup job: being found by one of my colleagues due to what they find out online about you -- being it your open source projects, interests shown on your blog or anything in between.

1 With top down I mean us recruiters searching for talent ourselves online

The case

Since I had a trip planned to Beirut, Lebanon and they have a pretty good Computer Science department at the 'American University of Beirut' I decided to reach out to the Chairman of the CS Dept Wassim El-Hajj.

I proposed a guest lecture / seminar for the CS students and he was immediately interested. That's what I like about the Lebanese, if you want to do something different, they are most likely to support you in every way they can.

So, off I went, September 10th to give my seminar on Friday the 11th. I was very surprised by the high volume of students that were interested. A whopping 70 students, from Freshman to Alumni (!!) showed up to hear my story that I branded: 'startup-life after Computer Science'.

I told a little about Improbable.io & AndreessenHorowitz, about our technology and how startups search for talent -- but after that delved right in with practical tips on how to host your (free) blog on Github, how to join open-source software projects and commit to them, how to use Gitter.im to get help from other developers by direct chatting to them in Github repos.

But also how to build an appealing profile on Linkedin, to ask questions and maybe answer CS stuff on Stackoverflow and told them why Angellist is important if you want to go startup life.

Super stoked about the questions I got after the seminar, it made me feel that one-hour seminars are just not quite sufficient. There is such a need to help students getting ready for the real world, after graduation.

I have the feeling I could easily build to one day seminars or even turn this in an actual course for 1st years Computer Science grads. I am exploring those opportunities, as I love teaching people new stuff.

If you are working for an University and feel your curriculum lacks real-world experience, or maybe you are a student and you feel a course / seminar could benefit your year. Do not hesitate to get in contact -- I would be happy to come give a seminar.

Thanks for reading, if you'd like to comment -- please do!

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