Observations From My First Career Fair

I had the opportunity to take part in an engineering career fair at a major university this week. My first.

There a few things that really stuck out to me:

  1. There are a ton of really smart kids engineering programs these days. I feel like they are smarter and better equipped than I was at their age.
  2. Engineering is still a great field to go into. Companies were doing everything they could to catch the attention of the sea of talent passing them by.
  3. Most computer science students already have a job by the time they graduate. Companies are recruiting young and trying to hold on.
  4. Nobody had their parent with them. According to the Wall Street Journal we should have seen around 6% of students toting their parents around. Maybe they’re waiting for the interview?
  5. There are virtually no young women interested in computer science or hardware engineering. We talked to very few women during the entire six-hour event.

At first, I thought this last point might be a simple coincidence but it turns out less than 12% of Computer Science bachelor’s degrees were awarded to women at US PhD-granting institutions in 2010-11(PDF). Compare that with the 60% of degrees for any major going to females.

Most of you reading this are probably saying “yeah, this has always been a problem”. And, to some degree I’ve always known. However, it really hit home for me seeing this huge discrepancy first hand.

I’m not sure what the answer to this problem is, but I’m pretty certain by the time a student approaches their senior year of high school, we’re already too late.

Overall, the career fair was a success. I’m optimistic about the future of our industry. I just hope we manufacture enough of them.

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What do you think?