I meant to mention this closer to when it actually happened, but I was swamped last quarter!
Since I already had an internship lined up for this summer, I decided to take a different approach to interacting with companies at the winter recruiting fair. I identified a few companies who seemed like they would have a lot of data to manage and analyze. I approached each one, and rather than engaging in what sometimes feels like a cattle call (walk up to the booth, hand them a resume, get a t-shirt, maybe solve a coding challenge), I engaged them in a conversation about their data management and storage solutions.
I didn’t have any particular end in mind, other than scoping out companies for next year. Mostly I just thought it would be fun to interact with them without the pressure to be impressive. And it was legitimately fun. I got to stand around and talk shop. Inevitably, I got handed to someone higher up in the company, as the people greeting at the booths tended to be newer employees (certainly not always the case). Walking up with a specific question let me determine whether the company’s tech stack sounded interesting, whether I might want to pursue a position with them in the future, and landed me a couple of direct contacts for the future. My plan is to focus my energy on a few companies that I have a strong interest in, so that I don’t have to miss too much lecture time (I’d rather spend my time here learning).
The highlight of the experience, I think, was that Twitter’s graph/blog storage team manager (Charlie Carson) happened to be on site! I got to chat with him about some of their internal, custom-built storage solutions. It was pretty fascinating to hear about their approach given the sheer quantity of data they have to manage; a bit about what works and what they’re moving away from, given the different ways in which the company and their users want to access (or analyze) the data.
Next time, while I will be actively looking for a position, I think I’ll try to keep this mindset. Highly recommended! 🙂