The Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) sponsored an Education Roadshow at Oregon State on May 28 to help students tailor their education to match industry needs. Representatives from AKQA, Columbia Sportswear, Hewlett-Packard, Tripwire and Vadio answered questions about what to expect when entering the workforce and how best to prepare. The event drew 250 students which was beyond the expectations of Danny Dig, assistant professor of computer science, who facilitated and moderated the event.
Maria Powell, who attended the event, said, “Being able to get first hand advice from professionals in the industry is invaluable to me. It not only gives me ideas of what I would like my goals to be beyond college but it helps me to be pro-active about my future right now.” Powell is a senior in computer science who will be graduating this August.
Nicholas Nelson, came to the event with more experience than most students since he worked in industry before returning to school in 2012 to finish his degree. “Our industry operates at such a fast pace, things that seemed common place three years ago when I was still working are likely to have changed. I wanted to be aware of the latest and greatest, and this industry panel did not disappoint. The diversity of panelists provided an excellent glimpse into both the start-up world and the established giants of industry,” Nelson said.
To make the time with the panelists the most effective, Dig polled students ahead of time to find out what questions they most wanted answered. The top two questions were: What questions should a prospective candidate ask during an interview? What kind of coursework and/or research projects are valued by industry? All the questions and answers are available on the EECS website.
“The students loved the event and many commented that these kinds of events make them feel lucky to be at Oregon State. Several of them have continuing discussions with the panelists about jobs and interviewing,” Dig said.
The event fits with the mission of the TAO to grow the technology economy in the region by providing programs and initiatives that support industry promotion, advocacy, professional networks, and talent development.
Dig acknowledged the help of the panelists: Bryce Clemmer (Vadio), Andy Neville (Columbia Sportswear), Andy Doan (AKQA), David Whitlock (Tripwire), Shelly Reasoner (HP) who volunteered their time to answer questions; Tina Batten who helped organize the event; Kevin McGrath, instructor for Operating Systems who gave up a class period for the event; all the students who helped generate questions and took notes during the event; TAO, which started the Education Roadshow; and Chris Scaffidi, associate professor of computer science, who had the vision of bringing the Education Roadshow to Oregon State.