I interviewed bunch of fresh graduates for number of software development positions. Interview graduates can go two ways – It’s interesting if they’ve done something outside their course work which can show their passions and skills. It’s tiring to hear about what subject they have studied and what are the school projects. Frankly there aren’t any interesting things to talk about school.
Dan Kegel has similar thoughts. Even better, in this article, he helps the fresh grads to understand what interviewers really looking for, and suggests number of quick ways to make you stand out from the pack. As I work in an open source company, I enjoy his suggestion on contributing to an existing open source project as a way to demonstrate your programming skills:
Whether or not you’re in college, nothing is stopping you from contributing to an existing Open Source project. One good way to start is to add unit or regression tests; nearly all projects need them, but few projects have a good set of them, so your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
I suggest starting by adding a conformance test to the Wine project. That’s great because it gives you exposure to programming both in Linux and in Windows. Also, it’s something that can be done without a huge investment of time; roughly 40 work hours should be enough for you to come up to speed, write a simple test, post it, address the feedback from the Wine developers, and repeat the last two steps until your code is accepted.
How To Get Hired — What CS Students Need to Know – [Dan Kegel]