Thirty-eight well-known companies converged onto the CSUN campus Tuesday Sep. 23, with the hope of finding new talent to fill techie positions within their organizations.
The Fall Tech Fest, which is hosted by the Career Center, provides students with a medium to bridge the sometimes perilous gap between college life and the big picture.
As students shuffled into the USU, Northridge Center, they were greeted by a slew of Career Center workers, handed a map and directed into the main room where employers waited eagerly.
‘This is one of the few events that are for a particular group, which of course is for the technical/engineering/computer (majors),’ said Patricia Gaynor, assistant director of senior year transition and employment programs. ‘We just started doing this last spring 2008 and this is our second one; it’s becoming a standard.’
Students such as Najwa Maiwandi, a civil engineering major, were eager to sift through the companies in search of a perfect fit.
‘I’m actually currently employed but I was hoping to sort of see what else was out there,’ Maiwandi said. ‘As an engineer I want to feel like I am at the best (place) I can be.’
While Maiwandi was excited about the opportunity to network and get herself out there, she was also a little disappointed.
‘You know, a lot of them (companies) just tell you to go online and submit your resume there and they’ll be hiring in October/November,’ said Maiwandi. ‘It hasn’t been all that informative, but you know, it’s better than nothing.’
Employers were sympathetic to grievances shared by persons like Maiwandi, but were quick to point out the significant upsides.
‘I’m fresh out of college and I know exactly what the students are feeling,’ said Corie Garcia, former CSUN student and current Fox Interactive Media employee. ‘I was at this tech fest, April of 2008.’
Garcia’s advice is to jump through whatever hoops lie in front of you in order to reach the desired goal.
‘I got recruited through Fox Interactive Media, started my internship in May, it ended in September and I got hired full-time.’ Garcia recalls. ‘One thing led to another and I ended up being a full-time employee for MySpace.’
Garcia currently works on security for MySpace, the popular social-networking site, one of the many companies that falls under Fox Interactive Media’s conglomerate umbrella.
According to Garcia not only are the internships at Fox Interactive Media paid, but the full-time positions which stem from those internships boast impressive starting salaries.
‘In the base company, techies will be paid more than business and marketing people,’ he said. ‘It’s definitely in the upper end, 60 (thousand) plus.’
Garcia is just one of the many former students that have been able to make the leap from student to career person, a position afforded by this very program.
‘A lot of our students end up getting their internships and their positions from these fairs,’ said Gaynor. ‘They make a lot of their first contacts here or they start their networking going.’
However, not everyone in attendance was gung-ho about landing an internship or dropping off a resume.
‘I’m here for extra credit,’ said Ons Daaloul, a computer science major.
Daaloul went on to mention that while interested in the fair, he was unable to take full advantage of the opportunities available.
‘I’m not an American citizen so they can’t help me,’ Daaloul said.
Regardless of what brought students out to the Fall Tech Fest, all those who attended the event had the opportunity to gain something. Whether that was an internship, practice speaking to potential employers, or even extra credit for a class, the benefits were evident.