how to best spend my final year at uni to get my dream job?

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how to best spend my final year at uni to get my dream job?

Postby scheinfrei » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:48 pm UTC

hello guys,

well, the title says it all: this another one of those "student getting close to graduation getting pensive about his future"-topics. please bear with my anyway :).

so, i'm studing mathematics with computer science as my side subject at a small-ish german university. the way things are looking now i'll probably be done with my master in a bit more than a year.
after coming back from a semester abroad (in singapore, if you're interested), i've spent the last few weeks thinking about what i want to do after i graduate; and one thing seems clear to me: i definitely don't want to stay in academia. from what i've seen so far, i feel like getting your phd / teaching etc requires a lot passion for your subject; and while i defintely like maths, i dont feel like i'd be sufficiently enthusiastic to last long enough to get my phd; let alone doing the usual research-/teaching career afterwards.
i also figured out that i want to get a job related to software development; if possible working mostly in algorithm engineering and software desgin. i'd also like to work abroad, preferably in some english speaking country.
the problem is that im not sure whether im fully prepared for such a job... i guess i need to describe my skills a bit to give you a clearer picture.
in math, i specialize mostly in optimization and operations research, and i also know my way around stochastics and algebra. however, i have only taken the beginner courses in typical "engineering math" - differential equations, fourier analysis, etc.
in computer science, i would say im at the intermediate level - i have some coding experience from uni and working part time at a practical research center (mostly java, c# and python), but im not as knowledgeable and comfortbale around coding stuff as most of the compsci majors i know.

so this leads to my final question: what would be the best way to spend my final year at uni to improve my chances of getting a job?
as far as i see it, i have these options:
1) take as many as possible courses in "useful" subjects
the problem here is that im not quite sure what would be most useful here - ill definitely do some more software engenering stuff next semester, but other that, im a bit clueless. should i try to improve my knowledge in "engineering math" or should i take some more computer science? if so, which particular fields?
2) do an internship
this is something i defintely want to do - if possible somehwere abroad. theres just one problem: because my uni schedules all exams throughout the semester break, an internship of reasonable length would probably mean that i'll need an additional semester to graduate. i still feel like some more practical experience is more than worth it - am i correct?
3) try to write my master thesis on a practical problem for some company
while this is rather uncommon at my faculty, its definetly possible and might also be combined with an internship at that company. the catch: this would probably only be possible with some small local company, so i feel like this would be hurting my chances at getting a job abroad... it would also be more work than just getting a topic assigned, but im quite ok with that.
4) keep my part time job at the practical research center
this is something i'll definitely do (it even earns some money :) ).

what do you guys think about those points? do you have some other suggestions? i also tried discussing this with some graduates i know, but since most of them work in some academia-related job, they always nudged my towards getting a phd and waiting with my decision until after im done (which i really cant see myslef doing right now).
anyway, thanks a lot in advance for your answers :).

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Re: how to best spend my final year at uni to get my dream j

Postby bluebambue » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:43 am UTC

I'm not in CS myself, but here are my opinions.

I think if 2 is possible, that would really help. Work experience is highly prized in hiring.

Another thing that might help is getting into the open source world somehow. This will get your name out there a bit and give you some practical experience.

And definitely do not go into academia if you do not have a passion for it.

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