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The dilema

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Evening all..

Not so technical this entry...[smile]

Anyway, scared the **** outta myself the last couple of days - I realised that I don't really know for sure what I want to do, yet I really need to decide sometime soon.

I'm talking graduate jobs. June 2006 (a mere 8 months away) I should be graduating with a BSc in Computer Science. Consequently It'll be time to go get a job.

I don't think it's the usual stuff that I'm bothered about, more a fundamental decision down one of two paths.

Firstly, I could just follow a lot of my friends and pick up a place from various companies specifically looking to pick up CS graduates. Went to the grad-fair today, companies like Fujitsu, Airbus, GCHQ, Siemens etc... offer jobs for people like me.

These companies tend to open up their graduate applications about this time of year - which is different to a lot of recruitment where they won't actually be getting a new employee for around 9-10 months or so.

The companies that tend to actively look for graduates tend to also have a graduate scheme included, along with other graduates in similar roles at the same company. It's no small thing to join a company that have already prepared some initial training/social type things to make sure all is well [smile]

Downside, those same companies don't really offer the sort of work I'd want to make a career from. Sure, the work (a lot of scientific/systems modelling and client software customization etc..) wouldn't exactly be dull, but I wouldn't be at the company for the job.

Secondly, I could try and do my research and target a number of companies doing the sort of work I want to do - the sort of job where I'm there simply because I love the work and the payslip is just a bonus at the end of the month. The sort of idyllic job that most people (including me) dream of having.

In my particular case it'd probably be games/middleware/multimedia type work. The sort of stuff that I'm hanging around GDNet for [smile]

Downside is that these companies are often a lot more specialist (e.g. down to specific programming skills and/or industry experience) and hence don't tend to just take on a bunch of graduates and hope for the best.

They also tend to be smaller companies, such that if I did get a job with one I might well be the only new-hire/graduate working there. This is sort of the flip-side to the point I made above about larger graduate recruiters being better setup to help us "move in".

The other big problem with this route is that, being smaller companies probably without an established grad scheme, I wouldn't be able to apply now. I'd have to wait till next summer, once I'm actually "free" and hope that some decent positions were on offer and that I got one. This can get a bit stressful as I'd end up spending however many months post-graduation bumming around living off my savings account and all that... an established graduate scheme makes for a potentially smoother transition from university to job.

Any thoughts on this?
I think I might ask the audience!
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My professor gave me the following advice on jobs after college: cash or cachet.

Cash - you're in the job for the filthy, capitalistic, wonderful prospect of making substantial loads of money, idealism and "fulfillment" be damned. And let's face it, it's a lot easier to fulfill your personal, professional and whimsical goals when you have bulging pockets.

Cachet - the job elevates your professional profile, making you a more attractive potential collaborator to your peers and a more viable candidate to the sorts of employers you're really interested in. The pay might be fairly frugal, but the long-term returns outweigh he short-term shortage.

Ultimately, you get to a job that gives you both. The choice isn't binary; it's simply a matter of keeping your ultimate (relatively speaking) goal in sight at all times, and acting in accordance.

Best wishes.

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