Job markets for computer science careers

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Many interviewers will sit next to an interview watching them code a solution

Vishnu Challa, Site Manager

Today’s job markets are often predictable in their hiring patterns. They require background checks on education, past employment and current skill sets applicable to the job. Although none of this differs from a computer science (CS) job, the exceptions set in the CS industry are much more stringent on those criteria.

After the technology boom during the 2000s, information technology (IT) became a glorified career path. With great pay and optimal work-life balance, it offered an opportunity that many could use at the time.

Ten years later, though, competition has grown fierce among individuals for even the chance to interview at those spots. This forces people to obtain absurd skill sets for jobs that will not need them just to pass the interview.

Senior Tarun Vedula gave a summary of what he’s learned about this obstacle as a potential computer science employee. “Companies are putting extreme standards on interview candidates. Most people interviewing at these big companies have degrees for the technical aspects they ask. They should just test on the skillsets they need and nothing else,” he said.

Leetcode has become a fundamental tool to even pass the first couple rounds of these interviews. The goal of this course is to teach coders how to find solutions to theoretical problems in hopes of using what they learned on real-world problems.

The issue is how pedantic and irrelevant these questions have become. They are not designed to test the skills of the stronger programmers but, rather, to weed out the weaker ones. This becomes tiresome to those who can already apply these skills but must still practice them to meet the interviewer’s requirements.

Because of how saturated this field is, its interviewing characteristics unsurprisingly match those of college admissions. At higher levels, private/Ivy League schools rarely care about GPA or ACT/SAT scores. Since their school is already so prestigious, extracurriculars and outside-of-school experiences are more valuable to them.

In both cases, a standardized scoring system does not benefit the weaker individuals but forces the stronger ones to push themselves further.

On the other hand, Rithvik Vanga believes the current situation is ideal for sorting through the variety of competitors. “I think this kind of competition is good for interviews. Potential candidates should be willing to put in the effort to prove their skills are valuable. If training on a couple of challenging thought problems is what it takes to show off my technical skills, I’m willing to put in that effort”, he said.

Although this is not ideal for a career-seeking individual in CS, the system does ensure companies find the most dedicated people for their offerings. The current state of the market also encourages this competition, so unless demand plateaus for these jobs, people will be forced to fight for the plentiful but challenging openings around them.