Two articles that I caught in the feed reader: Whose bug is this anyway?!? and Redis Crashes. Both are great “war stories” about bugs in software, and the process that is involved in tracking them down. I’m thinking I need to find spaces to have students read more of these stories, so that they get a sense of what kind of hard work is necessary to be successful.
And, related to success, Why Won’t Anyone Talk To Me? digs into the current state of affairs regarding the recruiting market for CS grads.
Without the school or the job history, your best bet is going to be to do some side projects. Writing an iPhone or Android app is easy – it just takes an idea, some determination, and the ability to work through a tutorial book one chapter at a time. Alternatively, you could get involved in an open-source project. For example, Linux Kernel Newbies is a good place to start if you want to get involved in Linux development (I guarantee you, being a Linux kernel or Apache project contributor with merged diffs will catch a recruiter’s eye). There are plenty of options, but the key is that you have to finish something, ideally multiple somethings, in a public way (e.g., published in an app store).
Again, required reading for our students. And, for us as faculty: I need to be thinking about what kinds of opportunities I can help create for my students (in and out of class) that will help them move towards success.