TechConnect 2013 Spring

January 25, 2013

The spring session of TechConnect continues to grow, with 32 businesses registered and about 350 computer science and engineering students attending the biannual networking event\'s fourth spring edition on January 22.

\"The big excitement this year was both Apple and HondaJet accepting our invitation and making their first respective engineering trips to recruit at Duke,\" said Kirsten Shaw, assistant director of Corporate and Industry Relations in the Pratt School of Engineering and co-organizer of TechConnect. \"As usual, the companies continue to be impressed with Duke engineering and computer science students.\"

In particular, HondaJet was impressed with the event\'s student response and the caliber of candidates. \"After the event, they reviewed résumés and selected 25 candidates to interview and, to date, have made 10 intern offers to students from Duke,\" Shaw noted. \"That is unheard of!\" The company ending up hiring nine students for the summer.

TechConnect, hosted this spring in the Fitzpatrick Center by the Department of Computer Science and the Pratt School of Engineering, provides companies that have technical interests with priority access to students before the Duke Career Fair. It is part of a broader collaboration between the CS department and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The separation of the departments is an artifact of history, noted Assistant Professor Benjamin Lee, with a primary appointment in ECE and a secondary one in CS. The two departments coordinate curriculum development for undergraduates � cross-listing some courses � as well as graduate recruiting. \"We have, typically, very close research collaboration,\" noted Lee, whose research team is made up of two CS and two ECE students who work on energy efficient computing with a focus on data centers and cloud computing. \"It\'s seamless. If you would walk into my lab, you couldn\'t tell who\'s who. The research could easily be called CS or ECE.\"

A number of students in the two departments end up with double majors in the two fields or an emphasis in one and a minor in the other. \"People doing this course of study will take all their computer engineering courses on the ECE side but also take systems and software-oriented classes on the CS side,\" Lee explained. \"With that mix of courses, they can go to a place like TechConnect and pretty much talk to any computing company or IT company out there.\"

This year\'s event had a heavier information technology focus. IBM and Cisco were among the data analytics companies participating that have recruited multiple times at TechConnect, with Cisco attending the spring event for the past three years and the fall event since 2006, missing only in fall 2008. The evening started in Schiciano Auditorium with an hour-long panel discussion featuring representatives from BD, BNY Mellon, Cvent, GM Information Technology, IBM and VMware. Panelists were given the opportunity to also speak about their company, their role or career path, why they were recruiting at Duke and positions they were recruiting for. Ninety minutes of networking followed in the Atrium.

\"I believe that as companies continue to focus their resources on specific core schools or look for opportunities to make the most of their sometimes shrinking budgets, TechConnect offers a specific return on investment,\" Shaw said. \"For those companies looking for engineering and CS students, it is the place to be!\"

She noted that through the event, companies can invest 2.5 hours in interacting with a specific segment of the Duke student population and gain a return of being able to connect with high talent and high potential candidates for internships or full-time positions. The fall session typically is focused more on full-time recruitment, while the spring session focuses more heavily on internships. However, some companies � like GE, ExxonMobil, St. Jude Medical, Boeing and Google � open intern recruiting in the fall or recruit only in the fall for interns and full-time employees. \"So we encourage students to be ready for intern hiring early with these companies,\" Shaw said.

The next TechConnect takes place September 10. It is co-sponsored by the Department of Computer Science, the Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke Career Center.

View the TechConnect 2013 Spring web site