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March 25, 2009 2:36 PM Subscribe
What can an unskilled Computer Science student do for the summer?
posted by sarahj to Work & Money (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a college student majoring in Computer Science and I'm looking for a summer job (and it's getting desperate). I just completely failed at a semi-technical phone interview. I haven't taken programming-intensive computer science courses since last spring, but I couldn't answer basic questions about linked lists and Java objects. I didn't study in advance but when I tell myself "I'll study next time" I immediately think "I don't WANT a job I have to study for!"
When I was listening to all his tech questions I just wanted to ask the interviewer "So what good is my being able to tell you this gonna do in the long run?" I've had a CS internship or two and they have almost completely turned me off to pursuing any form of programming career. The only reason I'm looking into those kinds of jobs is that it's all I can find, and it's what a CS student is "supposed" to do.
When I program independently or for school projects, I use Google and Wikipedia regularly. I know enough to know what to look for. I know this probably does not qualify me as a "programmer" - but "programmer" seems to be the main kind of internship or job for CS students out there. I got into CS by doing basic web design and web programming, but I'm missing a lot of the skills most of the 'web developer' internships out there require. Plus I can't pass myself off as a web designer when I've hardly touched Photoshop. I'm motivated and could teach myself more, but during classes I don't have a lot of time and it's hard for me to get into it without a specific project to work on.
I've taken the bare minimum of CS classes in school and none of them are "real world" applications that would be useful in a corporate/IT setting. I'm never going to be good enough to be a software programmer and I'm hopeless with hardware. I have no idea what I want to do, other than wanting to do something "good," "helpful" or "useful." Except- I'm not good with teaching or working with people (I don't think I would make a stellar computer camp counselor, for example). I would be interested in research but I've been a part of a couple projects that have made me want to avoid it. I already know where I'm going to be living this summer (near a major city), so unfortunately I can't travel long distance for an opportunity like an REU.
I'm so frustrated! This is the general attitude I've had since I started my CS major - I can get by, but I'm not good enough. But I need a job! and a career! What can I possibly do this summer with a CS major and poor CS skills? Even if I can't find a decent internship this summer, what careers could I look into? I'm also interested in environmental science (my second major, that I picked up to take my mind off this mess). I just don't even know what I should be looking for or who I should be asking (my CS advisor sent me an amazing opportunity last year that actually worked out, but she's very busy and I can't express my frustrations to her over not wanting a "typical" CS job).