Technology & CS Overview
Information Technology (IT) is a broad term referring to many jobs in ‘technology’, that involve studying, designing, developing, testing, implementing, supporting, or managing computer-based information systems. Many other computer science careers fall under IT.
Software Development is designing, writing, and testing computer applications software, as well as updating or modifying existing software. This includes:
Back-end: the parts of the software that the user does not directly interact with. Deals with server-side issues such as data storage, transformation, and processing.
Embedded: software run on a computer system designed for a specific task, as opposed to a general purpose computer such as a laptop. Often used in medical devices, consumer electronics, manufacturing, aviation, and automotive technologies.
Front-end: user interface, or any part of the software that the user interacts with directly. Deals with the look and function of the user view. Often listed as UX/UI in job postings.
Full stack: Able to work in both front- and back-end of development.
Web Dev: specializing in writing, designing, or editing web applications and content.
Database Administration is a specialized role managing and maintaining databases, typically employed by organizations that store large amounts of data.
Network and Systems Administration is responsible for managing local (LAN) and wide area computer networks (WAN) for an organization.
Support roles provide advice and solutions to problems with software applications, both within organizations and externally.
Technical Program Management provides leadership to ensure that products are delivered on time, are in scope, and are of high quality.
Many technology companies and young start-ups are informal, and for programming, app development, or computer science jobs, your demonstrated experience, contacts through the Computer Science department or the Northern Bites team, and direct outreach to the company may be the best way to identify opportunities and land a job. Before you turn to internet job boards to locate opportunities, we strongly recommend that you make sure you are also utilizing eBEAR and LACN (sites with postings specifically targeting Bowdoin Students) and networking with family, friends, professors, former employers, and members of the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network.
Startups & Entrepreneurship
Many Bowdoin students are attracted to Internet companies or high-growth start-ups. Reed Hastings ’83 founded Netflix; Peter Smathers & Austin Branson started Smathers & Branson. There is a tradition of entrepreneurship at Bowdoin. Even if you are not a computer science major, many employers are attracted to Bowdoin grads who can learn quickly, solve complex problems, and write well.
Make an appointment with Todd or Bethany by calling (207) 725-3717 or filling out our online appointment request form.
CS Sectors for Research and Specializations
Security and Privacy: development focused on information security and privacy, preventing and tracing hacks across networks, and encryption; preparing for security breaches due to natural disasters, malicious acts, and negligence
Cloud Computing: internet-based computing that optimizes available computing resources from a shared pool of servers, computers, networks, etc.
Data Science, Big Data, and Data Analytics: three different terms that are often lumped together. Data science is an umbrella term that encompasses all techniques employed to make use of data. Big data involves processing large amounts of raw data efficiently to produce information that is useful. Data analytics is applied to raw data to make predictions. All involve various forms of programming and math skills.
Robotics: software development that operates machines; can be remote controlled, artificial intelligence, or a hybrid. Robots are used in military, agriculture, medicine, and in household applications.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): programming that mimics human cognitive functions. Subsections of AI include machine learning, natural language processing, affective computing, computational creativity, and more. The main applications for AI currently are in the healthcare industry (i.e. “learning” research for cancer treatments) and in the automotive industry (i.e. self-driving cars)
Technical interviews are common in jobs that require programming. While behavioral interviews are generally questions about what you’ve done in the past, and how you behave in certain situations, technical interviews will ask you to do analytical work. You might be asked to write code, solve a brain teaser, or write an algorithm. If you are in person, you will probably use a whiteboard or pen and paper to show your work; if you are doing the interview by phone or Skype, you might use a Google doc. It is common for interviews to be around 45 minutes, but that can vary.
Ask questions—sometimes you are not given all of the information on purpose. Interviewers want to know if you know when to ask for more information, and how you make assumptions.
Show your work—if you are thinking about it, write it down. One of the main goals of a technical interview is to see how you think and solve problems. If you are working something out, show the interviewers what you are thinking. You can always cross things out or start over.
Use a coding language that you know—if the problem would be best solved in C, but you aren’t very familiar with C, say that. Then solve the problem in python, or whichever language you are most familiar with. You can always learn another programming language, but what interviewers want to see is if you can come up with a solution.
Write a solution and iterate—don’t waste time coming up with the perfect solution. Come up with something that works, then make it better.
Don’t guess—if you don’t know, say so. Companies don’t want their employees guessing and submitting solutions that don’t work, are buggy, or cause problems down the road. You might say, “I’m not familiar with that function, but if I had access to resources, this is out I would go about finding out.” If you have doubts about something you wrote, mention that and explain your thought process. Transparency and awareness of potential issues are important.
Don’t panic—technical interviews are hard! They are meant to show how you think, and how you solve problems. You may be given a problem that you don’t know how to answer, and next time, you will.
Technical Interview Resources
Free practice interview questions from Pramp: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ace-your-technical-interview
Free technical interview prep course from Udacity: https://www.udacity.com/course/technical-interview–ud513
Many helpful Youtube videos are out there, including this one posted by CS50, an intro course taught by Harvard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0nvXHh7o-w
Interested in technology, but not sure coding is for you? Technology is a huge sector, and you will find many roles in tech companies that are also in every other organization, from marketing to human resources, finance to sales. Here are a few you may not know about:
Project/Product Management: According to the Project Management Institute, project management is: “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.” In technology companies, project managers typically bring products to market and complete implementation of products for customers, but project managers can oversee any project that has a beginning and end, and isn’t a routine part of maintaining the company. Project managers seek to complete projects on time, on budget, and within scope. There are different models for project/product management in technology companies, the most common of which are Agile/Scrum and Waterfall.
Agile/Scrum: A project management technique that is growing in popularity in software development companies is Agile Engineering. Agile Engineering helps development teams respond to unpredictable changes in requirements and scope of a project through incremental change. Teams complete tasks in two week ‘sprints’, get feedback from the customer, and then adjust the tasks for the next sprint. Scrum is a specific method for implementing Agile Engineering techniques. Scrum teams have three roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Team. In Scrum, there is no “project manager”, but rather the three roles work together to optimize efficiency. Scrum teams get together daily for a ‘stand-up’ where the report on the work they completed previously, and what they are working on that day. These meetings help ensure efficiency and transparency in the development process. While agility can be a strength in the development process, it can lead to projects going over budget and out of scope. For a handy reference, check this out.
Waterfall: A more traditional project management methodology that is non-iterative, but rather sequential. There are eight stages: conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation, and maintenance. Each stage must be completed before the next is started. The advantages of this project management method is that it is easier to budget and create a timeline for delivery. The downside is that there is limited feedback during the process, so changing client needs are not taken into account until the end, making changes much more costly.
A handy reference on the similarities and differences between Agile and Waterfall methods: http://www.base36.com/2012/12/agile-waterfall-methodologies-a-side-by-side-comparison/
Project Management Certifications: There are a number of different kinds of certifications in the field of project management, and these certifications are recognized across industries. The most common professional certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP), which requires a certain number of hours working as a project manager. Students just entering the field can apply for a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). More info here.
You can also become certified in Scrum and get training to become a Scrum Master, Product Owner, or developer. There are numerous training organizations and helpful websites. Check out Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance, as well as APGM International for more information.
UX/UI: User Interface (UI) designers determine how a product looks and how a user will navigate the product; tends to be more tangible. User Experience (UX) designers create the overall impression a person develops when interacting with a product; tends to be more conceptual and not just focused on the software solution.
Graphic Design: Technology companies often employ graphic designers to create the graphical interface for websites, applications, and other related materials. These positions can be part of a UX/UI role in a company, or they might be labeled under Art or Graphic Design. These roles are often not technical, and familiarity with Adobe InDesign/Illustrator is generally required.
Technical Writing: Technical writers, also called technical communicators, complete all written documentation and drafting for technical projects. This might include instruction manuals, documentation, journal articles, contracts, process flows, proposals, ‘help’ sections, product catalogues and packaging, white papers, and more. They are involved with collecting and disseminating technical information through marketing and internal communication channels. Technical writers must excel at translating complex technical information into clear, concise written documentation, often for a nontechnical audience.
Developer Operations (DevOps): In the spirit of creating, testing, and deploying software as quickly and often as possible, many software companies have teams, roles, and/or tasks that fall under the category of “DevOps”. This category entails writing the tools that automate building, testing, and deploying software.
Teaching Computer Science, K-12 Education
Computer Science Teachers Association: https://www.csteachers.org/
Code.org TeacherCon (Summer Workshop) – “An intensive, hands-on, in-person workshop providing foundational experiences with computer science and the Code.org suite of tools. The five-day workshop is the primary capacity building experience for teachers prior to their first year of instruction. Participants will explore the curriculum and tools, consider and experiment with specific classroom management and teaching strategies, and build a local community of teachers who are using this curriculum. Educators who plan to deliver the course as an AP will dive into the College Board requirements that come with an AP course.”: https://code.org/educate/professional-learning/cs-principles
For more information about careers in teaching or education, you can also visit our Education page.
American Academy for Advancement of Science: Careers
American Medical Informatics Association: Career Center Jobs
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): Career and Jobs Center
Association for Women in Computing (AWC)
Career Cornerstone Center
Computing Research Association (CRA)
INFORMS Career Center (ICC)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
The National Academies
National Association of Programmers (NAP)
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM): Careers and Jobs
Society for Technical Communication: Job Bank
African American Women in Technology
Other Helpful Links
Education Beyond Bowdoin
Online Education, Free Programs
Code Academy: https://www.codecademy.com/
Kahn Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/
MIT OpenCourseWare: https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
For those who get a bachelors in computer science, master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science can provide an opportunity for deeper learning and careers in research and academia. Those with a BA in computer science can also get advanced degrees in other fields, such as business, medicine, or law in order to use their technical skills in a new way.
For those who did not get a bachelors degree in computer science, there are master’s and certificate programs for ‘career changers’. These programs have additional coursework to teach the foundational computer science skills typically learned at the bachelor’s level.
For students who don’t have coding experience, but want to enter the field, there are a number of ‘bootcamp’ programs that offer intensive training on one area of technology. General Assembly, Startup Institute, and App Academy are examples of software bootcamps. If you decide to pursue one of these programs, do your research and take note of costs associated with the program. Programs can cost around $12,000 for a three month program, and while some have partnerships with companies for networking and job opportunities, some do not.
If you’re looking for a position at a startup, here are some resources to check out:
AngelList: Hundreds of jobs in the industry around the country: https://angel.co/jobs
Angelpad: Startups hiring in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. https://angelpad.org/jobs/
Crunchboard: Startup and tech jobs. https://www.crunchboard.com/
Inside Startups: Startup job database and weekly newsletter. http://www.insidestartups.org/
Join-Startups: Startups with positions in a variety of fields, worldwide. http://join-startups.com/
The Muse: Job opportunies and career advice. https://www.themuse.com/
OnStartupJobs: Startup jobs in Europe. http://onstartupjobs.com/
StartupAgent: Matches candidates with positions that interest them. http://www.startupagents.com/
Startup Hire: Startup jobs worldwide. http://www.startuphire.com/
IT consultants help firms and governments employ the technological systems that best support their objectives. This includes working with clients to identify areas of low technological efficiency and boost capabilities, implement new systems, and develop long-term IT strategies aligned with overall goals. Technology plays a large role in business growth and government efficacy, and by retaining IT consultants, clients receive expert guidance on using technology to the fullest advantage. Technology and Start Ups
Firms offering IT consulting services include:
Recent Posts tagged Technology & Start-Ups
- Corporations Can: Investing in Communities and People “Creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals – they are both essential ingredients for long-term success…”
- LGBTQ? Apply NOW for next fall’s “Out for Undergrad” Conferences O4U are industry-focused conferences: weekend-long summits where we work with LGBTQ professionals to educate students about job opportunities in highly competitive industries…
- Have Brunch with Bowdoin Alumni this Sunday (4-9) – RSVP Today The Bowdoin Women in Business are hosting their spring luncheon on Sunday, April 9, from 11am – 1pm in Pinette Dining Room of Thorne. Featured speakers are Emily Mullins ’09…
- Helpful Resource for International Students Exploring Jobs in the U.S. If you are an international student at Bowdoin, you may be wondering which employers are actively sponsoring H1-B visas in the U.S., MyVisaJobs is a helpful online resource to identify
- West Trek ’17 – Info Session Feb. 9 West Trek 2017 will take place March 13-16, 2017 in San Francisco. Over the course of the trip, we’ll be visiting companies and exploring living and working in the Bay Area.
- Steps to Success
- Career Paths
- Making A Good Impression
- Career Tools
- About Us
- Not a Student?