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The graduation period is very important for a student as it is the time s/he starts thinking about his/her career. During this period a student learns how to cope with the market and what should be his role in a particular position. Just after completion, they start looking out for job opprotunities.

In this article, I will recommend 11 things a Computer Science (CS/CSE) or Information Technology (IT) student should do before completing his graduation.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” - Steve Jobs

1. Master one programming language

Before completing graduation, master at least one programming language. To cope with the progressing technologies, coding skill has become the most primary need unless you plan for a career change. Most of the students become confused when they are suggested to choose that choice. Although it entirely depends on the field you choose. Because every single programming language has different specialities- that means languages have particular functionalities and advantages over other languages.

For example, data scientists always prefer Python and R programming languages 1 because these languages have better built-in functions to work over data. ACM programmer’s preferable choice is C++ for competitive programming 2 3 4. On the other hand, PHP along with MySQL is quite popular in terms of developing web applications. So, one need to choose a particular language acording to his preferable arena.

2. Start a personal website

Yes, definitely you need a personal website before completing your graduation. A personal site not only talks for you but also it provides you the continuous platform to update your portfolio and CV. Profile development is a coninuous process and a personal site stands as the showcase of your achievements, experiences and future goals. Also, it helps enhancing professional networks and marketing your skills.

A blog with personal site enriches your visibility. I always suggest to have a blog as it is one kind of notebook or personal diary to me. It enhances one’s writing skill as well. And if English is not your native language, maybe blogging can become the best platfor for you to master your writing skills in English. And who doesn’t want to do that!!!

3. Have basic ideas on every sector of IT arenas

If you already are expert in one sector, that’s very good. But, necessarily you should have the basics of other IT arenas as well. The market is being more competitive day by day and if you want to show yourself from thousands, you’ll definitely need knowledge on other sectors thereby. Have basic knowledge on structured programming, OOP, web programming, networking, server systems, database, software & web development and definitely Cloud. Using cloud, it will seem to have a super computer on your pocket. If you can utilize cloud, you won’t have to buy a heavy performance computer or laptop; simply a normal machine with a browser will do the work.

And today, hands-on experience is always preferred over just theoratical knowledge in IT arena. Also, entreprenuership skill needs overall knowledge on every other aspects. So, even being a CSE or IT student you need to know the marketing skill as well. Because you have to market not only your product but also your skill.

4. Write a CV/Resume

Prepare a CV/Resume while continuing in your final year. You can write it using MS Word or Latex. In this case, Latex is my personal favorite. You will find a lot of CV/Resume templates in Overleaf - the most popular cloud based platform.

If you prefer MS word, then you will find some templates for CV/Resume or cover letter in Office templates or Office templates 2. Also you can create and customize your CV online using a free platform - Hloom.

5. Attend seminars, workshops or conferences

Attend regularly at different IT oriented seminars and workshops. The more will you participate the more your boundary of knowledge or experience will expand. Also this is a good chance to engage more with professional people and enhance your netwok. At the end of the day, you will come to know about new trends, best practices and state of the art in every IT/business sector.

Students who are preparing themselves to join in academic arena, should attend at least one conference. If you can submit a manuscript/conference paper, got accepted and present there; you’ll have the opportunity to know and collaborate other academic scholars. People will review your work which in result give you a proper direction for future works. If you don’t have a paper to present, you can also participate in poster presentation where you can present an idea. Additionally, you can participae in project showcasing if you have a project done while doing regular classwork.

Basically seminars, workshops and conferences give you the opportunity to meet people with whom you will work in future. It enhances your professional network, and by participating in these, you will be able to build your community.

6. Take professional courses

ALthough, it’s a busy schedule in the final year of your graduation, it will be effective if you have at least one professional course on your preferred arena. Additionally, having a vendor/professional exam certificate will enrich your profile and accelerate the possibilty for securing a job in no time after graduation.

In my case, I completed two courses- Red Hat Enterprise Administration and Red Hat Enterprise Engineering and attended the certification exams knowing that I will enter in system administration. But, although later I entered in academic career, these two yet gave me some professionalexperiences, boosted my confidence and weighted my profile. Therefore, I will suggest you to take at least one course according to your preferred arena.

7. Create a LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the most preferable social network among professionals for it’s skill oriented search options. Thus it became easy to find a skilled person whom employers want to hire or may ask for collaboration. Also it is said to be the most powerfull tool for marketing in the 21st century5. The Huffingtonpost claimed it for three main reasons- media, partnerships and clients.

Now-a-days most IT companies are hiring employees through LinkedIn because a profile can speak more than a CV here. So, chance is you may be knocked by employers before you even complete your graduation if you have quite a good looking profile.

8. Find a mentor

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think” ― Socrates

Yes, that is true. No one can teach you, it’s you who can teach yourself. A teacher or mentor can just show you the way. It’s completely your choice whether or not you will learn. But, after even knowing what is right, sometimes we fall victim to depression and lose the way. In that time we need someone to motivate ourselves. So, find a mentor who can influence and guide you to march ahead.

Choosing the right mentor is another important thing. You can choose a professional, a teacher, parents, elder siblings or even a friend as your mentor. Always remember, choose someone who has every positivity about life. It will be better if s/he is already working or has knowledge on your prefered arena so that you can find a lot of scopes & opportunities in future.

9. Build a network

Build your own network and keep enhancing the boundary. You can enhance your network through engaging in online communities or social networks, forums & blogs; through participating in seminars/workshops/conferences and doing projects through internships. Always ask and answer questions and arise particular problems/solutions there. Be sure, every others will keep an eye on you, and opportunities will knock on your door.

10. Participate in inter-university contests

Judging our ownselves is quite hard, isn’t it..? So, participate in inter-university contests. You won’t have to bring a prize, medal or certificates. Participate to understand your level and gather more experiences about the real life problems. If you can secure a place, voila!!! That will boost your confidence in tremendous level and you can weight your profile a bit more. If you can’t, at least you know what is your lacking so that you can improve there in future.

“I never lose. I either win or I learn.” -Mandela

11. Practice public speaking

These days, communication skill is another big requirement to promote yourself. So practice public speaking or try to present a topic in front of others. Good presentation skill require fluency while speaking in front of others. Moreover, if English is not your native language, it will an efficient way as well to speak better in English. And who doesn’t want to achieve that skill..!

12. Enhance writing/documentation skill

Author, writer, blogger or developer- whoever you are, you need good skills in documentation. Documentation basically refers to report/article/manuscript writing on specific topic or process. We couldn’t be able to solve many mysteries from the ancient civilizations because they lack this documentation skills. So, if you want to trace your life events or your progress in tasks, you need to have proper skill in writing. Your idea is useful only then when you express it. And the best way to express something lies in documentation. What do you think I have been doing here..!?! :)

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