Cassell Coliseum was abuzz Monday with the Computer Science Resources Consortium Career Fair, the first of several career fairs at Virginia Tech this week.
The big names of technology were there as usual, but what set this fair apart was the influx of startup companies competing against the industry standards. The rain persisting throughout the event did little to deter hundreds of students and 78 employers from coming out and networking.
Naturally, one of the most popular booths belonged to Google, which consistently had nearly a dozen students waiting to talk to one of its recruiters about internships.
"They have a good internship program; I've heard from a few people who have interned there," said Yodi Solomon, a junior in computer engineering. "You're not just an employee, you feel like part of the whole team."
While companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft dominated much of the students' attention, other booths had different methods of getting noticed. With its vibrant neon green and neon blue design, Readyforce's Hacker Tour 2012 booth made a distinct impression, even from a distance.
"We're a platform that connects students to companies," said Anna Binder, vice president of client services for Readyforce.
Unlike most online job platforms, Readyforce connects students primarily with small, startup companies including Chegg, Etsy, and Soundcloud.
"We look a little bit different, and that's by design," Binder said "We're casual in the way that most startups are."
With such a wide variety of companies in attendance, the fair was considered a great success by those in attendance.
"It's the biggest we've had," said Cal Ribbins, a computer science associate professor.
After a Wall Street Journal survey ranked Tech's computer science program as the 5th best in the country in 2010, the number of employees in attendance has been regularly increasing. The increase in employers means more options for students, but it can also be a little intimidating.
Ribbins encourages students to relax and try to have fun, particularly when continuing on to the Engineering Expo and Business Horizons career fairs later in the week.
"The students who come with a more relaxed attitude and show interest in the company will have a great experience," Ribbins said.
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