As engineering scholars of college graduate and are thrown into the mess that we call the real world, many students may find that the skills learned in University are not directly applicable to their prospective careers. As important as the foundation and theory students may learn in school is, what exactly can newly-grad engineers do to gain an edge when it comes to actual development?
1) Open source projects
It wouldn’t be a surprise what if an interviewer asks you, “What open source project have you worked on before?” Having participated in an open-source project shows a variety of skills that are incredible useful, such as the skill to contribute to an on-going project. Open source projects most importantly demonstrate that you have a passion for whatever you may be doing, and that you are not just “in it to win it”.
2) Hobby projects
We love hobby projects. Not only does it make our products look good, we are stunned at the amazing creativity that students are able to display through some boards, wiring, and handicraft. Not only is this a great way to hone your skills, hobby projects get featured all the time such as on Hackaday, Hacked Gadgets, Circuit Cellar, and other media, and the community is growing fast.
3) Design Competitions
At Terasic, we host an annual competition, the Altera InnovateAsia Design Contests, which showcases various student works through university, and simply said, it is amazing what some students can accomplish in a short time span of a semester to a few semesters. Companies are always on the lookout for fresh talent, so demonstrating your skills of electronics design through a gold medal is not too shabby.
Unfortunately, the bane of many engineers is also a key ingredient to success. From walking into the door in an interview, to presenting your ideas to others in the office, presentation is what will make you stand out above all. Tying in with number 3, we have witnessed various student presentations from InnovateAsia, and simply said, presentation counts for a lot. So even if it’s not in your natural affinity to puff out your chest and scream to the world just how absolutely awesome you are, practice, practice, and practice.