Computer Science Careers

Three careers/work related points regarding this week at the University of Birmingham School of Computer Science.

Tuesday:  Alumni Dinner

On Tuesday the department held an Alumni dinner where around 20 or so students who had previously graduated from the University returned and spoke to around 50 current students about what they have done since.

Surprisingly the event wasn’t as biased towards larger companies as University careers events normally seem to be. That said there were people from Ernst & Young, Accenture Goldman Sachs and a company called Google who do Internet related things.

I guess the over-representation of large names normally occurs because the big companies are the ones who will take on multiple graduates a year, can afford to attend and therefore are the ones for whom it is most worthwhile to make the trip up (a large majority seem to be London or South-East based).

Smaller companies present included a provider of services to local non-profits and Chris Unitt from digital media company Meshed Media.

Found the evening quite interesting and it was good to see what previous students are doing know but don’t think I really gained anything in particular by attending.

Wednesday: Careers Cuts

Funding for the role of Student Employment Officer apparently ends next week. First I’d heard of this.

This with last years statistics showing Computer Science incredibly had the lowest national graduate employment rate. Apparently doing a degree in something where you have 2 lectures a week will serve you better. According to the same source UoB’s graduate employment rate is also lower than that of The University of Wolverhampton.

Seems strange that this is the area they would cut with the higher tuition fees coming in soon as well! Surely they would want to justify the higher fees by showing how well they prepare people for business.  If the redbrick Universities all rush to up their fees to the maximum allowable I expect there will be a large swing away from them to cheaper alternatives.

Thursday: American Internet Holdings

Noah from American Internet Holdings gave a 25 minute presentation to those taking the Intelligent Data Analysis module about their American stationery supplies website SuppliesGuys (there are also European sites). He very briefly outlined their dynamic customer retention and product recommendation system whereby they try to sell as much as possible to existing customers. He also talked a bit about trying to work out what their target CPA for various keywords and products should be in Adwords based on previous customer profiles so as to ensure profitability from repeat business. Quite interesting to see that they would obtain a customer at an initial loss if they had a good bet of making that money back from future orders, an Adwords investment if you will. Makes sense. Noah said they spend more than $1 million on Adwords a year, would be interesting to know their SEO spend.

Some of my friends seemed genuinely surprised at the amount of money people spend to obtain a single click through Google Adwords and Google’s goldmine (a couple of examples were at about $10 a click). Perhaps this will help justify why I want to work in SEO!

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