General Question

monsoon's avatar

How much can pre-grad part-time job experience help my propects as a BS grad?

Asked by monsoon (2510points) June 21st, 2009

I plan on working as a software engineer when I graduate with my BS and then hopefully a Masters. I have a year or two to go, and I work now on the Geek Squad at Best Buy, but I hate it there. They never give me any hours and the management make me want to kill myself. My other job is working at an after school tutoring program with little kids, and I love that. The hours are steady, pay is good (better than best buy), and my boss is awesome.

I’m wondering if having worked in “IT” (if you can call what the geek squad does IT) for a while will be at all reputable when trying to get into my real career, since it’s nothing like what I’ll be doing at said later job, or if it would be worth my short-term happiness to quit and take on more time with the job I enjoy.

(Also, I’m in a sort of minor management position at the tutoring program, just, you know.) Thanks!

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It is probably not enough of a difference to endure the torture you are going through.

What’s really significant about pre-graduation job experience is that you have some. That you have shown initiative and work ethic. Letters of recommendation as to those attributes from people in the tutoring program should stand you in just as good stead post-graduation.

Good luck.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I agree with Marina. You need to work at something where you can demonstrate reliability, sustainability, initiative, progression of responsibility. Working with children in an after school training program says good communication skills, able to break down concepts into understandable terms, ideation. If you’re in a minor management role, that would speak to initiative and commitment. These are far more valuable attributes to a business than what you gain at Geek Squad.

Adding as a caveat, more valuable in terms of management potential.

tekn0lust's avatar

Has a hiring manager in IT for more than 13 years, I will tell you that working on the Geek Squad tells me nothing of your technical ability. What it does tell me is that if you lasted more than a year you #1 probably have decent people skills and #2 you have the intestinal fortitude to stick with something that seriously sucks.

The tutoring tells me far more than your time at Geek Squad. I generally hire for Systems Engineer positions(operating system and hardware) and I always look for people who have problem solving skills. Anything math related and outside school setting is always a plus. I imagine that a Software Developer interview is going to focus a lot on problem solving as well since that is what is at the heart of most software development.

I always give notice to any activity that benefits society whether or not it involves IT especially when you could be doing stuff like playing xBox or doing stuff that has no bearing on your future.

cwilbur's avatar

The Geek Squad is retail, not IT, so that job won’t help you particularly more than a job at Wal-Mart. (And many technical people who have had direct experience with Geek Squad will probably have a lower opinion of your technical skills as a result—at least in this area, the smartest way to respond to their advice is to do the exact opposite of what they tell you.)

If you really think you want to be a software engineer, see if you can find a summer internship in a software engineering firm. That will show you whether you want to do it or not, and it will be good experience to mention when you’re looking for your first job.

(Working in the software industry is very different than a computer science degree would lead you to believe, which is why I recommend the internship anyway.)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Be aware that you need to start looking for an internship program for next summer in September or October of this fall. Often positions have a Dec. or January application deadline. Better to be ready too early than too late.

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bonus's avatar

All experience is beneficial and advantageous on a resume.

noyesa's avatar

Your Geek Squad position isn’t going to help out any more than any other service job since the subject matter has absolutely nothing in common with software engineering. Look for internships, they’re an absolute must. You need to work with real software engineers in a production environment, and you’re never going to get that experience anywhere else.

Your tutoring job speaks volumes about your patience and communication skills. The fact that you’re still at Best Buy also says a lot about how much crap you’re willing to put up with.

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