Tag Archives: cs career

Framed pen and ink of Brian Kernighan's famous Hello World program. 'Main(){printf("Hello, worldn");}'

Hello Remote World: How does it feel to onboard remotely?

I moderated a Rice University panel with six recent Computer Science graduates to learn how they were faring in their transition to their new post-graduation world. Luckily, for computer science majors, the job market has remained relatively strong despite the pandemic. The jobs were already easy to do remotely, the companies already invest in and use remote communication tools like Slack, Zoom, and Github, and the tech industry has seen increasing use of its products while everyone is stuck at home. Here is what I learned.

Panel of recent Rice Computer Science graduates starting their next step in their career during the pandemic: https://events.rice.edu/#!view/event/date/20200917/event_id/122108
  • All of the working members of the panel had interned before at the places they landed. That made their remote transition easier because they already knew the culture and their team. This is an unanticipated benefit of those internships that organizations offer.
  • Some moved to the city where their new job was and, if they had friends there, they were meeting in parks socially. Several were glad they hadn’t moved and were relying on their ‘home town’ friendships
  • The new graduate student had moved but was taking classes remotely. He was able to get to know fellow graduate students in the classes that had breakout sessions, but it definitely was harder.  
  • The big companies were still doing two week orientations – just online – with a combination of talks, labs, and icebreakers. I would like to have dug into that more. What on earth is two weeks of orientation online like? 
  • The key to the social activities seemed to be having a variety to try out, because some are awkward and some work well, which varies by person. Some of the social activities are clearly helpful for work life and others work better for building friendships.  Lunches and happy hours were more awkward, but still good for team building. Some companies were offering ways to have a randomly chosen coffee chat, and ways to get a mentor. 
  • One company offers monthly wellness in-days, rather than a day off. It is a day in, but with work-life-balance themes (health, yoga, earth day).  
  • Since this is a CS panel, folks were taking advantage of social slack channels (pets, alone-together, games), and online game groups organized through work (Code Names, Jack Box, Scrible, Brackets).
  • Not having a commute was a real plus
  • As you might expect, working hours have shifted. Several mentioned working long hours without realizing it because there is no transition, and others had shifted to working later into evening hours to take advantage of outdoor activities earlier in the day. 
  • They all missed being able to ‘roll your chair’ over to a colleague and ask questions, chat in the break rooms, etc.