UNSW launches tech start-up recruitment drive

The University of New South Wales is inviting start-ups to attend a career fair for its computer science and engineering students in a bid to encourage graduates to join start-ups.


The university’s School of Computer Science and Engineering will hold the CSE S2 Careers Expo on August 3, designed to help students and soon-to-be graduates secure internships and/or employment.


Alex North, a former UNSW CSE lecturer, has been given permission by the university to invite up to six start-ups to the event.


“This is a relatively intimate affair, usually restricted to companies the school already has a relationship with, but I’ve sold them on stand for a few start-ups to share,” North says.


“This is an opportunity to recruit a bright young grad to your start-up, and also to talk about entrepreneurship and encourage those who would start their own too.”


North says start-ups must be less than five years old and actively looking for computer science and engineering students or graduates. The start-ups must also be run by UNSW CSE alumni.


“I thought it would be great to have a bunch of start-ups represented because they’re great workplaces for certain types of graduates,” he says.


North says while many graduates in these fields are snapped up for their skills, they’re not necessarily working in a job they want.


“I’ve been watching the situation and trying to stay aware of where the cool start-ups are… It’s not a problem of them not finding jobs but finding jobs that are interesting,” he says.


North says he’s looking for start-ups that have a good business model and are likely to be around in years to come.


“They should have already demonstrated that they have a good chance of success and are the kind of place where a student would learn very fast, which is the main benefit of working in a start-up,” he says.


North says while some graduates are wary of working for a start-up, mainly because of the smaller salaries, the benefits often outweigh the negatives.


“You’re learning a lot real fast – start-ups don’t have time for things not relating to getting their product to the customer, so you learn a lot about building the right product, consumer testing, etc,” he says.


“You also get a lot of insight into how the business is run. In bigger companies, you’re often shielded from that… But in a start-up, everyone is often working in the same room, so you can see everything that is happening.”


“You also tend to work with a great team of people who are passionate and excited.”


According to North, the career fair also presents an opportunity for graduates to speak to start-ups about entrepreneurialism and starting their own businesses.


“It’s something the school is trying to encourage. It’s still working on other ways to help the school get better at supporting students who want to start their own companies,” he says.


North doesn’t believe student entrepreneurialism is as strong in Australia as it is in the United State and Europe, partly because there is a lack of mentorship for students.


He also believes degrees in computer science and engineering can often prove more useful than a business degree, for aspiring entrepreneurs, because this is where the growth is.


Amir Nissen, founder and manager of Students Entrepreneurs, agrees students interested in entrepreneurship should consider a technology degree over a business degree.


“The next generation of start-ups by and large are all focused around the internet,” Nissen told StartupSmart.


“[However,] there aren’t as many web application start-ups as you’d expect to see due to declined numbers of students in computer science and software engineering degrees.”


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