This section highlights examples of where institutions are supporting activities for their students that help them gain experience and develop communities of like-minded people.
The Student Societies support and in particular the ‘Break the Rules’ activity – University of Cape Town 2013
The student-run UCT Developers Society aims to provide a community for those interested in software engineering, and to bridge the gap between industry and university. The society runs the events below.
#breaktherules is a bi-annual event that turns the ordinary recruitment interview into a speed-dating experience. Technology reps from 9-15 selected companies, of varying size and focus, spend the day networking in an informal environment with about 70 pre-selected students, with the goal of making internships happen. It is hoped that by exposing students to a range of different companies a spirit of learning and entrepreneurship can be cultivated. A networking session is followed by presentations where companies introduce their industry focus and what interns would do if they worked there. After this, there is an informal interview session where students and companies exchange details and CVs.
The students enjoy being able to talk to the technology reps of a company where they are keen to intern, without having to research and approach them externally through human resources. Companies appreciate the direct exposure to students and the chance to get interns on board so easily. #breaktherules has run successfully for 4 years, with nearly 100 internships resulting. Several students became full-time employees with their company after graduating. See http://breaktherules.co.za/
#devWithX are day-long workshops where industry members teach students useful technologies. This is co-run by UCT Developers Society and the UCT Algorithms Circle, a student-run society which coaches gifted high school pupils in programming and problem solving. UCT Developers society also hosts Tech talks by software developers from industry - this year on source control, designing for CUDA and Clojure - and research talks by academics are planned for the future. All these events have a significant impact on UCT students.