Inspiration

Applying to internships as a college student can feel like a black hole. You may apply to a hundred internships, hear back from 10, and only land 5 interviews in the end. Many students don't know why they are rejected, how they match up compared to other applicants, or how to improve their applications to stand out. While services such as LinkedIn premium come at a steep price, our goal was to make a hub for college students to get a lot of the most important information they need for free.

What it does

When applying to a college, a large majority have published statistics with the acceptance rate, average test scores, and other qualifying factors. This allows students to see how they compare and not feel too bad about not getting accepted to competitive schools. Why doesn't something exist for securing internships as well? This is one of many goals our platform hopes to achieve, through crowd-sourced data provided by others attending your school.

Our website we built allows students to create an account with their own statistics, and contribute their own internship hunt results anonymously to compare with others at their school. We track the average GPA, average school year, and average number of prior internships - along with the overall acceptance rates for various factors, based on the data provided by users upon signing up. This serves to better prepare students to apply for opportunities where they have the highest likelihood of receiving an offer.

However, we also provide two other main services which can help students receive more offers and develop their professional network. The first of which, our projects hub, allows groups of students to form groups and easily recruit others into technical positions they need filled. This is meant for projects outside of class, including an iOS game, or a new startup idea. However, it could also be used for Hackathon teams such as our own to find new team members through special event codes and talent filters. This is where the networking category is fulfilled.

Lastly, once a student has picked a few companies to apply to and participated in a few side projects, they can list this experience on their resume. As such, we provide a board for students to anonymously post their resumes (with identifying information withheld) and receive feedback from other college students or mentors willing to lend a hand. The format is easy to use, with PDFs displayed alongside the most recent comments, making quick feedback available.

Competition Categories

  1. Best Network Hack (our app connects people through our project hub & resume feedback sections)
  2. Best Google Cloud Hack (utilizes: Google App Engine, Compute VM instance, Cloud SQL instance, Cloud Storage bucket)

How we built it

We used Java Spring on a Google VM Instance as our primary backend platform to host various REST APIs and interact with the database in a model/controller format. Then, we used Python's Flask on Google's App Engine to display the static files and handle file uploads to Google Cloud. Our database used Google's Cloud SQL service, and user's uploaded resumes were uploaded to a Google Cloud Storage bucket. The front end was developed in React.js primarily, with hints of jQuery and other JavaScript libraries.

Challenges we ran into

This was our team's first time doing front-end web development beyond very simple HTML, so jumping directly into React.js was a steep dive. We ran into many small problems which lead to large challenges, such as: enabling cross-origin requests, collaborating on the same project across various IDEs without conflicts, and working across as 12-hour time zone difference with some members on our team. This was definitely our most complex project to manage between 5 people remotely.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Perhaps we're most proud of the amount of parallelization we were able to achieve by managing and subdividing related tasks among team members. This allowed us to create 3 web pages with a high degree of functionality, when we honestly could have submitted any 1 of our 3 subdomains as a full project in itself. The fact that none of us had developed front end in JavaScript / React before, and we were still able to make a fairly sophisticated website, is something we're really proud of.

What we learned

We choose technologies that we hadn't used before specifically because we had 7 days to learn them. Java's Spring framework had a steep learning curve, but we were able to complete 90% of our backend in only about 2 days! Meanwhile, those of us working on the front end had plenty of time to brush up on HTML, CSS, and plain JavaScript before moving on to combine them in React.js.

What's next for CSCareers.us

The primary task would be to find a great UI artist who could touch up on the CSS and UI used around the sites. As you can tell, none of us specialize in UI design! While we gave our best attempt in our color themes and scaling, a streamlined UI would be the next step before publishing for thousands of students to use.

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