Alex Palmer landed opportunities that every computer science major dreams of post-college – interviewing with tech industry giants like Google, IBM and Apple.
The best part? He landed the interviews months before graduation.
A Sacramento, Calif. native, Palmer is leaving behind a stellar academic career at High Point University as well as his own mark on campus. During his four years here, he developed apps for HPU students and faculty to use on campus, such as an app he designed for Cuisine and Culture events that expose students to language, food and cultural traditions from other countries. Professors who organized these events used Palmer’s app to sync iPads at every table with information about the country and customs at hand. In addition, he created an app that allowed students to easily search for on campus jobs.
He found true mentorship at HPU from administrators such as Wellington DeSouza, vice president for strategic communication, who worked with Palmer in the university’s IT office, and faculty like Roger Shore, associate professor of math and computer science.
“Even just talking to my professors in their office outside of class taught me a lot,” says Palmer. “I learned quickly that I wanted to work for a startup tech company that would let me work on a wide range of projects.”
He landed multiple internship opportunities with companies like Engauge Digital in Atlanta where he developed iPhone and Facebook apps, switched paper formats to digital formats, and worked hands-on in areas across the board.
On top of the experience, Palmer says he learned that face-to-face networking is essential, and he met as many people in the technology industry as he could.
“You really have to work outside of class,” he says. “Class is key, but you have to be able to apply it. Learning to apply it takes outside work. Personal projects and internships really help bring attention to you.”
The people, the education and the experience combined led him to numerous job interviews that began pouring in his senior year from several startup firms. Then he got calls from Google, IBM, Apple and many others. Key among them was dunnhumbyUSA, the world’s leading customer science company. The company analyzes data and applies insights from more than 400 million customers across the globe to create better customer experiences and build loyalty.
While Apple, IBM and Google are enticing companies to work for, Palmer saw something in dunnhumbyUSA that he thought would be the most satisfying – the opportunity to work in a cutting-edge group on a variety of different projects. It’s a career opportunity that will allow him to direct dunnhumbyUSA into future innovative avenues. He accepted their offer and begins his career there this summer.
“What is really exciting about it is that I have a significant role in shaping the future of dunnhumbyUSA,” he adds.
So…what’s the secret to landing interviews with top technology companies?
“Be recommended,” Palmer adds. “Know a lot of people. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to go to an event where executives in your field will be.”