Career Planning

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Career Planning


An in-class exercise for students to think about the role of open source projects in their career planning.


Sophomore standing and a declared major or minor in computer science.

Learning Objectives After successfully completing this activity, the learner should be able to:

Students will think about where they are in their learning and project where they can be by graduation.

Process Skills Practiced

What process skills will the student practice while completing this activity?


Many students do not stop to think about how they will get a job after graduation. They simply expect that having a degree in computer science will result in job offers. The goal of this exercise is to get students thinking about their future and the types of activities they can do as an undergraduate to make their resume and job application stand out.


  1. (10 minutes) As a “Think, Pair, Share” exercise (see
    • Describe the ideal candidate for an entry-level programming position.
    • What would the resume of such a candidate look like?
  2. (10 minutes) Questions for class discussion:
    • What technologies would you list on your resume? What information do you intend to convey with this list? What can an employer conclude from such a list?
    • If thousands of students graduate each year with a degree in computer science, how can an employer differentiate between applicants?
    • Is it the responsibility of the school to prepare you for your career? What is your responsibility?
  3. (5 minutes) Mini-lecture on open source projects
    • What it means to be open
    • Common technologies used (version control, etc.)
    • Online presence
  4. (10 minutes) Class discussion:
    • How can participation in an open source project help differentiate you in a job candidate pool?
      • Real-world experience with the software development process
      • Experience using common tools
      • Experience with a large code base
      • Record of contrubutions




How will the activity be graded?

How will learning will be measured?

Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.

Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (good) Level 4 (exceptional)
The purpose of the project
Why the project is open source


  • What should the instructor know before using this activity?
  • What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

Additional Information:

ACM Body of Knowledge
Area & Unit(s)

What Area and Unit(s) are covered?

ACM Topic(s)

What specific topics are addressed? The Computing Curricula 2013 provides a list of topics in Appendix A - The Body of Knowledge (page 58) -

Level of Difficulty

Is this activity easy, medium, or hard?

Estimated Completion Time

30 minutes

Environment / Materials

paper and pencil


Ben Coleman


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

CC license.png

Suggestions for Open Source Community:

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

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