- (Photo: Reuters / Erin Siegal)
Never mind trying to make it in Hollywood. The real stars today are the up and coming graduates armed with a degree in computer science. And there is one thing for certain: they are in high demand and the job perks are outstanding.
Computer science majors with talents in the software engineering world can write their own ticket at any one of the thousands of technology driven corporations headquartered in Silicon Valley and executives are vying for these new graduates with incentives that will knock your socks off.
This new generation of software engineers has gumption, drive and the intellect to back up their creative ideas and the pressure is on for companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Apple to offer high-end benefits to attract the new talent.
Companies are competing against each other to make themselves more appealing.
Executives draw in the best computer students to their offices by offering on-site gourmet chefs that create a wide variety of healthy and delicious meals every day for the staff, bicycles or scooters for efficient travel between meetings, lava lamps, massage chairs, health care incentives, in house physicians, dry cleaning services, and even financial assistance for adoption.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman for Google, said the company strives to offer the best of everything.
“We strive to be innovative and unique in all services we provide both to customers and employees, including our benefits and perks offerings, Schmidt said.
“We realize and celebrate that our employees have diverse needs, and that this diversity requires flexible and individually directed support.”
More than 56 percent of computer science majors who have applied for a job have received an offer, making it the major with the highest offer rate in 2011, according to results of a new survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Thus, those entering the hottest fields in computer science and IT will garner the highest salaries and the best perks in the corporate world.
“The difference between the two majors is that the offer rate for computer science majors has increased 13.8 percentage points this year, while the offer rate for accounting majors is up 8.3 percentage points,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
YouTube Instant’s creator, Stanford junior Feross Aboukhadijeh, is a computer science major and has already received a job offer through Twitter from YouTube founder Chad Hurley.
“It started out as a bet with my roommate, Jake Becker,” Aboukhadijeh tells those who visit his creative website.
“I bet him I could build real-time YouTube search in less than an hour. Sadly, I lost the bet because it took me three hours to finish it, and another couple hours to polish the user interface into what you see now at YTInstant.com. But, I’m happy with the result.”
Aboukhadijeh said students keep building stuff and create their own luck.
“That’s how you learn and get better. But, first you have to believe that it’s possible,” he said.
Based on information from Robert Half International and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a large salary range in technology jobs. Entering professionals in database administration enjoy starting salaries anywhere from $67,750 to $95,500.
Web developers can earn up to $74,000 a year, and those who specialize in computer and online security can earn up to $93,000.
Google reportedly pays recent computer science grads between $90,000 and $105,000, which is more than it was paying employees in that position just a few months ago.
Offering all of these incentives is aimed to draw in the talent and keep them in the office - working.
“The thinking for us is, what can we do to make our employees’ lives easier so they can focus on the job?” said Kathleen Loughlin, a Facebook spokeswoman. “They come into work and don’t have to worry about packing a lunch.”
Over time, as certain perks became common, companies looked for ways to separate themselves from the crowd, said Leslie Berlin, project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University.
At Google headquarters in Mountain View, employees also find on-site oil change and car wash services, gym, hair stylist, fitness classes and cubicles with tents for napping. Physical therapy and chiropractic services are also available.
Google also offers assistance to employees by offering finances in the adoption of a child. The company will reimburse up to $5,000 to use towards legal expenses, adoption agencies or other adoption professional fees.
Yahoo executives offer medical, dental, vision insurance and stock options. The “extras” include free lattes and sodas, back-up childcare, commuter options, a health club, a free upgrade to Flickr Pro and foosball.
One of the newest policies to draw in the talent allows employees to bring their pets to work.