One of the most common questions students have when choosing their field of study is also a very important question—will I be able to find a job when I graduate?
The UAT Student & Career Services Team is committed to helping our students find internships and jobs suited to their skills, maintaining a variety of company and industry relationships, and continuously seeking out new opportunities.
Our team of professionals have been where you are, and they want to help you find the best prospects for your future. "UAT students are provided with opportunities to meet with large organizations, and a great example is Carvana,” said Ashley Fuentes, Sr. Student & Career Services Coordinator. “Having access to employers who explain the roles that they are looking to fill, as well as outline the best ways to be considered for a job, really helps students get their foot in the door."
Meet Neil Shah, Team Lead of Technical Recruiting at Carvana. We asked Neil about Carvana as a company, his connection with UAT, and his opinion about the current job outlook. Read on to find out more about how Carvana doesn't suck, as well as some great advice from Neil.
Please tell me about your company and your mission.
Simply put, Carvana sells used cars online but we’re much more than that. We are a data-driven tech company that uses the latest technology to enable our customers to purchase vehicles from the comfort of their own home. This allows our customers to choose from 20,000+ vehicles available all around the country and have them delivered directly to their homes or to be picked up from one of our unique car vending machines.
Our mission is to change the used car market. For decades, people have bought cars primarily in one way. You go to a dealership, you spend half to a full day there negotiating back and forth, and you walk away with a car and an uneasy feeling of not knowing whether you got a good deal or not. It sucks. We’re here to make that process not suck. Shop from a larger inventory than any individual dealer can offer from the comfort of your home and only talk to us if you have questions. If you do choose to talk to us, you won’t be sold on features or upgrades. We will answer your questions to enable you to make the best decision. It’s that simple.
What is your position (and what do you do)?
I am the Team Lead of Technical Recruiting. In short, my team and I staff all of the technical roles at Carvana. That includes everything from IT, Security, and Engineering to Data Science, Analytics, and Product Management. Some of these teams are the fastest growing back-office teams in the company. Our job is to find the most qualified candidates, get them excited about the opportunities here at Carvana, and work with them and the hiring managers to facilitate the interview process and make sure the opportunity is the right fit on both sides.
How did you get connected to UAT?
I’ve worked with UAT for several years as a recruiter and partner. I actually placed a few folks at UAT including a couple of your former professors. Since moving to Carvana a couple of years ago, we’ve partnered to recruit students from the UAT programs for positions at Carvana. Our most recent hire was a grad from UAT’s network security program that interned with us in the summer of 2019 and converted to full time after he graduated.
How do UAT students work with your company?
As mentioned, UAT students are most likely to be brought in as an intern in our IT and Security departments. We look for students who have not only excelled in the program but who also have a strong passion and drive to learn about technologies.
What values do UAT and Carvana share?
I think the value list on UAT’s website and Carvana’s values align very well overall. Both speak to pride in what you do and a sense of ownership that allows UAT’s students and Carvana’s employees to succeed and grow. What set both organizations apart from others is that there is a focus not just on technical skills, but also a passion for helping others and doing so in a collaborative way. It’s cheesy and cliche for a reason as there is truth in the value of collaboration and what we get from listening to each other’s opinions. The diversity created by looking at all these different viewpoints each of us brings is what truly makes the team at Carvana special.
What are more ways you would like to work with UAT in the future?
We’re looking forward to partnering with UAT in a few ways. As we make decisions on our 2021 summer internship, we will be looking for students in IT and in Security that could be a great starting point for any students looking to build their experience. Carvana also has plans for growing our Security Operations team in the next year or so and that would be an amazing opportunity for those interested in a career path in the security field. We are a fast-growing company and these would both be great ways that you can get your foot in the door to start down an aggressive career path.
What is the current job outlook in your industry given the changes from COVID-19?
Our hiring has definitely changed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At first, we went on a hiring pause and have more recently have been involved in targeted hiring. We are much more strategic in our hiring and trying to plan more long-term to ensure that we are hiring the right roles and levels. We will continue to hire to support our growth as we’ve been able to weather the storm well and continue to grow as an organization.
How is it important to connect and work together?
I think the best advice I can give students overall is to network and take your connections seriously. Your network has more value than you will likely realize for some time. It’s important to check job boards and apply to openings but it’s equally, if not more important, to connect with people using the tools available. There are virtual events in addition to the career fairs and events that UAT will organize for its students. They really should get involved in those things to try to make that personal connection that will make all the difference.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think that UAT has some excellent programs in training students. What they need to remember is that learning doesn’t just happen in school. If you are a student that is looking to set themselves up for the best possible job coming out of college, you need to get involved in the things outside of your college. That can be meetups, volunteering, internships, or a side hustle using your skills to consult with companies. There are a ton of opportunities for all of these things out there, but you need to be tenacious in finding these things. Coming out of school your resume will look like all of your peers who were in the same courses. The question you need to ask is, what sets your resume and experience apart from your peers? The resumes we see with extracurricular activities and some sort of project or work experience outside of school are the ones that we are more likely to call.
Wise words, Neil. Thank you!
Remember we are here for you, but the initiative—that comes from YOU. To find a job, you must be able to promote yourself and your skills, and get that info out there to the right people. Your Student & Career Services Team wants to be a part of this journey with you! Visit them for resources early and often throughout your time at the UAT for help, from interview tips to resume guidance, or even when you don’t need anything at all! “Feel free to reach out to us even if just to tell us everything is fine,” said Antonio Salazar, Student Services Coordinator. “We are here to celebrate your wins and support you in any way that works best, as we want to see you succeed."
UAT’s academic majors focus on expanding, new and rising technology such as the Advancing Computer Science degree, Cyber Security degree, Digital Maker and Fabrication degree and Robotics and Embedded Systems degree. This technology College has the status of being among a select few 100 percent STEM-based universities in the nation. For more information visit www.uat.edu.