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Arizona universities drawing in technology companies

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Seventy-two percent of Arizona State University’s Fulton Schools of Engineering graduates get jobs in Arizona according to Robin Hammond, director of Fulton Schools’ Career Center. A big reason so many students stay in the state is because so many technology companies call it home.

Hammond says the school uses traditional methods, like career fairs and internships, to link their students with potential employers. She said the university is now going further using a new program called Experiential Based Hiring. The new program is more innovative than the traditional methods.

“Students want to have hack-a-thons and coding challenges,” Hammond said. “They really want to get their hands into the problems early, and we think those are great environments for companies to see students in the actual environments of both teamwork and their technical skills.”

Hammond added that this gives students a good foot in the door and that many companies move to the state because of the concentration of technical talent here in Arizona. She said the people who tell technology companies were to move are impressed with Arizona graduates. She added the school’s faculty is working to help fix many problems that currently exist in new technology.

In one class, students actually build an autonomous car from scratch. Associate Professor Aviral Shrivastava, who teaches the class, said this project really merges two separate paths into one. Students have to build and wire the car, which is about the size of a remote-controlled car, and have to write the code that makes the car drive on its own. “It’s not just computer science anymore. It is really whole system design that you need to know to make the robot of the next coming decade,” said Shrivastava.

“It’s not just computer science anymore. It is really whole system design that you need to know to make the robot of the next coming decade,” Shrivastava said.

Shrivastava added he thinks of his class as a learning platform which really prepares his students for a future in the industry. Companies like Tesla, and other autonomous car makers, are really looking for people who can design the whole system.

Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesperson for Governor Doug Ducey said ASU is doing a really good job of embracing new technology, but they are not the only reason why technology companies call Arizona home. He said the community here is really welcoming to new technology, which helps the technology industry innovate faster.

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