Word of advice for any of you who are on your way to GHC and intend on interviewing like mad - make sure you either pre-register online or hit the Career Expo first thing in the morning on the first day, because those interview slots fill up quick. The setup was pretty awesome. There were countless vendors representing major tech companies and an interview room with lots of cubicles for privacy (it even had a waiting room).
Also, based on the feedback from my roommate - look up potential questions interviewers will ask and study for them.
Invest in business cards, a website, and a good 1~2pg resume. There was a resume database already setup to pre-filter applicants to potential employers attending GHC, but when you're there in person, some businesses wanted a paper copy to look at. Others simply scanned it in. You just have to be prepared for any situation and be able to tell the representative in a few sentences what sort of work you're interested in. After you've hit your top known choices, take the time to go to as many booths as possible to see what they do - you might find they're just what you're looking for. It also doesn't hurt that each booth gave out swag, too! T-shirts, bags, chapstick, bluetooth headphones, rubber duckies .. bath bombs, you name it, and it was probably there! With swag in mind, you may want to either bring an almost empty suitcase, or an extra duffel bag to lug it all home with you.
GHC is an excellent opportunity to network, and it's easier to hand a business card over to someone than it is to try and pass them your entire resume (especially when you're not trying to get a job from them). It also doesn't hurt to have your website listed on it with the most recent copy of your resume in it!
I had the opportunity to attend GHC with a few of my fellow ACM-W members! We currently make up the bulk of our UMaine Student Chapter and we love it! It's been a fantastic outlet for outreach to the local community. We've been able to work with Project Login and Girls Who Code to reach out to elementary and middle school aged kids who are interested in becoming our future technologists. If you haven't already joined your local ACM-W Chapter, I highly recommend it! It's a great source for peer mentorship, as well as a source of information about upcoming opportunities cough GHC cough.
For GHC18 I had two goals: Network and attend some specific AI and data science sessions. I ended up doing these two things and more! While wandering around the Career Expo, I noticed a name I recognized - Harris. I've done a bit of remote sensing work, and Harris just happens to be the vendor for ENVI. ENVI is arguably one of the best remote sensing software platforms out there that works with IDL, a powerful scientific programming language.
I stopped by, said hello, showed them my resume, and was almost immediately directed to an interview session with their geospatial and computer science representatives. Of all interviews I've had, this one was the best by far. We bounced our collective geekiness off of eachother and it slowly evolved into a fantastic geekout. Normally when I get into stuff I'm super obsessed with - to which one of the ladies so eloquently put as passionate about - people don't match my energy. To sit in an interview and have potential coworkers echoing my energy is definitely a top experience that I'll store away in my memory bank for a rainy day.
So, final take away? If you have an opportunity to attend GHC, do it! You won't regret it and you'll head home exhausted and inspired.