New Tech Seattle hosted its fourth annual event with the University of Washington, designed to draw students into the local tech community.
Washington companies want every University of Washington computer-science graduate to stay in the area, and the tech community is reaching out to encourage them to take jobs here.
New Tech Seattle, a Meetup group that is part of a network with 10,000 members that draws at least 300 people to events, hosted a student-focused meeting Tuesday night at the University of Washington to weave computer-science and engineering students into the community.
More than 780 people were at the event during the fourth annual UW meeting.
The meetings help introduce students to the players in the local tech scene and help them learn what skills to focus on, said Shwetak Patel, a UW associate professor.
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It also helps encourage students to take jobs in the state.
“UW grads are being very proactively wooed out of the state because they’re so well-trained,” said Brett Greene, co-founder of New Tech Seattle. “We actually have to kind of fight to keep them in Washington.”
It seems to be working. A 2015 study gathered from LinkedIn data shows the vast majority of UW computer science grads stay in the state. The study showed 330 software engineers who graduated recently took jobs in Washington, and 30 headed to the Bay Area.
New Tech and UW have been putting emphasis on students considering working for startups and mid-size companies, as well as the tech giants that are more visible in the area. Startups have unique challenges when recruiting, and the university hopes to help introduce students to the small companies early on.
Tech companies across the region say one of their biggest challenges is recruiting in an environment where supply doesn’t live up to demand. Washington Roundtable estimates there are more than 25,000 open jobs in the state that go unfilled, and 90 percent of those are in health care and science, technology and engineering fields.
UW is known as one of the top computer-science schools in the nation, and its graduates are a hot commodity. The problem is there isn’t enough to go around.
Last year, UW graduated 364 students from computer science and engineering, and the university wants to increase that with a potential expansion of its on-campus facilities.
In the meantime, Seattle’s tech community is working to accept UW students into its world.
“These kinds of events broaden (students’) views of what kind of technology is out there, but also helps broaden their network,” Patel said.