Career Q&A with Computer Science Major Siddharthsinh Parmar

As an international student, Parmar sought University Career Center support in navigating the sponsorship process for a summer internship.

Sid Parmar was invited to the White House during an India state visit through the UMD student organization Develop, Empower, and Synergize India (DESI). Image courtesy of Sid Parmar.

Why did you decide to study computer science at UMD?

I initially enrolled at UMD as a mechanical engineering major, but the computer science (CS) program here really drew me in. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to switch to CS because the world of artificial intelligence was becoming increasingly compelling to me. The challenging courses at UMD fueled my passion and made me eager to learn more. 

My academic advisor encouraged me to minor in another field, which inspired me to take business courses. Combining my interests in computer science and business has been incredibly rewarding.

How have you taken advantage of opportunities on campus to pursue your career goals?

I've attended numerous webinars, seminars and networking booths. Volunteering at the computer science fall and spring career fairs allowed me to gain valuable insights into recruiters. Participating in coffee chats with companies through the University Career Center and Handshake has been beneficial, as they often lead to resume shortlisting for interviews. 

Working as a peer advisor in the Department of Computer Science also keeps me informed about the latest happenings and opportunities within the department. Being a peer advisor also helped me develop strong mentoring skills and build meaningful connections with both students and faculty. Additionally, I’ve taken advantage of the various workshops and hackathons hosted by the university, which have provided hands-on experience and helped me stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies.

What kind of career guidance and one-on-one feedback did you receive from the University Career Center @ CMNS? 

Sid Parmar attended the AWS Summit in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of same.

I scheduled numerous meetings with the University Career Center @ CMNS to get guidance on drafting my resume, preparing for mock interviews, writing cover letters and conducting job research. One particular mock interview with [University Career Center @ CMNS Program Director] Becca Ryan stands out—I didn't do well initially, but it turned out to be incredibly beneficial for my main interview for my internship. I also had my resume and application materials reviewed multiple times by the Computer Science Department staff to ensure they were polished and effective.

It's tough for international students to secure jobs in this market, but resources like GoinGlobal, which I accessed through the Career Center, were really helpful in my job search. I highly recommend that students explore the resources section on Handshake.

What are you enjoying most about your internship at Spirent? 

I'm really enjoying the hands-on experience and collaborative environment at Spirent. In my role, I've been focused on enhancing machine learning systems, which involves a lot of research and practical application. One highlight has been demonstrating how new machine learning algorithms can be used in mobile and wireless networks.

I've been involved in developing and testing various machine learning algorithms, as well as analyzing large data sets to draw meaningful insights. Additionally, Spirent has a fantastic buddy program where interns interact with experienced employees formally and informally throughout the internship period. This has been a great way to gain insights, receive guidance and build strong professional relationships. The opportunity to work on real-world projects, see the tangible impact of my work and connect with seasoned professionals has been incredibly rewarding.

What advice do you have for fellow Science Terps who are looking for internships and jobs?

My advice is to network as much as possible. Building a diverse network by making friends from different majors and backgrounds can open up a lot of opportunities. Join clubs early in your college career and stay committed to them throughout your time at the university—something I missed out on but have come to recognize as important.

Sid Parmar (right) studied abroad in Spain and visited the Segovia Aqueduct with friends. Image courtesy of Sid Parmar.

Start planning your internship and job search at least a year in advance. This means preparing your resume, practicing interview skills and researching potential employers early on. Building strong relationships with your professors can also be incredibly beneficial, as they can offer guidance, support, and even job referrals.

Make sure to attend all the career fairs and networking events on campus. These events are excellent opportunities to meet recruiters, learn about different companies and make a good impression. Additionally, look for events organized in Washington, D.C., as they can provide access to a broader range of industries and professionals.

If you’re an international student, take advantage of your unique background by sharing your stories of stepping out of your comfort zone. These narratives can highlight your adaptability, resilience and global perspective, making you stand out to potential employers.

Overall, the key is to be proactive. Take advantage of every resource available to you, from the Career Center to student organizations, and don't hesitate to put yourself out there. The more you engage with the community and seek out opportunities, the better your chances of securing valuable internships and job offers.

CMNS students have access to career advisors and programs that are personalized to their unique career interests in STEM fields. In this Q&A series, we are spotlighting how Science Terps are capitalizing on the resources, support and guidance that the University Career Center @ CMNS provides. 

Make an appointment with Becca or another member of the University Career Center team by visiting or email with any career-related questions!

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.