Forget applying for jobs at Google, Facebook? College students stir up ‘techlash’

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College students look to big tech as a destination to build their career. Big tech means big money, big esteem, and big opportunities. 

But recently, some of these big tech destinations like Facebook and Google have faced backlash over social and labor issues, including data privacy, workplace pay, and political maneuvering. 

That has led some students to reevaluate if they want to participate in that college-to-big tech pipeline. Some folks call it a “tech-lash”: students using their moral compass to help them determine how and where they’d like to enter the workforce. 

“The choice and the moral implications that have come under scrutiny recently have definitely made it a trickier choice for me, for sure,” says Samuel Resendez, a senior at USC studying computer science. “The cover has been pulled. … This is an industry where a lot of things are happening both good and bad. So I think it’s important for myself, especially, to sort of be on the good side.” 

He continues, “A lot of us are pragmatically coming out [of college] with student loans and have to build our careers professionally. And you have to balance these two different things. Really this whole ‘techlash’ thing has complicated the equation a lot.” 

Austin Rey, a tech recruiter with the firm Cadre, advises college grads: “This is the perfect time for you to take a chance on a small company, get some equity, have a lot of ownership, and make a lot of impact at a startup -- as opposed to being just a cog or wheel at a Facebook or Google.”