The Daily Camera will cover Friday's University of Colorado commencement live on dailycamera.com and via Twitter; track hashtag #cugrad11 to follow the event in real time -- or, if you're there, contribute your own tweets. We'll collect tweets, photos and Facebook updates with the #cugrad11 hashtag on the Daily Camera website.
If you go
What: University of Colorado spring commencement
When: 8:30 a.m. Friday, but CU officials are recommending early arrival because the crowd is projected to be 20,000. The stadium gates will open at 7 a.m.
Where: Folsom Field, regardless of weather
Security: Guests are asked not to bring large purses or bags to the ceremony. People entering the stadium may be subject to a search.
Parking: Most of the available parking for the ceremony will be in lots off Regent Drive, just south of Colorado Avenue, and parking attendants will be on hand to direct people to the lots. Commencement planners encourage people to consider alternatives to driving.
Closure: The access road called Stadium Drive, north of the Dal Ward Athletic Center, and Pleasant Street east of Old Main will be closed to all traffic between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. for the graduation procession.
Other information: No tickets are required for the ceremony.
"I'm going to be a computer programmer," Ben Limmer declared to his mother at age 8.
And that's the moment his mother should have put the phone number for tech support on speed dial, as she'd spend countless hours on the phone with technicians after her son tinkered and tweaked the family's computer.
Still, she encouraged her son to pursue his interest in computer science.
Limmer -- who will graduate from the University of Colorado on Friday with a degree in computer science -- has a career as a software engineer awaiting him with ReadyTalk, a Denver-based web conferencing company.
After a recession that knocked down many "now hiring" signs for freshly minted college graduates, the job market is looking brighter for the Class of 2011. CU will confer 5,897 degrees at Friday's university-wide commencement ceremony that begins at 8:30 a.m. in Folsom Stadium.
Employers will hire 19.3 percent more graduates than they did following the 2009-10 school year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. And the organization's survey of students shows that slightly more than 42 percent of participating seniors who applied for a job received an offer. In comparison, at this time last year, just 38 percent of the Class of 2010 that had applied for jobs had offers in hand.
Average starting salary offers for graduates also have increased from $47,673 last year to $50,462, according to the association.
Limmer said he mulled four job offers before making a decision.
"It's unbelievable how in demand computer science students are," he said. "I had people calling me. I feel really lucky in this economy."
While at CU, Limmer launched an annual event called Startups2Students that brought together CU students with representatives from local startup companies that were looking to recruit for internships.
Lisa Severy, director of Career Services at CU, said the campus has had a 6.5 percent increase since last year in the number of full-time positions they've posted for students.
"Our numbers began ramping up in January and have continued to climb," she said.
Severy said she's impressed with how well students have taken advantage of career counseling and services at the university.
"This group of students has lived with a struggling economy throughout their experience, so they know what to expect," she said.
Jessica McNierney, a Leeds School of Business graduate, is beginning a full-time job at Sterling-Rice Group, a Boulder-based marketing firm, where she has interned for more than a year.
She's worked in the media department, helping negotiate advertising contracts, as well as handling billing and invoices.
"When I start, it won't be super-different from what I've already been doing," said McNierney, who became particularly interested in marketing after a class she took her sophomore year. "It wasn't an internship where you go get coffee. I've been working with vendors."
CU graduate Alexandra Lane took a different route, and opted to graduate in December -- a semester early -- so that she could get an early start in the job market before it was flooded with May graduates.
Now she's working at Jefferies in New York -- a global securities and investment banking group -- as an analyst in a position that was tailor-made for her so that she can rotate between sales and trading desks.
Lane spent the fall semester flying to New York 10 separate times to make contacts. She said she made daily phone calls to employers willing to give her 10 minutes. She "lived in the career adviser office" in the Leeds School of Business, Lane said.
"It all ended up paying off," she said.
Boulder's Gale Dunlap -- who coaches people in the job market to better prepare them for interviews -- said that interviewing is a skill that requires practice.
"You must be clear on what your skills are and how they relate to the needs of the prospective employer," she said. "Do basic research on the company. They will know if you haven't."
She also advises new graduates to hone their etiquette: dress professionally, even in laid-back Boulder; make eye contact; offer a firm handshake; and don't say "like" excessively while speaking.
"Thank everyone who interviews you and send each person an email thank-you note within 24 hours after the interview," she said.
Dunlap said that the best way to be confident and relaxed in job interviews is to practice with mock job interviews. When prospective employees are nervous, it impairs their ability to answer unexpected questions, she said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or email@example.com.