MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — The end of Dakota State University’s (DSU) fall semester is drawing nearer, and the outlook for those set to enter the workforce looks positive.

Deb Roach, DSU’s VP for Human Resources, says the outlook is great, actually. “There’s certainly plenty of jobs,” she said.

Roach pointed to a recent job and internship fair DSU hosted, telling KELOLAND that 79 employers attended. “We start working with students quite a ways before the get up to graduation,” she said. “Hopefully by now, many have actually secured employment.”

Roach held up the most recent DSU outcome report as an indication on what to expect this winter. “The report that we just completed shows a placement rate of 99.63% for our undergrad students,” she said, anticipating the next report will look similar.

On average, Roach says 60-70% of DSU graduates stay in South Dakota, though she noted that number varies by program.

One of the largest industries available to DSU grads is work in government agencies “because of our cyber-security and computer science program,” Roach said. This also applies to many other industries looking for graduates with computer science degrees.

Some of the most in-demand majors at DSU are unsurprisingly cyber-security and computer science, but Roach says data analytics is also an area of high demand. “Accounting is a big one — education of course — those would be some of the key ones,” she added.

One thing Roach highlighted is the importance of getting an early start to the job hunt.

“Employers are willing to hire early,” Roach advised. “They will hire someone now that doesn’t graduate until May, because if they get that right employee — they will do it.”

This applies to internships too, Roach clarified, noting that students will want to start looking at those as early as sophomore year. “[Employers] like to hire students for internships in their sophomore/junior year,” she explained. “If it’s a good relationship — they’ll start recruiting early on.”

One benefit of internships that Roach pointed out is their ability to help students decide which direction they may want to take in their education.

“Each degree could be placed in many different industries,” Roach said, offering cyber-security as an example. “If you really like banking, they need cyber-security people. If you really like health care — a completely different field — they’re looking for cyber-security people too.”

To get the most out of your experience, Roach stressed the importance of taking your time and putting the work in to lay the groundwork before you start applying for jobs.