I'm currently finishing up in college and about to start a career as a software engineer. Apart from the experience I will gain in my job (should be primarily c++), I was wondering if there is any other experience someone might recommend I could gain in my own time to help my career advancement?
For example I've carried out academic research (physics algorithm stuff) and I was thinking of coding it up and contributing it to an open source project, does this sound like something that would impress a future employer? Maybe there are some 'rite-of-passage' type tasks that upon completion show a level of competency? Or maybe I should just read some books? If you were an employer (maybe you are), what would make a candidate really stand out to you?
Thanks in advance
p.s. I'm not planning to leave my current employer before I've even started, but I guess now is the time to work on gaining experience such as that which might be prescribed.