I remember applying for Computer Science internships not knowing what I was doing or what to look for in a role. I got lucky not just to land an internship, but to land one that was right for me.
However, if I was still looking for an internship, I would have loved a list like this. It probably would have made my search much easier, saving me time and reassuring me of my decision. My hope is that this list does that for you.
There are a ton of different types of Computer Science internships that you could get. You could obtain a frontend developer role, backend developer role, data analyst role, machine learning role, or so many others.
The first thing to look for in an internship is one that is geared toward what you want to pursue. If you don’t like frontend development than you know not to pursue those roles. On the flip side, if you really love computer networking, then those are the types of internships you should apply for.
Another thing you want to look for is the opportunity to learn new skills. You should already have a pretty good skillset going into your internship, but you should leave knowing much more than when you entered.
For most internships at most companies, this will be the case. However, there are companies out there that don’t care if you grow your skills or not. They just want cheap interns to do work that no one wants to do. Steer clear of these companies! Make learning a priority.
This is probably the thing that people look for the most in their Computer Science internship. Professional experience is not only great for your personal growth, but it’s great for your resume as well. Once you have your first internship under your belt, it will be much easier to get another one, as well as a full-time role.
It’s very eye-opening, especially in your first professional role, to see how a company operates and what it’s like to work on a team. It gives you a glimpse of what your career will be like after graduation.
During my internship, I earned $20 per hour which I was happy with. The average pay for Computer Science internships in the United States is $31 per hour which is certainly more than I made. However, some interns, such as those at top tech companies can earn as much as $60 per hour!
In some cases, you can get academic credit for your internship equivalent to one class (3 credits). If you can double dip and earn money and academic credit, then you’re playing the game well!
However, even if you don’t get paid for your internship but still earn credit, as well as professional experience, and a few other things on this list, then you’re still coming out ahead. Talk to your University and see which internships qualify for academic credit.
Don’t underestimate the power of professional connections. In my first internship, I made a really good connection who is also a really good friend. That person was my manager, the Director of E-Commerce and Marketing.
He pushed for me to get a raise when he saw my level of contribution to the E-Commerce website we were building. He also pushed for me to get a solid full-time offer at the same company upon graduation. To this day, he remains a good connection and a great friend.
Many internships can turn into full-time positions. This happened to me and it happens to many others. There’s a very good chance that it will happen to you if you do good work and make a good impression.
Even if the company you intern for doesn’t give you a return offer of some kind, whether another internship or a full-time job after you graduate, you’ll still be better off. The experience you’ll gain will look great on your resume and will help you land a full-time C.S. job one way or another.
Many Computer Science internships, especially those at the tech giants such as Google and Meta, require relocation. Considering the internship will only last a few months, this can be a great opportunity to experience something new.
A new city, new faces, new culture, and even new weather. If you’ve lived in the same town all your life, you’ll probably benefit from and enjoy a new city. And if you don’t, at least it’s temporary!
However, in my experience, things are often what you make of them. So explore, adventure, and find the beauty where at first you might not see it.
The main reason that most students want an internship is to fulfill their own ambition and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. C.S. internships are a great way to learn, get professional experience that looks great on your resume and jump-start your career.
However, in addition to all of these personal benefits, you can really make a difference in the course of your Computer Science internship. In many cases, you’ll be working on products that are used by thousands, if not millions of people. Some of those products may even save lives.
Yet, even if you don’t save lives with your work, it’s incredibly fulfilling just to see your work make a difference within the company. I helped create a brand new E-Commerce website for construction equipment so I could clearly see my work's impact.
You’ve spent all semester working hard and hopefully getting good grades. Summer is usually the time to unwind and enjoy yourself. However, you’ve made the decision to continue working hard and continue learning. But that doesn’t mean your summer shouldn’t be fun.
I recommend taking an internship that you will enjoy. Of course, any job will come with things that can be unenjoyable. But with the right mindset, you can make something fun that otherwise wouldn’t be.
There are many different things to look for when choosing a Computer Science internship. I recommend studying this list carefully so you can take everything into consideration and make a proper choice.
If you choose an internship without thinking much about it or take the first opportunity that comes your way, you might regret it. I firmly believe that a mediocre internship is better than no internship, but don’t sell yourself short. There are plenty of great opportunities out there.
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