One of the greatest feelings as a Computer Science student is landing a paid Computer Science internship. You gain invaluable professional experience while you’re still in school and make some money while you’re at it. However, not all internships are paid, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
In this article, I’ll answer most if not all of your questions about paid Computer Science internships. Also, I’ll share my experience and give you tips on how to land one for yourself.
More than 60% of Computer Science internships in the United States are paid. The national average hourly pay for Computer Science interns is $31.45 per hour. The pay ranges from $9.62 per hour and can reach up to $59.86 per hour for some Computer Science internships.
I landed my first internship in the third year of my Computer Science program. It was for an electrical construction company in Chicago and I was responsible for developing parts of their E-Commerce website.
This particular Computer Science internship was paid. Initially, I earned $15 per hour but within a few weeks, they bumped me up to $20 per hour which I was pleased with.
Aside from a few small freelance jobs I worked on while I was in school, this was the first time anyone paid me to do what I love: design and develop websites.
This same company also offered me a full-time position after I graduated, which I accepted. The annual salary was $70,000 and they also provided some benefits and contributed to my 401k.
Needless to say, this first internship was a great opportunity to make some money while completing my Computer Science degree. Additionally, it was also a great opportunity to gain professional experience which ultimately led to a full-time offer.
Yet, there are plenty of great opportunities for unpaid Computer Science internships. For many students, these unpaid internships can be a great option.
Generally speaking, paid Computer Science internships are better than unpaid ones. This may be obvious, but it’s worth stating. However, an unpaid internship is usually better than none at all.
In many cases with unpaid Computer Science internships, there are other benefits. These can include housing allowances and other stipends for living expenses. Additionally, you’ll gain valuable experience that can lead to a higher offer for a full-time position after you graduate.
This is similar to an experience that an anonymous Redditor had. They didn’t get the paid internship they wanted so they accepted one that was unpaid which led to a full-time offer.
As stated earlier, the pay for various Computer Science internships around the United States can vary greatly. This will depend on several factors such as location, company, position within that company, technology and projects assigned to the intern, and other factors.
I earned $20 per hour in my internship which I was happy with. However, some Computer Science students receive much higher offers from major tech companies.
In fact, some interns have reported making twice or even three times as much as my internship paid! While these internships pay quite a bit, I wouldn’t expect this from every company. But for the major tech giants, it’s totally realistic.
Quinn Ngo was a Computer Science student who shared his story on Quora of how he received multiple offers from various tech companies. Not only did these offers come with a high pay rate, but they also included a housing stipend in addition to the salary.
Here are the companies and pay rates for all of his offers:
The traditional way to get a Computer Science internship is to simply apply to as many as possible and wait to hear back. However, in a previous article, I describe how I got my first tech internship and offer certain tips to set yourself apart from the crowd.
The best place to start is to check the job listings for the internships you want. They’ll tell you what they’re looking for in their candidates. From there, you can learn the technologies, frameworks, and anything else that will make you qualified for those roles.
Then, you’ll want to update your resume to reflect your new skills. It’s also great if you incorporate those skills into some project that you can showcase and discuss in your interview process.
Now that you have the skills and your resume reflects that, start applying for everything that sounds interesting to you. Even if you don’t meet all the qualifications, apply anyway.
Finally, you should immerse yourself in the programming and development community. This can even include recruiters, especially those that recruit for the positions that you want.
If you don’t land a Computer Science internship, it’s totally okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, do what I did when I didn’t land one in my Sophomore year. I created my own internship.
I created a blog with WordPress and started writing about all the technologies I was researching. However, I don’t recommend this exact approach. WordPress expertise isn’t as likely to land you an internship as some more modern technologies and frameworks.
I don’t want to tell you what technologies to build your project with. Rather, I highly recommend you check what technologies are used in the companies you want to work for. Then you can build a project with those technologies.
Most Computer Science internships are paid. However, some of them are unpaid. Yet, all of them offer a professional experience that can help you land a full-time job after graduation and perhaps even a higher wage.
Making yourself a qualified candidate will help you land one of these roles. But if you don’t land one, don’t worry. You can always create your own internship by building a cool project over the summer. Who knows, that project might even turn into the next billion-dollar tech unicorn!
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