Get A Software Engineer Internship In 4 Easy Steps

Dev Internships is backed by its users. When purchasing via our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

Are you looking for tips on how to land a software engineer internship? If so, you're in the right place! Here are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of securing an internship in the field of software development.

What Do Software Engineer Interns Do?

Software engineer interns typically work on projects that are designed to help them learn and gain practical experience in software development. These projects may be smaller in scope than those worked on by full-time software engineers and may involve tasks such as writing code, debugging, and testing software. 

In addition to working on specific projects, interns may also have the opportunity to attend technical training sessions, participate in team meetings and code reviews, and learn about the company's development processes and technologies. 

The specific tasks and responsibilities of a software engineer intern will depend on the needs of the company and the intern's skill level.

How To Get A Software Engineering Internship

In order to land a software engineering internship, follow these steps. Build up your programming skills. Learn basics and advanced topics such as data structures and algorithms. Build projects, create a portfolio, update your resume, and apply to roles you’re interested in.

1. Build Up Your Skills

In order to be competitive for a software developer internship, you'll need to have a strong foundation in programming. This means taking online courses, working on personal projects, and practicing your coding skills. 

Focus on learning popular programming languages like Python, Java, and C++, as well as frameworks and libraries that are commonly used in the industry. I personally prefer the Java language as well as the Spring framework to build web applications with Java.

These are two of my favorite courses for learning Java, as well as the Spring framework and they're also best sellers on Udemy:

Java Programming Masterclass updated to Java 17

Spring & Hibernate for Beginners (includes Spring Boot)

2. Create A Portfolio

A portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills and accomplishments to potential employers. You can include projects you've completed, code samples, and even descriptions of your thought process and problem-solving techniques. 

Having a portfolio will give employers a sense of your technical abilities and help you stand out from other candidates. Here is my advice when creating a portfolio to show off your work.

Choose A Platform To Build Your Portfolio

There are a variety of platforms you can use to create your portfolios, such as a personal website, a blog, or a portfolio-specific site like Behance or Carbonmade. Choose the platform that works best for you and your goals.

Select Your Projects

Think about the projects you've completed that best demonstrate your skills and experience. These could be personal projects, school assignments, or even work you did as part of a team. Choose a mix of projects that show off your technical abilities and your problem-solving skills.

Write Project Descriptions

For each project, write a brief description that explains what it is, what you accomplished, and any challenges you faced. This will give context to your work and help potential employers understand your thought process and approach.

Link To Your Project Code Or Add Code Samples

If you have code samples you're proud of, consider including them in your portfolio. This can be a great way to show off your technical skills and give employers a sense of your coding style.

Include A Resume

It's a good idea to include a copy of your resume in your portfolio. This will give employers all the information they need to learn about your background and qualifications.

3. Network and seek out opportunities

In the tech industry, networking is key. Attend meetups, hackathons, and other industry events to meet professionals and make connections. You can also reach out to software development companies and inquire about internship opportunities. Don't be afraid to be proactive and take the initiative to seek out opportunities – it can pay off in the long run.

4. Prepare for the interview

When you do get an interview for a software developer internship, it's important to be well-prepared. Research the company and its products, and be ready to discuss your relevant skills and experience. 

Practice coding problems and algorithms beforehand, as you may be asked to complete a coding challenge during the interview. Here are a few tips to nail the coding challenge and ultimately land the internship.

  • Review the problem statement carefully and make sure you understand what you are being asked to do.
  • Think about how you would solve the problem and come up with a plan.
  • Write some test cases to ensure that your solution is correct.
  • Practice writing code in the language that you will be using for the coding challenge.
  • Take a few practice coding challenges to get a feel for the types of problems that you may encounter and to improve your coding skills.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the programming environment that you will be using for the coding challenge, such as the online code editor or the integrated development environment (IDE).
  • Stay calm and focused during the coding challenge. Remember that it is normal to make mistakes and that you can always ask clarifying questions if you are unsure about something.
  • If you’re looking for a course to learn the fundamentals of data structures and algorithms, I highly recommend this course from Udemy.

    Master the Coding Interview: Data Structures + Algorithms

    Why Are Software Engineering Internships Important?

    Software engineering internships are important for several reasons. First and foremost, they provide an opportunity for students to gain practical experience in the field. By working on real-world projects and interacting with experienced professionals, interns can learn about the day-to-day work of a software engineer and begin to understand the industry's best practices and processes.

    Internships also allow students to build their resumes and gain valuable skills that will make them more competitive in the job market. In addition, internships can serve as a way for students to network with professionals and potentially secure a full-time position after graduation.

    Finally, internships can help students confirm their interest in a career in software engineering. By experiencing the work firsthand, they can determine if it is a good fit for their goals and interests.

    Is It Hard To Get A Software Engineering Internship?

    It can be competitive to get a software engineering internship, but it is not necessarily difficult if you are well-prepared. To increase your chances of getting an internship, it is important to have a strong foundation in computer science and programming, as well as experience working on projects and collaborating with others. 

    You should also make sure to tailor your application materials (such as your resume and cover letter) to the specific internship or company you are applying to, and be proactive in reaching out to potential internship providers. Networking and building relationships within the industry can also be helpful in finding internship opportunities.

    What To Do If You Don’t Land A Software Engineering Internship

    If you work hard to build your skills, create a portfolio, and apply to countless internships but you still don’t land one, it can be heartbreaking. Trust me, I’ve been there. However, don’t let it get you down too much.

    My motto (and what helped me land an internship the following summer) is: “If you don’t land an internship, make your own.” By now I’m sure you’ve made projects of your own. However, it seems that none of those projects were impressive enough to land you the gig.

    When I failed to land an internship my sophomore year, I spent that entire summer building a project. I advise you do the same. However, if you know that there is another reason why you didn’t land an internship (i.e. you bombed the interviews) then work on that. However, building a solid project will likely help with that as well.


    Software engineering internships can be difficult to get. However, they’re very important for your career and for leveling up your skills. You’ll learn what it’s like to work on a team and develop real-world projects.

    By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to securing a software developer internship. Remember to be persistent and don't get discouraged if you don't get a response right away – it can take time to land the perfect opportunity. Good luck!