As a Computer Science student seeking an internship, I wanted to know what Computer Science internships are like. It wasn’t long before I landed my first Computer Science internship and then I could see for myself.
However, I know that my experience isn’t identical to that of others in their Computer Science internship. So what I would like to know is how my internship compared to those that other students have had.
With that said, I also know that there are certain similarities across all C.S. internships. This is what all Computer Science internships have in common.
Computer Science internships are challenging but rewarding. They’re an opportunity to learn real-world skills and gain professional experience. You’ll likely be working on a team developing features in an application, testing and debugging software, and using cutting-edge technology.
I landed my first Computer Science internship in 2021 which was the summer of my Junior year. I actually got pretty lucky because I met CJ, the person that would become my boss, on an online coding forum.
He just moved to Chicago for a new role as the Director of Marketing and E-Commerce at an electrical construction company. Soon after CJ was hired, two internship positions opened up in his department.
Since I was one of the few connections CJ had made since starting his new role, he recommended that I apply for the internship position. It also helped that I had some of the skills required for the role after building a project of my own the year before.
They were building a new E-Commerce website for some of their commonly sold equipment. It was my responsibility to build out a few pages for the new site, including those for the different brands they offer.
I also organized much of the product data. This was the least fun part of the internship, but it was still a good learning experience.
The last thing that I was responsible for was redesigning an older website for a different department within the company. This was the first experience I had in UI/UX design.
I used Adobe XD for the site redesign. This is one of the most popular UI/UX design applications alongside Figma (my personal favorite).
When we developed the E-Commerce website, we used WordPress for the CMS and WooCommerce to handle E-Commerce functionality. If I were building this same application today, I would probably use different technology.
However, when working for a company, you may be free to make suggestions, but the ultimate decision lies with upper management. As a software developer, it’s your job to adapt to the requirements set by the company.
As far as the product data, I used Microsoft Excel. This was the choice because it integrates well with WooCommerce. Once uploaded, the data is stored in a MySQL database.
When I first started my internship, I was earning $15 per hour. Honestly, I was really happy with this rate, considering it was my first paid developer role.
Yet, after a few weeks, my manager appreciated my work and bumped me up to $20 per hour. Needless to say, I had no complaints!
While this may not seem like a lot of money, I was just happy that someone was paying me to do what I loved and showed appreciation for my work.
I know that my experience may be different from what other Computer Science internships are like. That’s why I talked to a few other Computer Science students about what their Computer Science internships are like.
Derron was my classmate at school. We worked on a group project together with a few others and everyone from the group is still friends to this day. We’re all very supportive of each other in our careers and Derron was kind enough to let me in on his internship experience.
Derron interned at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) in 2020, the summer before he graduated. He was a Business Analytics Intern which is an IT role and did really well there.
After the internship, they offered him a full-time position upon his graduation but he instead accepted a position at Ford Motor Company.
As a Business Analyst, Derron would view and analyze data in order to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle manufacturer's assembly. He would then compose a visual representation of his analysis so the company could make educated business decisions.
“Based on the data I gathered using Microsoft Azure Cloud, I was able to predict and show a visual representation of, for example, heavy rain causing a 10% decrease in workers that day. That can impact production on assembling cars which can result in a $300,000 loss from a single plant in a single day.” -Derron
FCA utilizes a data analytics tool called Qlik. This is the main tool that Derron used to analyze data during his internship. The data was gathered from Microsoft Azure Cloud.
He also used PowerPoint to compose presentations of the research he had done.
During his internship, Derron received $24 per hour. Considering we live in the midwest (Chicago, IL) this is a really good wage. It’s a bit more than I earned in my internship.
However, upon his graduation, FCA offered Derron a full-time position with a salary of $74,000. Although this was a good offer, he ended up accepting an even better offer of $76,000 from Ford Motor Company.
I referred to Quinn’s story in another article detailing the compensation you could expect from a Computer Science internship. However, I go into more detail here about Quinn’s experience in addition to his pay rate.
Quinn got an internship at Facebook in 2018. As you could imagine, an internship position at Facebook is more demanding than one at a small or mid-sized company. He detailed what his experience was like in his first week at Facebook:
Although the internship at Facebook is more challenging, it also pays much more. Quinn was earning $8,000 per month which amounts to roughly $50 per hour! Not bad considering he hadn’t even graduated yet.
Matt had an internship at Twilio, a U.S.-based company that provides communication tools for phone calls and messaging. Rather than explaining what Matt’s Computer Science internship was like, I’ll simply share his experience in his own words.
If you want to follow Matt, he has a great YouTube channel giving useful tips for career and programming.
In a C.S. internship, you’ll have an opportunity to get real-world experience and grow your technical skills and your soft skills. Although, the best way to learn what Computer Science internships are like is to experience it for yourself.
However, not all experiences are the same. This is shown by the diverse experiences explained in this article. Derron, Quinn, Matt, and I all had different experiences in our Computer Science internships.
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