I remember my freshman year of Computer Science undergrad like it was yesterday. I didn’t know how to write a program, I didn’t know what to specialize in, and I didn’t know what a Computer Science internship was.
Eventually, I learned to program and I even got pretty good. I fell in love with web development. I learned what a Computer Science internship is. And eventually, I landed a C.S. internship which really helped to kickstart my career.
A Computer Science internship is a temporary position, usually between the summer months of May and August, where the intern performs Computer Science related duties. More than 60% of these positions are paid and they can often lead to full-time offers.
“Computer Science internship” is really just a blanket term for one of these temporary roles that utilize the skills you’re learning in your C.S. major. In fact, most of the positions are named for the specialization that the internship is focused on. Let’s take a look at some of the types of Computer Science internships that companies offer.
There are dozens if not hundreds of types of Computer Science internships. I highly recommend you research the different types and go after the ones you’re really interested in. Then, you can learn some skills that will make you stand out for those roles.
These are all Computer Science internships. However, the scope and responsibilities of each position will vary greatly. It also depends on the company at which these positions are offered.
For example, a frontend developer at a tech giant such as Google or Meta will be much different than a frontend developer position at a medium-sized company that sells bread products. Let’s take a look and see what some of these internships are like!
As I mentioned before, your internship will vary depending on the type of role and company you’re employed at. I can’t tell you what every single C.S. internship is like, but I can tell you what mine was like. Also, I can tell you the top skill that every single internship has in common.
My first role was at a construction company and my official title was E-Commerce and Marketing intern. I worked on a team of three to build out a new e-commerce website and optimize it for search engines. After all, an e-commerce website does no good if customers can never find it.
The technical skills required at different internships will vary, but there is one skill that is required in order to excel at any role. That skill is communication.
At nearly any internship or full-time role, you’ll be working on a team. Sure, they want to know that you have the technical skills but if you’re not a good communicator, odds are you won’t get the job.
Not all Computer Science internships are paid, but most of them are. In my internship, I started earning $15 per hour but was bumped up to $20 per hour within the first month. Others earn less than this but some earn much more.
If you end up interning at a small to mid-sized company, you can expect to make somewhere around what I made. A bit more or a bit less depending on the role. However, if you end up at one of the tech giants, prepare to rake in the big bucks.
C.S. interns from FAANG and other top tech companies have reported earning between $50 - $60 per hour plus housing stipends. Not bad for a summer job!
Landing a C.S. internship can be very difficult. Less than one out of every ten Computer Science students will get an internship each year. There simply aren’t enough to go around.
However, every year, thousands of students beat the odds and get one. You can certainly be one of those students. It’s a matter of making yourself a qualified candidate for the roles you want. Here are some of the tips that will help you get a Computer Science internship.
The first step is to decide what type of internship you want. Do you want to be a software developer? If so, do you want a frontend, backend, or full-stack developer internship?
Or maybe you prefer to work with data. In which case maybe a data analyst is more your style. Have an eye for design? Perhaps a UI/UX internship is right for you. Do a little soul-searching and see which type really resonates with you.
After you decide which type of internship you want, you should start looking into active roles. Look at no less than ten, but the more the better. Take note of the skill requirements for the roles and you’ll start to see a pattern.
Next, it’s time to grow some of the skills necessary for the type of internship you want. Look on YouTube for free resources, search Udemy for a paid course, and search through the documentation for developer-related roles.
It’s great that you’ve picked up some new skills which will help you in your internship. Although, it would be better if you put those skills to the test and create a project with them. Be creative and make something unique. This will really help you stand out from the crowd.
Also, small projects are okay but you should really make something with depth. Make something that challenges you and shows that you have what it takes to excel in your role.
Add your new skills and your new project to your resume. Don’t lie about your skills, but don’t be too humble either. At this point, you’ve worked hard in your classes and in your extracurricular learning. No one will promote you as well as you will so be sure to sell yourself!
Now that your resume is updated, you can apply to the roles you want. Many companies that offer summer internships begin accepting applications as early as August of the year before.
However, plenty of companies do begin accepting applications until much closer to the start of the internship period. Start applying as soon as possible and keep at it until you either land the internship you want or until the summer.
Another great tip is to go to job fairs and network with your peers, professors, technical recruiters, and everyone else in the industry. You never know who could help you land your next job or how much help you could be to others.
The last step is to prepare for the interviews you’ll have. There are usually multiple rounds of interviews and they test your technical aptitude as well as your communication skills and attitude, commonly referred to as “culture fit.”
A Computer Science internship refers to one of the many types of temporary roles that C.S. students take on during their undergraduate and grad programs. There are many types of Computer Science internships that can be a path toward a specialization.
Each type of internship can offer a very different experience. This can be a great opportunity to see if you really enjoy any particular specialization before you begin your career.
Landing one of these internships can be really difficult because they’re so competitive. However, if you follow the tips that I’ve laid out in this article you can shift the odds in your favor.
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