Note: This blog post was moved from an older blog. I didn’t get an internship in 2016 by the way so I guess this advice isn’t very good? Besides, lots of people got internships without all this hassle. Ah well.
Quick Note: Hey! I’m finally back from my hiatus. During that hiatus, I was back in Zimbabwe with my family, working an attachment and going on holiday. Now that I’m back from holiday, it’s time to get back into the academic mood as well as this blog. I’ll start with this article where I’ll provide some tips on how to look for internships. Enjoy!
Having done half of my college education, it’s time to look for an internship to apply all that I’ve learned in class. No college degree should be earned without at least one summer internship (or research program) as they not only provide a look into the professional world and help identify whether or not a certain career path is for you, they also give you money, which is nice amirite?
Before we can lie in a bed of money, we need to get the internship first! To do that, I’ve provided some steps that might help you achieve that.
- Work on your resume and even a personal website- These showcase your abilities and previous experiences to prospective employers. Also, given that not many people have a personal website, yours can stand out just by putting in the effort. To get started on the website, you can get the GitHub Student Developer Pack and take the .me domain courtesy of Namecheap and host your site using GitHub Pages (which even lets you set up a blog). As for the resume, the appearance doesn’t matter as much as the content, so take some time working on the resume and getting feedback from many places, such as your college career center and /r/cscareerquestions.
- Try out Hackathons- Hackathons are a great break from the stresses of school where you get to work on a project over the course of a weekend. Even if you don’t make something, you can use the atmosphere as motivation, and even get help with homework (after all, they’re full of CS/SEng students so…). Plus, there are usually recruiters at these events who give out cool swag, critique your resume and provide contact information (which you should use to get back to them). A great place to find hackathons is through Major League Hacking which helps to coordinate these events. They provide food, internet and a place to sleep and some might even help with travel expenses.
- Attend Career Fairs, even at different universities- After all, why else would they be there if they wouldn’t let you use them to apply for internships and jobs. Since I got to a really small college, I’ve had a much better experience going to the larger universities a couple of hours away since they’re open to the general public. Plus you get loads of free swag, which is nice. Then again, how many pens and juice bottles do I actually need?
- Prepare for technical interviews- While this is a hot topic among software engineers about the validity of these methods of hiring, they’re still asking them so you might as well prepare for it. There are plenty of resources that can get you started, like LeetCode, Geek for Geeks, Facebook Code Lab, the canonical Cracking the Coding Interview, CS9 by Stanford on Problem Solving for the CS Technical Interview and Google :).
- Take note of the things you do, along with your challenges and accomplishments- In the behavioral portion of interviews you’ll usually get asked something along the lines of “what was a tough challenge you came across and how did you face it?”. This is a tip I got from Cracking The Coding Interview where you should take some time to sit down and jot down notes of particularly noteworthy events so that you won’t be lost for words when the interview comes. Also, when something awesome happens at your place of employment, you should note it down for your resume to quantify your impact.
- Work on personal projects- While personal projects might take up quite a bit of your time and recruiters won’t be able to identify the impact of the project unless it’s something like IDK…the Linux Kernel, it makes for a great opportunity to learn and it provides a topic for the behavioral interview. Plus, if it goes well, you’ll make so much money that you won’t need to have an internship :).
- Be Persistent- Unless you’re at a big university, you’ll be putting in a lot of applications. While many rejections will discourage you, you should keep going until you get something.
That’s all I have for you today. If you need help or feel like humble-bragging, you can go to /r/cscareerquestions for discussions concerning CS Careers.