How To Land a Computer Science Internship

May 4, 2022

7 Min Read

Why should you work for a company to spend your summer vacation doing what you want? Internships give firsthand experience working in the actual world. You’ll discover how to apply the topics you learned in university. Above all, you’ll gain new skills and information that will help you develop your profession.

Let’s look at why companies recruit interns before discussing how you will obtain your internships. Interns are often misunderstood as cheap labor. While this can be true for a three-person company with little finance, it is not the case. Companies can use interns to look for prospective talent and nurture them. Finding suitable candidates and training an intern for three months is far less expensive than recruiting an industry hire and terminating them if they don’t work out. 

Let’s look at how you’ll obtain your Computer Science internships now that we know why companies seek interns.

Getting Companies’ Attention

You must apply to the companies to be on their radar. Most individuals are terrified of not being good enough, yet it’s better to be rejected than never knowing. We strongly advise networking and visiting Job Fairs since you’ll meet and engage with real people.

Some interns acquired their first internship by networking and approaching individuals already working in the field. They attended all of the university’s career fairs and interviewed with a few companies, including Yahoo and Microsoft, but were unsuccessful since most employers sought juniors or discovered better prospects. When you’re just starting, you’ll feel networking is critical since there are a lot of students competing for internships, and having someone vouch for you is crucial. This isn’t to argue that knowing people will train you; you’ll still need a strong CV and background. 

Having a Great Resume

Maybe, some of you used to mistake placing all of your projects in one place on your resume. But, choosing tasks that you are comfortable describing and highlighting your strengths is better. Then, if a recruiter or interviewer inquires about a project, you will feel confident presenting the details.

A general GPA and a major GPA are typical at most universities. Using a greater GPA is often recommended. Put them both on your CV if they’re decent. A system will vet your resume if you don’t speak to a recruiter in person. This system looks for keywords to check whether the candidate is a good fit. You can test your resume against an ATS to see how well it does. Jobscan is a website we can suggest.

Personal Projects Can Make You Stand Out

This signal relates to your resume’s projects section. Your university’s Computer Science majors must take the same courses as you. Imagine a recruiter sifting through hundreds of applications and seeing a similar project from the CSE 30 system on everyone’s list. How can a recruiter tell which applicant

is the best if they’re all working on the same tasks? Thus, you’ll need to stand out with personal projects or other internships.

Communication Skills

Even if you’re the best programmer on the planet, no one will consider you seriously if you can’t express your work and skills adequately. Recruiters will better appreciate your competence and understanding if you can communicate your skills and projects to non-computer science majors. It can also demonstrate how well you grasp the project and technology.

Getting a Computer Science Internship: What to Expect

If you impress a recruiter, you’ll advance to the interview stage. Some organizations conduct preliminary on-campus interviews before getting to their offices for an onsite consultation. Some businesses do one round of interviews. This is very dependent on the company, so do your homework. We recommend that you prepare certain LeetCode issues months in advance. Some students designed and practiced several LeetCode tasks the day before the interview, but it never worked out. In their experience, interviewers often question Sophomores LeetCode Easy issues and Juniors a mix of LeetCode Easy and Medium problems.

We would advise a sophomore to be acquainted with Arrays, LinkedList, and Recursion. Some students’ most frequent question was how to reverse a LinkedList, string, or list as a sophomore. Therefore, we would suggest taking an Advanced Data Structures and Algorithms course as soon as feasible as a Junior.

Some also received many behavioral questions, such as “tell me about a time you had a fight and how you handled it” and “tell me about a major achievement and why a particular one.” Maybe some of you are not sure how important these questions are, but they’re used to determine whether the applicant is a good cultural match.

Suppose you failed many interviews throughout your sophomore and junior years. In that case, still be positive since it will help you recognize the algorithms and data structures you were having trouble with. However, you’ll also discover that you need to prepare for the interview months. 

We recommend you to read Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Learning JavaScript Data Structures by Loiane Groner to learn the full-time interviews with Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Even if you don’t remember much from these books, We still suggest reading the first few chapters for fundamental algorithms and data structure.

Accepting an Offer

If you do well in your interviews and the company needs to fill a position, the recruiter will send you an offer. Some students got paid $28 per hour as interns at Coupons.com, while others received $35 per hour at Intuit. In addition, Intuit provides lodging, a rental vehicle, and free petrol for three months to all interns. Even full-time workers are not entitled to such advantages. 

It isn’t easy to bargain for a better salary unless you have many offers. If you’re heading to an internship in a distant state, you’re usually entitled to a relocation fee. You wouldn’t be concerned about the pay since the experience will be more valuable in the long run.

Internship Expectations

You may be thinking about what to do after accepting your offer. Most internships last three months and require you to be part of a team. Your experience may differ depending on the company and staff, but we will share what other students learned as interns. Some worked on a reconciliation tool at Coupons. It was written in Java, and they had to learn about Cassandra, REST, and XML to complete it. This tool had its repository and didn’t interact with the production code. At Intuit, some also developed a health monitoring tool that checks for aberrant behavior in production systems. Again, spring Boot, Java, and MongoDB were used to create this. 

Neither of their mentors examined their pull requests throughout the internships, which was frustrating since they expected to learn excellent programming methods. Ask your mentors for these and schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss your internship objectives. Inform your mentors of what you want to acquire from the internship. Both sides should gain from the training. 

We’ve also found that many interns begin their first project by building tests to understand more about the system and infrastructure. Because most colleges do not teach effective testing procedures in general, we believe this is an excellent approach to expose engineers to creating tests.

You’ll Be Solving a Specific Issue

Your hosts will not assign you a project that they cannot complete. Intern projects are designed to be completed in three months and consider the intern’s skill level. If your hosts assign you a project that you cannot do in three months, engage with them to decrease the scope. Recruiters usually need hosts to provide an evaluation of their interns. Having a project that you can finish will help you.

Using a Version Control System

Some folks don’t learn how to use version control systems like Git or Mercurial until they start working. For example, they would force push into the main branch even in college without using the right Git commit messages. Applying It won’t work in the codebase of a company. You’ll need to learn how to manage your branches properly and write good commit messages. 

How to Test Your Coding

Like you don’t write good unit tests or integration tests for your school projects, most of you don’t use version control. Most of your assignments already had tests written, and we anticipated incorporating the skeleton code to make the tests pass. Many output codebases have checks to ensure you have enough code coverage. If you don’t, you won’t be able to verify in your code. 

Experiencing New Tools & Concepts

Each project and team has unique needs. So you’ll have to learn a new tech stack to join the group. You’ll need to learn new libraries and frameworks to implement your solution. Unfortunately, your university probably won’t teach you these new ideas.

Offer to Return

You might be offered a full-time job if you are a junior or a senior graduating soon. How does one get an offer to come back? Your host and manager will make the final choice. Make sure you and your manager meet every week to ensure you’re on the same page. You can also ask what you need to do to get a return offer, and hopefully, your superior will work with you to set realistic goals. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now have a better sense of your internship. The journey will be long and complex, but it will be worthwhile. Enjoy your training by learning new stuff. How did you find your internships? What challenges did you face in getting your internship? What additional concerns do you have? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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