How to Land a Great Computer Science Internship

by Morgan Kastner

It's perhaps one of the toughest things about being a college student: To get a great job, you need experience. But how are you supposed to get experience without a job?

The solution: An internship. Computer science internships will give you a chance to test your programming skills, interact with computer science professionals and explore various areas of the field.

Here’s how to land a great computer science internship.

Start With Your Goals

Before you begin sending out resumes, it’s important to have an idea of your goals. What skills do you want to enhance? What kind of company culture appeals to you most? What kind of skills would you like to learn?

Every internship will offer a different experience, and knowing your goals will help you narrow down your options. If you don’t have a clear set of goals established already, you have some homework to do. Find companies and roles that interest you, then determine what skills you need to gain before you can take on that position. Apply that information to your search or articulate your newfound goals to a counselor who can help you find an internship that will best leverage your current skills and education to take that next step.

Take Advantage Your Campus Resources

LSU’s Olinde Career Center is home to a team of career counselors dedicated to helping you turn your career dreams into a reality. For each step of the internship process, the career center offers resources to you (for free!) to smoothly guide you. The center’s services include counselors with focuses in: career-decision making, experiential education and job search. So no matter how far into the internship process you are, someone at the center can provide help.

Start by scheduling an appointment with a counselor. The counselor will assess your goals, prior experience, and current application materials (resume, cover letter, etc.) to figure out the next step for you. The career center will continue guiding you through all subsequent steps, including resume building, interview practice, locating internships, and more.

###pCareers2Geaux. The site is filled with job postings, information on networking events and more. After determining your goals, browse the postings to see if any places or roles stand out to you. Create a list of the experiences that interest you, then make an appointment at the career center to figure out your next step.  

Embrace Your Uniqueness

Not all internships are the same -- and neither are all interns. So don’t try to force yourself into a cookie-cutter mold of what you think an intern “should” be as you apply and interview for jobs.

Independence and uniqueness are valuable in interns, says Terena Bell, CEO/Cofounder of TVRunway, a startup that is integrating TV watching and on-the-spot shopping to create a new online experience.

She hires tech interns to help code and she expects them to contribute right away, be independent and be ready to learn. “Lots of people can and want to write code,” but she’s looking for more than that, she says.

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