Internships allow students to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. They turn theory into practice while also giving students exposure to the types of workplaces they will have to navigate throughout their careers. A tech internship can be the a great differentiator once you start looking for a permanent job.
Why you should attend a tech internship
Studies have found that students who take on internships have an easier time getting hired. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 57.5 percent of students who had an internship during college received a job offer compared to 43.7 percent of students who did not. (Study available at NACEweb.org)
There are multiple reasons to consider a technology internship as you enter your final years at college. Even if you have graduated, you may benefit from working as an intern for a few months before stepping into a full-time role. Here are four reasons why a tech internship will pay off.
1. Interns transition from classroom assignments to real-world projects
One of the main benefits of working as an intern is that students gain access to real-world experiences outside of the classroom. Depending on your field of study, you might not have worked directly on many projects or project simulations that you will experience in the workplace.
Group work and team assignments can prepare students for navigating coworker relationships. However, internships give students first-hand experience in the workplace. As Matthew T. Hora, co-director, Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says:
“From my perspective, the most valuable part of an internship is a novice being introduced to a new world of work and the professions, where a skilled mentor can introduce them to the unique cultures and tasks of being a professional engineer, architect or project lead.“
Even a part-time internship for a few hours each week can prepare students for what’s to come. They will so understand the types of office policies and operations structures they will face when they are hired full-time.
2. Quality internships offer dedicated programs for students
Most people think intern tasks involve coffee runs and endless menial tasks. However, more companies are developing high-quality intern programs to develop talent and expose students to different aspects of the company.
A high-quality tech internship will focus on supporting students, rather than using them for cheap labor. Their programs will feature a variety of activities:
- Tours of different departments
- Days to shadow executives
- Intern projects to let them simulate more advanced work
At 4PSA, we have been running our Cool Summer Internship every summer for the past 15 years. Our interns get their hands on real software products from the first week of their tech internship. And they don’t stop learning and having fun during the whole summer 🙂
Tech internships develop hard and soft skills
There are two types of skills that employers look for when hiring employees: hard skills and soft skills. You can develop both during your tech internship.
Hard skills are the technical know-how that comes with doing a job. These include knowing certain programming languages, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and debugging your own code.
Soft skills are harder to teach, like clear communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence. Soft skills are exceptionally important, as 92 percent of hiring managers say they look at soft skills just as much (if not more) than hard skills.
Internships can teach you both hard and soft skills. For example, you can learn how to use modern technology, while also getting experience with communication, critical thinking and problem-solving.
You can confirm that you chose the right career path
Some students feel immense pressure during their college years to choose a career path and stick to it. However, entering the workforce after college means you haven’t had a chance to truly experience most industries. Therefore, you might not truly know what you want to do with your degree.
By opting for a tech internship, you can learn whether your chosen major and desired career path is the right fit for your goals. Some students start interning in one department, only to realize they are more interested and challenged by the work in another.
“If you change your mind during or after the internship, you can save yourself months — or even years — of working in an industry that doesn’t suit you,” suggests the team at Joblist. You have your whole career ahead of you. Use your internship to test the water of a particular job before you commit to it full-time.
Internships pave the way for career success
As you start your search for tech internships, learn about the different programs offered by companies and specific opportunities that you can take advantage of to prepare yourself for the workforce.
There are many benefits for students who decide to seek out tech internships. Along with gaining hands-on work experience, you can learn about the roles that are available and what you actually enjoy doing. This can confirm that you are in fact entering the right career for you or that you want to make a slight shift and apply to different jobs.
Regardless of whether you’re still a student or a recent graduate, consider spending some time interning to gain insight and experience for your full-time job search.
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