When I was in college I did an internship with a big company (IBM; working on submarine sonar systems) and learned amazing things (including that I didn’t want to work for IBM <g>). I also did a short internship for a professor writing Fast Fourier Transforms in FORTRAN.
In addition to running my own little software company that I had started in high school, these internships were hugely valuable to me later in my career. I think a college (even high school!) student would be nuts to not do at least two or three internships. You get real experience doing real work, you get something to put on your resume, and you start to establish your all-important network.
No matter what you do, get a good summer internship.
But what kind of internship should you get? I think this article by Alexey does a nice job of laying out your choices. He says:
As such: here’s everything you ever wanted to know about tech internships, plus some bloviating about my experience. The TL;DR is, try to have at least two internships: one at a small start-up and one at a tech company.
I am looking for at least two interns for the Summer of 2012. I’m looking for both developers and designers.
Here’s a job description for the developer intern. The designer position is similar.
Do you love to code? Are you looking for a well-defined, time-boxed project in the real world that will make your resume pop when you graduate? Join the Bogus Labs team in building an innovative service that will revolutionize how small businesses track their expenses. Along the way you’ll get mentorship and guidance from a highly respected former Microsoft executive and entrepreneur. If you deliver you’ll get access to his ginormous network in the Seattle and Bay Area. Plus, it will be a lot of fun.
A well-known former Microsoft vet (21 years), Charlie Kindel, has an exciting idea for a business. He is looking for a computer science intern to help with the design and development of the initial version of the product. He could pay some contract developer to do the work, but that wouldn’t be any fun. He’d much rather create a win-win situation by helping a college student learn what it really takes to build great products.
This will be a paid internship lasting 6-8 weeks (negotiable).
- Candidate must love writing software. If you don’t yet know if you LOVE actually writing code then this is not for you
- 2+ years of formal computer science education (e.g. you need to be a junior or greater)
- Experience building websites using ASP.NET/C# or Ruby (Rails, Sinatra, etc…) required.
- Some experience with databases required.
- Experience coding HMTL (jQuery/CSS) will be helpful.
- Candidate must be local to the Seattle area for the majority of the project.
The project is a web application for helping small business and self-employed individuals save huge amounts of money. A teaser for the product (which is already in development, but not yet in testing) can be found at www.milelogr.com.
The backend is being built in ASP.NET MVC3 and the front end is HTML/CSS/jQuery. We expect to build mobile apps as well.
What you actually work on will depend on when you actually start. It could be anything from creating the first real version of the web UI to an iPhone, Android, or WP7 application front end.
Charlie Kindel is the founder and CTO of a stealth startup in the Seattle area. Prior to August 2011, Mr. Kindel served as General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Experience at Microsoft. In this role, Mr. Kindel drove the cross-Microsoft effort to create a world-class developer experience for Windows Phone 7 and by building and running the engineering team that shipped the application platform. During his 21 year tenure at MSFT, Charlie repeatedly drove innovative and successful Microsoft technologies and products including ActiveX, Internet Explorer, Windows Home Networking, Windows Media Center, Windows Home Server, and Windows Phone 7 by leading organizations to balance business, user experience, and technology investments. Mr. Kindel specializes in developer platforms, consumer products, building platform ecosystems and communities, incubation and startup projects & products, and cross-organization and company collaboration.
What you’ll Learn
If things go well, you should expect to learn the following during this internship. These are all things that will be of immeasurable value to you in your career.
- How to build world-class software by focusing on the customer first.
- Archetype/Persona and scenario development.
- Writing great specifications.
- Balancing “pure” technical architecture with pragmatism.
- Tools & techniques for focusing on the right things.
- Business modeling (or “Ideas are a dime a dozen, executing on an idea is harder, but getting people to pay for things is the real trick.”).
- And, of course, world-class software development skills.
Send an email to Charlie Kindel at email@example.com with your resume and portfolio of coding projects you’ve worked on. Describe why you are the right person for this internship.