Internships

– seeking value and direction

Internships are something that I have started to see as achievements you need to complete throughout college to be prepared to apply for a real industry job once finishing college. Most job postings that I have come across when browsing different job listings either on job search portals or directly on the company’s websites required job experience. Oftentimes 2–3 years experience is the minimum you will find when looking for a desired software engineering job. As students we are not required by anyone to complete internships and therefor many students complete college with it.

In the peer reviewed article titled “Undergraduate Business Internships and Career Success: Are They Related” J. Gault and his peers look at how internships affect the success of students that participate in them when it comes to working as a professional. They conclude in their study that internships are a vital part in bridging the gap between students and professionals. Internships exist for that exact reason to bridge the gap between schooling and being apart of the workforce in the industry.

I personally have done two internships, both of them prior to starting my college career of becoming a computer science major. I strongly believe that these experiences have directly affect my success in college because of the fact that I have been very focused on my degree and because of the fact that I have a very clear vision of what I am doing and what I want to achieve. I have many peers who going into college have struggled with deciding on a major that they want to pursue.

My first internship was after my junior year of high school at a business consulting firm where I was working with the department business information systems. I learned so much about office work and company culture but additionally I learned that I will want to study computer science and I have never been so driven to follow my dreams since then.

The second internship I did was with a small start-up that was working on creating a mobile applications focused on high school students. Being part of this environment has taught me so many invaluable lessons about working in a team, seeing the software engineering lifecycle first hand and most of all refining my vision of what I want to get out of my 4 years at an institution of higher learning.

An article by M. Stone in Business Insider takes a closer look at what it means to be part of the interns that work at Space X and what it took from them to get there as well as what they gained from their experiences. All of the interns that were interviewed felt that they were treated like professionals, expected to work hard and efficiently and most importantly that the work they were doing was very meaningful and fulfilling.

This summer I will be interning with the German Aerospace Center in the department of Space Operations and Astronaut Training as a software engineering intern. I applied for this internship because I am motivate to learn more about the potential jobs that I could be applying for after graduation two years from now. I am not as worried about getting paid, although I do believe that I should be compensated for the work that I do as it gives more meaning to the intern as well as the intern mentor because it raises the stakes. I want to be challenge to succeed and create a meaningful part of a larger software engineering project.

One of the most influential aspect of all the internships I have participated in are the people that you get to meet during your time there. Most of them are eager to share their knowledge of how to better yourself as a software engineer as well as an industry professional.

Sources:

Gault, J., Redington, J., & Schlager, T. (2000). Undergraduate Business Internships and Career Success: Are They Related? Journal of Marketing Education, 22(1), 45–53. doi:10.1177/0273475300221006

Stone, M. (2015). The exciting and grueling life of a SpaceX intern, where you meet Elon Musk and ‘work whatever 80 hours a week you want’ Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/life-on-rocket-road-what-its-like-to-intern-at-spacex-2015-6