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What are the best types of internships to take to become a computer scientist?

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Jennifer’s Answer


Hi Vilma,

I am not a computer scientist (so I am sure someone else can answer this better than I can) but my husband is one so I know what internships he did. He interned 3 times during his college career. Here is a brief description of the types of positions he help and projects he worked on during his time there:

  1. His first internship was for the technology branch of a big trucking company. He worked in the labs working to setup laptops and desktops for other employees. He did not use many of his technical skills in this job, but he gained important experience in a corporate workplace environment and also made network connections that helped him to find later internship positions.
  2. His second internship was with the same company but this time he worked on a more technical project. He worked with the Sales side of the house on an application for pricing. The Sales team worked with potential customers to provide them with a quote based on certain parameters like trucking distance, trucking weight, etc. The application he worked on was aiming to create a tool that the Sales representatives could use to make their job easier and reduce the amount of time a customer has to wait for a custom quote. This internship was more technical (he did a lot of coding) and it also helped him gain some 'real-world' experience working with cross functional teams.
  3. His third internship was with a different company (also a technology company). He worked with a team that designed and produced an application for internal use. In this internship he learned a new programming language, gained experience with the Agile method, and worked with web development.

In summary, there are many different types of internships you can have in any major. The most important part of an internship is what YOU will takeaway from the experience. My advice to you would be to look for internships that have you work on something you are passionate about, allow you to make a valuable impact to the company, AND challenges you to learn something new. My second piece of advice is network, network, network!! The more people you get to know during your internships, the more doors you open for the future.

I would also say that there are no 'bad' or 'wrong' types of internships. Internships are meant to be a real world, workplace trial. Internships can help you determine what you like to do AND what you do not like to do.

I hope this helps!

Gus’s Answer


Vilma, this is a great question! I'll give you the same advice I was given when I was preparing to graduate from college and begin my career as a Computer Scientist. You should look for internships at larger companies, especially larger tech companies. This has two advantages:

  1. Larger companies have a wider variety of opportunities, so you can try different things
  2. A larger company will have a greater chance to hire you after your internship, as they hire more people in general.

As a counter-point, engineers at smaller companies tend to be generalists. So if that is what you're looking for, that is something to consider