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What exactly happens in an internship?

I'm a sophomore student athlete interested in information technology.
#technology #career #internship

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7 answers

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Tony’s Answer

Hi Zach! Good question, and there is not a single answer. Broadly speaking, internships tend to be company specific and even department specific, so there is no simple answer. In general internships are used to augment the company's team and resources, and to get a sense of the student who is participating in the internship. The company is looking carefully at your commitment to the job, department and company, your work ethic, how you interact with others, and if you take the initiative to get things done that appear to you to need to be addresses. Are you team mate or a nuisance? Do you take the lead or do you wait for others to tell you what to do? When we get physical again, they will be looking at how you present yourself, and are you an energy adder or do you suck energy out of people and groups? Also, it is an awesome chance for you to build your network and find advocates that can help you. I hope that you find this helpful, but rest assured that internships are an incredible way to start or build your network, get a sense of the vibe of the organization/department/team, and see if what you envision your career to be a good fit for you or not.

My best wishes to you and your future!


Great answer Tony. All good information. I've had past interns reach back out and ask for help with references or referral letters when applying for future jobs. It really is a great way to grow your network and make the most of the valuable connections you can make. Melisa Cameron

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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Zach,

Yeah, as Tony states, it really depends on the company and the candidate.

I can tell you at VMware, we try to give each student a meaningful project to complete during internships. Managers who are interested in interns submit a headcount request in the fall of the previous year before the internship. Then, in the winter, intern candidates are usually found and during this process are told of the project that they'd be working on. However, not all managers/situations are the same, so I've heard about situations where a manager will put aside a project to be completed by an intern, but due to various reasons, the intern will be given a different (but usually similar) project during their internship.

Internships are a great way for companies to find and evaluate talented students coming out of colleges. In turn, it's a great way for students to learn what working in "the real world" is like, and can help guide the student towards a job after graduation, or perhaps towards more education (masters, phd, etc).

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you get an internship for the next year. :)


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Chaitanya’s Answer

Hi Zach!

The key to a successful internship is fit and growth. There are a wide variety of internship roles in tech and each experience is likely to vary dependent on the role, size of company, size of internship class, the team you are placed on, etc. For example, a Series A startup with 2 interns vs a Series C startup with 20 interns vs an established 10,000 employee company with over a 100 interns will offer entirely different experiences due to a difference in structure, opportunities, mentorship, intern events, and more. Internship experiences aren't necessarily formulaic and replicated across the board at all companies -- and that's a good thing, otherwise it wouldn't matter where you intern and the experience wouldn't set you apart from others in your field.

The more important question is for you to identify what you are looking for in an internship such as how you want to grow, what your interests are, does the company's mission and values align with yours, do you see yourself growing, does the work you do inspire you? If you know the answer to these questions, or try asking yourself these questions when looking at your internship, you're taking the first step to setting yourself up for a successful internship.

Ultimately, regardless of the internship, you'll be assigned internship project(s). The questions above will help you work on/explore areas of your interest. Your goal should be to absorb as much information as possible, communicate frequently and effectively with your mentor and team whether it be successes or struggles, and try to complete the project(s) by the end of your internship. An important skill is to scope your project(s) ahead of time with your team to plan a feasible path to completion. By the end of your internship, you'll have grown tremendously, added value to yourself and the team, built valuable connections, and hopefully scored a return offer!

Good luck!

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Catherine’s Answer

Hi Zach,

You have some great answers from Tony and Dexter to give you an idea of what an internship will entail. The one thing I will add from the student athlete perspective is that you will see a lot of the 'soft' skills you've developed in athletics will translate into the workforce. You've learned how to work with a group of people to reach a common goal. You know that different teammates need different forms of motivation or communication - same will go for your coworkers. You know how to express your goals and address your concerns with a superior (coaches vs. bosses). And you've learned how to hold yourself accountable to expectations and put in the work needed to succeed.

Using your internship to make those connections between your experience as an athlete and the current challenges and tasks as an intern will prepare you well for your full time interviews and career!

Another thing I would recommend is to talk with your coach about your interest in interning. Having the conversation up front will make it easier to talk about modifying any offseason workouts or obligations you have so that you can meet potential internship schedules.

Best of luck!

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Melisa’s Answer

Hi Zach,

Great question. As Tony and others have already shared, there really isn’t just one answer to your question. The answer can vary greatly by industry, internship opportunity and company.

Our department had the opportunity to work with an intern on our team this summer and she completed her work virtually by taking on project assignments from members of our team who worked with her on an assignment and deliverables.

It takes a lot of people to achieve success and reach our company goals. Internships and development programs can help individuals at AT&T develop their own skills while also supporting our customers, wherever they live and work.

If you want to learn more about internships at AT&T that are focused on technology and entertainment, check out the website at the link below.

You’ll also find videos and career resources here.

Best wishes to you for success in your educational and career goals.

#technology #career #internship

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Check out http://att.jobs/students
Learn more about campus events and on-demand video resources here https://www.att.jobs/campus-events

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Trevor’s Answer

Hi Zach,

It's great to hear that you are interested in learning more about internships in the information technology industry!

The exact format of an internship varies by company and team. I had a wonderful experience at Salesforce last summer :)

My engineering team helped me learn about the technologies I needed to understand to be successful in my internship. I learned about open source software for data storage: Postgres, Spark, Hive, HBase, HDFS and more.

The recruiting team organized events throughout the summer and encouraged the interns to meet each other and build our network. We went on a cruise to Angel Island, explored the city, and attended lunch and learns featuring company leadership.

I recommend researching companies you are interested in, finding event by that company to attend, ask questions and apply online. Once you have your applications sent out it's time to start practicing for interviews! Grab a friend or two and practice by asking coding interview questions (found online). Finally, be yourself in the interview and internship. You'll do great!

Hope this helps!

Trevor recommends the following next steps:

Make a list of companies you are interested in.
Set goals for number of applications to submit each week (specify day and time).
Practice for interviews with a friend.

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Andrew’s Answer

An internship CAN be a great opportunity to learn and open doors for full-time positions. However, internships are not created equal. It's important to ask questions about the day-to-day responsibilities. Not clear on what the tasks and duties are? Ask to speak with a past intern. I've had internships in the past where I was put at a desk and forgotten about. I've also worked at companies that have created thoughtful internship experiences where the participants learn a great deal about the company, industry, products, people, customers and culture. Explore your options and weigh them against your post-graduation career goals to make the best decision.