To ensure you're internship delivers maximum value to you, I'd recommend exploring as many industries and job categories as possible. By identifying your passions you can then set your sights on an internship that aligns well with your future career goals.
With your motivation, the future looks bright for you. I wish you much success in your studies and future career choice.
Jeff recommends the following next steps:
It is never early enough!
If you can find a part time job or workshop in your area of expertise in HS in the industry you are interested in, Take It! Examples:
- AT&T offered an online summer learning academy. If you were in Comp Sci this would look good on a resume.
- San Francisco School of Design offers summer classes for Jr. HS and HS students. This would look good on a resume for an artist.
If you are comfortable with the instructors, ask them career questions, see what other opportunities there are at the institution you are taking classes with. It never hurts to ask.
Most college students wait until Jr. or Sr. summer to find an internship. But finding a job after college in your field may be competitive. It's always a good idea to start networking early to others in the industry which you are interested early.
Most colleges have a department for job and internships being offered. You can also ask your professors as early as Freshman year if they have any projects over winter or summer break that they need a student to help with. Or ask the office of dean in your degree department. Do not be shy, just schedule an appointment and ask if they are aware of any opportunities. If the department is funding an activity, the dean is sure to know.
Example: My nephew is a sophomore and majoring in Bio Chem, he is working in the lab assisting with a study being done with his university. It is unpaid, but the outcome of the study will be published. He found this through the Chemistry dept at his college being run by one of the professors. He would not have known about it unless he asked.
Frances recommends the following next steps:
Some are formal programs that plan and fill spots up to a year in advance. Most larger companies have information on their websites about their internship programs, timeline, and application process. Some are paid, some are not. The larger ones for certain roles will even provide a stipend for housing.
Others can be created if you know the right people. If your parents or teachers or other adults have friends at companies that interest you, ask them to gather information or introduce you to the right people to learn more about internship opportunities. My nephew wants to work in aerospace so he reached out to his parent's friends to see if Ball or Lockheed had programs and he ended up at another aerospace company, where they created a paid internship role for the summer.
There are significant benefits of knowing people and using that network - it's an important skill to learn if you want to be intentional and proactive about your career path.
There are varied benefits of joining each kind of program. In a class/cohort you get to spend the summer with other interns. But you might have a more individualized, unique experience if a role is created for you. There is no right way to do it, each opportunity is a learning experience and you should try different ones to figure out what works better for you. Often, if you have many different kinds of experiences, you learn faster and more, than if you go back to the same program over and over.
But I agree with everyone else here that you can look for an internship at any point during high school, at university, and beyond.