As the importance of technology continues to increase, the demand for software engineers grows. Transitioning to a career in software development comes with a lot of benefits, such as full-time employment at large tech companies, earning a lucrative income, and job security.
However, for people looking to transition into a tech career, there is one obstacle they must overcome, which is experience. Today, companies want more than a degree when they look at potential employees. Now, more than ever, it is important that you can demonstrate your ability to work in these environments and produce results.
With such a strong emphasis on experience, now is one of the best times to start your software engineering internship.
Software Engineering Internship Benefits
The question is, how can you become an intern if you are new to software engineering? Do you have the knowledge to begin even if you are new to the field? Where can you find an internship while you’re studying? Below, we will answer all of those questions and more.
Aiding Your Job Search
One of the greatest benefits of an internship is that it helps you when searching for a job. Employers love knowing that you can get right to work without having to go through extensive onboarding. Having experience working as a software engineer, even as an intern, gives you an advantage over other prospects.
Software engineers have the difficult task of designing, creating, and maintaining software systems. The position requires knowledge, adaptability, and experience to make sure that everything runs smoothly. When employers see that you’ve already acquired these skills, whether in the business you’re applying for or at a different company, they know you are a reliable asset and are much more likely to hire you.
Gaining Knowledge and Experience
When you work as a software engineering intern, your task won’t be getting your boss coffee. You will receive work experience with a legitimate company. Programming and maintaining software systems is a complex task and odds are you will see every aspect of the job throughout your internship.
Schools and bootcamps are great ways for you to learn how to program, create software systems, and much more, but only on the job will you learn the ins and outs of your position. Education is only the first step towards becoming a great software engineer, but the experience is where you will truly learn how to work in a professional environment.
Early on, when seeking employment, some experience is vital as it instantly increases your chances of being employed. As a software engineering intern, you learn exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.
When interviewing with a company, you can demonstrate your knowledge, tell them about your experiences and show them that you are already capable of handling the job, which instantly helps you stand out from the other qualified applicants.
Creating Connections Through Networking
Another significant benefit of working as a software engineering intern is the connections you make with other people. These connections can advance your career and further increase your chances of finding employment after your internship is over.
It’s not just a matter of having more contacts, networking is key to finding success in any industry. Even if you don’t continue working at the company you intern with, you can still build up your reputation and earn recommendations and reliable references from your more experienced peers.
Networking isn’t just about you gaining recommendations. Creating relationships with your bosses and other workers allow you to learn more about the industry. Being an intern puts you in an excellent position to learn from others.
You have a front-row seat to see how the industry works. Not only will you see what software engineers do in their daily life, but you also see how other aspects of work is done and how the business works overall.
Communicating with others, learning from them, and demonstrating you’re reliable as an employee are all aspects of networking and creating connections. It’s a significant aspect of being an intern and towards starting your new career in tech.
Finding Success as an Intern
When you’re working as a software engineering intern, you have a hard job ahead of you. You could be working for months or even years with several people that have veteran status in the industry and it is important to take advantage of every opportunity available to you in order to make the most of your experience.
From finding a mentor to making sure that you learn as much as you can while you’re on the job, internships aren’t just a means for you to add work experience to your resume. Incorporating the following is a great way to transform your software engineering internship into an experience truly beneficial to your future in the industry.
Find a Mentor
Software engineering is complex and it requires several years of knowledge and experience to effectively work in the position. A mentor can help you learn the ins and outs of the job and fast track you towards things you may not have learned in school or even when working an entry-level position.
The greatest benefit of finding a mentor is that they don’t necessarily have to work the same position as you. Your mentor could be a tech lead, a fellow software engineer, programmer, or someone else. Even if their title is different from yours, their knowledge and years in the industry can help you avoid making crucial mistakes and aid you in discovering what you should focus on.
Another important part of having a mentor is that they will make integrating into the company an easier process. You will spend less time getting to know others and finding your place and you will spend more time doing work that is meaningful and demonstrates your skills as a software engineer.
Mentors give you the means to have your questions asked and you have someone who can guide you in the right direction. When given the opportunity, take advantage of having a mentor and it will significantly enhance your internship experience.
Ask for Feedback
Working as a software engineering intern puts you in the unique position of doing meaningful work while still being able to answer questions. When you’re on the job, you’re tasked with coding, problem-solving assignments, creating better user experiences, and so much more. However, as an intern, it is established that you’re still learning.
This is the perfect time to ask questions, get feedback and find out what your strengths and weaknesses are as an engineer. Some new interns may be concerned with asking too many questions when they are new to the position, but it is important to learn the ropes before you get started on something and avoid making any crucial errors.
Receiving feedback is one thing, but acting on it is what really sets you apart from other interns and potential employees. When you take into account the feedback you receive, you demonstrate to your employers that you can listen well and act on the advice you receive.
Make a List of What You Accomplish
Making a list of your accomplishments helps in a variety of ways. Your list shows your level of productivity in the company and you can demonstrate how much work you’ve done while working at your internship. This list is great for your manager or others who may have an influence on hiring you as a fulltime employee. This could also be impressive to the people who may be a reference when you’re applying to another position.
As a software engineering intern, you may come across several moments where people will check up on you. Having a list of what you’ve done and what you’re currently working on shows that you are dedicated to the position and that you are diligently working, even when others aren’t watching you.
During job interviews, this list also demonstrates your work experience. It’s one thing to tell your potential employer that you’ve worked as a software engineering intern, but it is another thing entirely to tell them exactly what you worked on, how you did it, and the impact it had on the company.
Finding Internships and Getting Started
Software engineering is a great career opportunity for those that love programming and working on complex systems. There is a strong demand for software engineers of all types and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that, by 2028, the employment of software engineers is expected to grow by 21 percent.
If you’re interested in finding an internship to help jumpstart your career in software engineering, the first thing you should do is see if your school has any available. Most places of learning offer some sort of internship program or work closely with nearby businesses so students can have on-the-job training.
Before choosing a school or coding bootcamp to join, see if they have any internship opportunities available or if you can find one through them. You can also search for internships online.
If there is a company you’d like to work for, check out their career section and see if they are currently looking for interns. Various websites, such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Internships.com, always have opportunities listed and are great places for you to begin your search.