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Your Guide to Computer Science Internships

Updated: July 19, 2022 | Published: July 29, 2019

Updated: July 19, 2022

Published: July 29, 2019


Computer science is an increasingly popular major as every industry relies on computer expertise to keep communication and processes flowing smoothly within all types of businesses and government agencies. As a student or recent graduate in the field of computer science, a computer science internship introduces you to the working world of the discipline.

While some may believe that an internship is less necessary for a career as a programmer and is more important for those entering research, all experience will surely help you along your career in computer science and be beneficial on your resume.

Source: Unsplash

What is an Internship?

An internship is work granted to a student or recent graduate in their field of study to offer exposure to the working environment. Internships offer valuable experience to acquire new skill sets and understand the dynamic of the field you’ll be entering for your career.

Why Get a Computer Science Internship?

While a computer science major will offer a lot of theoretical and academic knowledge in the field, an internship gives you hand-on experience and actional practical understanding to apply in real-world situations.

Not only do internships help to sharpen your tool set, but they also signal to future employers that you are ambitious and care about your career. It shows that you have what it takes to make it in the field and that what you studied can truly become your way of life.

Source: Unsplash

Types of Computer Science Internships

Since computer science is a broad field, there are many different types of computer science internships available. Some of the most common kinds include:

1. Front-End Engineering Intern:

In this internship, you will learn how to develop the front-end, or user-facing, side of a website or application. You will write code in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and learn how to test and debug what you create.

2. Back-End Engineering Intern:

Like a front-end developer, back-end engineers will write code, but it is more likely to be Ruby, Python and Java. Back-end interns will work on using data to power a website or application and also help to code, debug, and test these products.

3. Full Stack Software Engineering Intern:

Bringing the two aforementioned together, full stack engineers build both the front and back end of a website or application. As an intern, you’ll learn how to optimize technological procedures to create the efficient digital products that serve the end user and the business.

4. Mobile Engineering Intern:

Whether developing for Android or iOS, an internship as a mobile engineer will teach you how to use code to develop user-facing applications for mobile use.

5. Product Management Intern:

Product management interns get to serve as the liaison between designers, marketing teams and developers. They devise strategies, execution roadmaps and quality assure products are developed properly for clients.

6. Data Scientist Intern:

Data scientists leverage data and information to develop statistical models and customer profiles. They help to understand consumer behavior to assist in designing better products and create solutions.

Responsibilities in a Computer Science Internship

Like all internships, a computer science internship has its fair share of responsibilities. Internships should be treated exactly like a full-time paid position, because in essence, you are there to serve a role and function. Depending on the job, your responsibilities will vary, but they are likely to include:

  • Onsite support and coordination
  • Development and deployment of computer software systems
  • Testing and debugging software and systems

As in any job, it’s important to be on time and show up with a positive and problem-solving attitude.

How to get a Computer Science Internship

Computer science is a highly competitive field. It requires perseverance and persistence in the application process to land an internship position.

So, where should you begin to look?

Here’s a list of some resources to help you find an internship in computer science:

You can also get in touch with your school’s academic advising and career planning offices, or even attend job fairs. Another option is to use your current network to reach out for potential opportunities.

Lastly, if there’s a specific company you want to work for, check out their website to see if they hire interns. Whether or not they have it listed on the job board, you can draft a cold email that is highly tailored to the business and recipient to introduce yourself and the skills you can bring to the table, and explain why you want to be an intern specifically in that company.

When to Look

Many companies will want you to have completed basic computer science training before coming on board as an intern. It’s useful to finish your first set of coursework, or freshman year, and then include such coursework on your resume upon applying for your first internship in the field.

What You Need

You should at least be pursuing your Computer Science Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree when applying. A good and flexible option to earn your degree is at University of the People. The completely online institution is tuition-free and accredited. The program is designed towards employability upon completion through its robust curriculum that is made by professionals and top-notch professors in academia around the world.

An Associate’s degree at UoPeople costs roughly $2,060 (made up from an application fee and course assessment fees), whereas a Bachelor’s degree runs about $4,060. On average, students should prepare to dedicate 15-20 hours a week per course to studying.

For more information on the way students learn, the length of the program and the coursework, be sure to click the link above or read more here.

Pre-Internship Preparation

Before applying for your internship, be sure you have some items ready, including a resume (or CV), a portfolio of projects you’ve completed and any research you’ve done (or maybe even published).

Interview Preparation

After submitting applications with a tailored cover letter and your necessary documentation, you may either have a phone interview or in-person interview.

For an in-person interview, be sure to show up offering your best first impression, which includes dressing accordingly and professionally and paying close attention to your verbal and non-verbal communication. Your body language can sometimes say more than your words, so be sure to sit up straight, make eye contact, perform active listening and take your time to answer questions by being articulate and confident in your responses.

Post-Interview Steps

While many people may have interviews, not all remember to send the very important thank you and follow-up email. This could be a gamechanger in setting you apart. After your interview, be sure to email the interviewers to thank them for their time, highlight something interesting and memorable from the conversation, and in a few words, reiterate why you believe you would be a great fit for their company’s internship position.

Career Opportunities in Computer Science

Computer science is a broad, growing, dynamic, challenging and satisfying field. It offers a wide array of job opportunities, so starting early with an internship allows for you to get your foot in the door and begin expanding your work experience.

Some of the most sought-after careers in the field include:

  • Software Developer
  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Computer Network Architect
  • Computer Network Analyst
  • Information Systems Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Project Manager
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager

Your Internship Awaits

Whether or not you’re entirely sure of what you want to do within the field of computer science, trying your hand at internships allows you a way to narrow down what you like and dislike before having to enter the job market.

While you earn your degree, especially if it’s online at universities like University of the People, or a part-time program, the flexibility allows you to take part in an internship while you continue learning. Upon graduation, you will have an internship on your resume and experience under your belt to contribute to your first and following jobs in the field!