Top Secrets to Landing the Best Software Developer Internship

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One of today’s most promising careers, software developer and computer science professionals influence the development of a wide range of software and the way people interact with technology. Starting an internship early in your academic career will only help in the long run. Not only will you gain professional experience for your resume, but you will have the chance to identify your goals and strengths, and to narrow the focus of your future job search.


Luckily, for those just starting out, we’ve compiled this list of secrets to landing the best software developer internship!



Top Secrets to Landing a Great Software Developer Internship


1. Declutter Your Resume


If you feel you are lacking experience, try to avoid writing an overly-cluttered resume only for the appearance of professionalism. Keep the resume short — as long as you can explain what you learned or gained from each past experience, employers will have no reason not to hire you!


Tip: Keep your resume to no more than one page. While it may be tempting to include all past experiences to show variation or diversity, potential employers want to understand quickly and concisely why you are the most qualified for the role.



2. Practice


Understand what is expected of you and practice before the interview. This should include both marketable skills related to the role as well as prepared answers to those tough interview questions.


Your internship may even lead to your first employment opportunity, so make sure to prepare for your interview by spending some time researching the company’s profile and understanding its impact on the world. You should be prepared to answer questions about your interest in the role, your qualifications in line with the organization’s standards, and, most importantly, why you are the candidate they should hire.



3. Study


Learn new skills to keep a competitive edge in your subject of interest. Especially within the field of software development, having the knowledge of many different languages will make you more valuable to your next employer.


Try learning some programming languages in your spare time! PHP and JavaScript are great options for students interested in web development. For those just starting out, Python is well-known as one of the easiest programming languages for beginners, and Ruby is similarly simple and easy to read.



4. Work on Your People Skills


Software developers often find themselves working in teams, both academically on student projects as well as professionally on company-led initiatives. It is never too early to start learning how you react to other personalities and to understand the conditions best suited to your own.



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Even if you aren’t totally convinced software development is the right career for you, an internship will help answer those questions, guiding you towards a fulfilling and impactful career in the technology sector. Interning as a student will teach you early on about common specializations and, most importantly, will help you see how you fit into those most interesting to you.



Common Specializations in Software Development


1. Front-end Developer


Front-end developers study the interaction between humans and machines, even more than the theory of computer science. Visual presentation is often their focus on a project, influencing the design principles and procedures of a product. Front-end developers typically offer skills involving user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), as well as knowledge of CSS, JavaScript, HTML, among other languages.



2. Back-end Developer


Specializing in the design and functional implementation of a software, back-end developers use a quantitative approach and core logic to monitor how a system is operating. Because the back-end of a product can grow into a very complex system, developers work to keep it invisible from users. Java, C+, C++, and Ruby are some commonly used programming languages, as well as knowledge of databases, storage systems, and caching systems.



3. Full-stack Developer


As a technology expert who understands both the front-end and the back-end of an application, full-stack developers often understand technology through the 3-tier model: the presentation layer, the business logic layer, and the database layer. Although these developers may not be expected to master each level, they are expected to work on the client-facing side and understand the functionality of the application.



4. Middle-tier Developer


This type of programmer writes non-UI code, otherwise referred to as the “plumbing” of the system. The term middle-tier is often affiliated with a broad set of skills, rather than a set career path. Those who are not specialized in either front- or back-end development (but can do a bit of both) might enjoy a broader focus on the non-core code.



5. Web Developer


Web development has been very popular in the software development field for several decades. Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is typically required, and entry-level web developers can typically create code and build websites with just a few months of experience!



6. Desktop Developer


Similar to web developers, these professionals write the software applications which operate natively on desktop systems. For many years, desktop developers were the most common type of engineers. Today, they rely on toolkits such as Cocoa, XAML, and WinForms, and a passion for design and human-computer interaction.



7. Mobile Developer


Mobile developers typically work with operating systems such as iOS and Android, and use knowledge of Java, Swift, Objective-C, etc., to write code for applications to run on consumer devices. One of the most recently popularized professions, mobile development has been growing increasingly common since the early 2000s.



8. Graphics Developer


Like those with a focus on UI and UX, graphics developers often work in the gaming industry, using a quantitative approach to the development of complex images. As the profession grows more common to young professionals, its requirements of access become more strict as well. Because of this competition, students are required to have a great deal of advanced mathematic and computer science training.



9. Game Developer


With specific knowledge of the design and implementation of interactive gaming experiences, game developers use various frameworks like DirectX, OpenGL, Unity 3D, and WebGL, and languages like C, C++, and Java, in the creation of gaming platforms. Although Adobe Flash was once the standard of web games, today, JavaScript and HTML5 have become the new standards.



10. Data Scientist


Data scientists are often in charge of the statistical analysis of different software programs. Skills such as programming, statistics, machine learning, data visualization, and software engineering, are all combined in this role, with a central focus on the ability to efficiently analyze large sets of complex data.



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The Secrets to Developing your Career

It is noted that the first step towards landing a job in software engineering is to visualize your dream job. When searching for an internship, you should follow the same rule, making lists of your goals and accomplishments, even before you start sending applications. You might also consider joining a hackathon or a meetup to build relationships in your industry!


For those already applying for jobs or internships, make sure to carefully read the job description, even more than once if necessary. Not only will you have a clear picture of what is expected of you in the role, but you may also find information crucial to the hiring process, like what to include in the email attachments or the subject line of the message.


In the field of software development, personally-branded projects can be just as important as your academic background and technical skill. Building your own functional code or software is definitely one way you can give yourself a competitive edge. Employers want to see your drive and innovation! Showing them a finished result that you can take pride in will boost their confidence in your proven work ethic, making you a much more attractive candidate.



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Making your Mark as a Software Developer

Remember that there are many different paths available to students of software engineering. Regardless of your level of education, once you choose the path most interesting to you, your skills and your knowledge will open new opportunities and advance your academic, as well as professional, career. Keep staying true to your interests and you will find the opportunity that is right for you.


With a degree from University of the People, you’ll be able to do more than just play with different codes. Our US accredited, 100% online, and tuition-free Computer Science degree program provides students with in-depth knowledge and analytic skills within the software development field. Though our university is completely tuition-free, all you would need to pay for is the assessment fee.


Our program includes courses in programming fundamentals, computer systems, operating systems and data structures, among others. Graduates are fully equipped to make use of problem-solving skills, developing practical solutions to real-life problems using complex algorithms. They are even assigned a program advisor from day one to provide guidance through the entire academic experience. Read more here to find out about the program’s admission requirements.