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Computer Science summer internships

mdcisspmdcissp Posts: 2,494Registered User Senior Member
edited April 2011 in Parents Forum
Are Computer Science summer internships easy to find? Do companies contact the college career center and/or CS departments for students to work? As a parent, should I relax with the feeling that my son's university will have many internships available to apply or should parents help with the networking factor? With all the talk about the weak job market, and reading about parents paying for companies to find their kids summer internships, I wonder if finding summer work is easier for CS students. Thanks so much.
Post edited by mdcissp on
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Replies to: Computer Science summer internships

  • GLAWGLAW Posts: 107Registered User Junior Member
    Our DD had many interviews at her school's career fair. She's had half a dozen or more (I've lost count) second interviews. She's had three offers for internships so far. She's a freshman in CS. H & I have only provided encouragement and support throughout this process. I wouldn't say I am relaxed but I definitely am thrilled she chose a great school that has provided her with so many opportunities.
  • kitty56kitty56 Posts: 1,262Registered User Senior Member
    Are Computer Science summer internships easy to find?

    There are many listed in different places.
    Do companies contact the college career center and/or CS departments for students to work?

    It depends on the college.
    As a parent, should I relax with the feeling that my son's university will have many internships available to apply or should parents help with the networking factor?

    Have your student find out from career services or the CS department how many internships they had listed last year. If you have a networking connection, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. Be aware that many CS internships have a minimum gpa required - sometimes 3.0, sometimes 3.2, sometimes 3.5.
  • boysx3boysx3 Posts: 5,149Registered User Senior Member
    MDCISSP,
    Has your son changed his intended major? I thought he was initially interested in accounting or possibly actuarial science? Is CS a new interest for him?

    Certainly it never hurts to use connections to suss out possible available internships, but the schools themselves have the broadest internship resources. Your student needs to get familiar both with the school's career office and also with his department...a lot of internships come from professors and their connections.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Posts: 22,762Registered User Senior Member
    > Are Computer Science summer internships easy to find?

    Research Internships are relatively easy to find but they can be competitive. Some places receive a lot of applicants and some places have trouble attracting applicants.

    > Do companies contact the college career center and/or CS departments for students
    > to work?

    Some companies may work with the career center to list their positions. Some may just send postings to professors or department heads which then get forwarded through the department's email.

    > As a parent, should I relax with the feeling that my son's university will have many
    > internships available to apply or should parents help with the networking factor?

    Some universities do a great job or just attract recruiters because of their name. Some have coop and internship programs set up for their students. There are schools that don't do that much for you too.

    If opportunities at your son's university are good, then perhaps just a reminder to get applications in might be fine.

    > With all the talk about the weak job market, and reading about parents paying for
    > companies to find their kids summer internships, I wonder if finding summer work is
    > easier for CS students. Thanks so much.

    I would say that it is.

    Perhaps you heard that Google was giving a company-wide 10% raise to avoid poaching from other companies like Facebook. 8 years ago, Google was poaching employees from my company. We are regularly hiring CS grads.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Posts: 10,313Registered User Senior Member
    S has been recruited by two companies for summer positions through his involvement in a CS program. Heard from another one via a listserve he participates in. Another company called his school's CS department and asked for names. Facebook, Google and Microsoft all recruit on his campus and post in the career center. Finding a summer position with programming skills has never been a problem, and they are fairly well-paying gigs, to boot -- even the summer job programming for a professor. He has been able to pay summer rent plus put money in the bank.
  • compmomcompmom Posts: 4,136Registered User Senior Member
    My son told us that internships after juriior year are common, but that even sophomores usually don't get them yet. He did get summer jobs with Silicon Valley companies after soph. and jr. years but only through interviews with companies coming to his college.

    Most freshmen we know, including many who were later extremely successful, still waiter or mow lawns or whatever.

    It never occurred to me to get involved, but that is also because I have no idea when it comes to CS.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Posts: 22,762Registered User Senior Member
    My son had internships his sophomore and junior summers. Neither required interviews.

    A coworker's son (CS major) had a local internship with IBM after his freshman year.

    There are a fair number of companies in the area that do software engineering that would prefer local students for internships and that may play a factor in what is available.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Posts: 10,313Registered User Senior Member
    S1 has found that interviewing at larger companies hiring CS folks takes several rounds; 2-3 phone interviews, first with HR, then a general CS person, then a group phone interview with experienced CS folks where he is asked to tackle programming problems on the spot; after all that, then he goes to the location.

    Programming job with the prof was done via a resume and a couple of emails. Had a job by October of freshman year, and we didn't know til it was a done deal.

    One thing S learned is that if one is doing an internship, don't be the only CS person in the group, even if you are a fairly competent programmer. Make sure there are resources and people who can help you learn. S worked on a one-time project for my boss when he came home for holidays and breaks, and we have no other CS folks in the office. There are things he struggled with that would have been easy to work through with another, more experienced programmer on board. Even having someone who was able to explain what we wanted in a clear and competent way would have been helpful. He wrote an incredibly involved fund pricing program and then had trouble linking it to our various external proprietary database sources. Boss did not want to pay our software vendor for the time it would take one of their folks to help S get through the database linkage.

    If a CS student is handy with hardware and networking, there are lots of smaller businesses that would be glad for temporary help.
  • mdcisspmdcissp Posts: 2,494Registered User Senior Member
    Thank you so much for your responses. Sounds like the best thing is to encourage my son to ask his CS professors for any internship leads and to work with the college career center.
    Also, have the impression that a good CS student should be able to find a summer internship.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Posts: 22,762Registered User Senior Member
    If he wants a research internship, he might start looking at REUs soon.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    There's the variable of the particular college and location in this. For my kids, there were a fair number of companies recruiting on campus for internship positions. In a nutshell, there are the following for internships -

    - Companies recruiting on campus - which company and how many will vary with the campus
    - Companies with positions but not recruiting on campus - one must approach the company for a position
    - Profs offering positions in the companies they own
    - Profs offering positions on-campus (usually more of a job than a traditional internship)

    By 'companies' I'm including the government since the government has many internship opportunities as well.

    If your S goes to college away from your home town but he wants to live at home in the summer then he can approach some local companies about positions. He doesn't need to wait for a company to come to campus.

    A lot of CS internships are for between soph/junior and junior/senior years since at the end of the freshman year they still don't know all that much relatively. Many of the CS internships are more like jobs where the student is actually contributing to a project, i.e. not a burden and not just filing papers or something, and is providing a real value to the company. Most CS internships are paid internships with some paying pretty well. A lot of them end up turning into full time job offers upon graduation.

    If he wants to do a study-abroad in the summer, which sometimes works better for CS students due to scheduling, then between freshman/soph year is a good time for it then he could do internships the other summers.

    Good luck to him.
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,136Registered User Senior Member
    My son is a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon. The easiest place to make first contact seemed to be the technology job fair in the late fall. He missed that his freshman year and ended up getting a summer job through connections. Sophomore year he wise up. Went to the fair, had a some phone interviews, accepted an offer and then the market crashed and the offer was withdrawn. He ended up scrambling and found another internship through word of mouth surprisingly late in the spring. They flew him out and paid for his apartment. He was debugging drivers for NVidea I think that summer. Last summer same process - got several phone interviews, was flown out for some in person interviews and had offers to choose from. My son had a couple of summers and school year time of work experience before he even got to Carnegie Mellon which I am sure helped make him more hirable. He'd also spent a huge amount of time teaching himself Linux.
  • digifreak106digifreak106 Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    How much can an intern receive payment wise?
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Posts: 22,762Registered User Senior Member
    The NSF/REU type internships usually run around $10/hour. Private stuff I'd say starts around $15 and goes up from there but you often have to provide your own housing and transportation for the latter.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Posts: 10,313Registered User Senior Member
    S1 made $14-15/hr at internships at academic institutions, $20/hr for designing an app for a small company, and considerably more at major employers. He makes enough to pay his own summer rent and expenses, plus put something aside for school. (We do not pay expenses for living away from home over the summer unless it were an exceptional opportunity that would be helpful for one's future employment/grad school prospects, i.e., an overseas unpaid internship.)

    He feels very fortunate to have marketable skills in this economy.
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