Money aside

What would be your ideal company to do a CS internship at and why? This would be for a current college sophomore for reference.

Are you opening a free flowing conversation based on people’s personal opinions just for fun, or are you looking for concrete suggestions to inform your or your student’s internship quest?

If it’s the latter, you’d need to give more detail about what your (or your student’s) ideal position and company would look like. Ideal is very much in the eyes of the beholder.

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@eyemgh Both really but more along the lines of choosing which company you would choose for either prestige and/or beneficial on a resume when graduating. Concrete suggestions would help.

You have to remember, internships are often really long interviews. Regardless of someone else’s perception of prestige, you have to decide where you want to work.

You also have to decide what you want to do. If you want to do back-end at Apple and they don’t have any slots for that, then you have to find the best back-end job, even if it’s at Salesforce, AWS, or whoever else that you don’t admire as much as Apple.

Essentially what you’re asking is what’s the best flavor of ice cream. That depends a heck of a lot on you.

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Small or startup would probably let you get your hands dirty and wear multiple hats. You might learn more.

Larger company might look good but could be restrictive.

Either way the most important thing is how well you’re mentored.

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So true, but you unfortunately can never know until you’ve worked under them.

@eyemgh Best flavor of ice cream could only be determined after trying each one, right? I guess I can lay it out a little differently. DS is currently starting Junior year in CS with a minor in chemistry and math. He’s looking at doing an internship this upcoming year 2022. Due to playing D1 football in the SEC(Go Gators) he doesn’t have any experience doing any interning at companies. His current GPA is 3.9 and he’s a NMS and Stamps Scholar. Due to many connections thru Stamps alumni, football connections and family with tech connections, he has many top companies that he has to choose from. Some are Amazon, Disney, Facebook, Oracle, Exxon, Space X, Lockheed Martin. He would like something in algorithms or data science ideally. Since he loves chemistry he would like something that might include that like Exxon or pharmaceutical. How would/should he go about deciding which to choose money aside? Each is unique and has different things to offer. Where he does his internship doesn’t determine where he will end up when he graduates but he doesn’t want to turn down an opportunity that some people might consider too good to say no to.

Interns are offered jobs roughly 1/3 of the time, so it does matter.

Apple, Google, NASA, etc. all look good to the naked, untrained eye, but when push comes to shove, the people doing the hiring look much more at what the candidate did, and not nearly as much at where they did it. They are looking for a skill set.

He should parlay his connections to the internship that is the most like the job he ultimately wants, regardless of where it’s at. There’s no guarantee, no matter his record, that he’ll get a call back from an unreferred application to his dream company anyway. Most are looking for industry experience. Thus, to get started, network is WAY more important than a company name on a resume.

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What I mean is if he interns at Space X it doesn’t mean that it is where he will want to end up working once he graduates. So having on your resume or Linkedin that you interned at Amazon let’s say, doesn’t boost your chances when you apply to a company? Stamps alumni are notorious for wanting to hire fellow Stamps Scholars for their companies so that should be a huge in I would guess. Thanks for your the suggestions, I’ll pass them along to him.

Not really. If an inside connection knows someone at the destination job, then it could make a difference. It’s really more about experience though. Doing a completely unrelated thing to the position he applies for at a big name is less valuable than doing something related at a less fancy name. If he works at SpaceX (or any other company) there’s a 30% chance (ish) of getting hired there. That’s worth WAY more if he lands an internship at a place where he’d like to work full time.

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Source? Seems quite low.

  • 70% of companies offer interns a full-time job.
  • 80% of students accept such offers.
  • As a result, 56% of interns get a full-time job from internship
    (National Association of Colleges and Employers)

We hired about 80% of our interns, typical for the industry. The intern hiring process was just as rigorous as for graduates.

All but two of my D’s “gang” of 10 friends took jobs with the company for which they interned.

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You could be right. I was parroting someone who hired engineers. So, if that’s worst case scenario, where you land an internship is probably even more important than I stated.

Our son was offered at all 3 companies he interned at.

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Your son’s only focus should be figuring out what he might want to do or not do with his work life. Interning at Google or SpaceX won’t mean a thing if he doesn’t start narrowing down his work interests.

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Yep. When my kids interview I tell them it’s a two way street. You’re interviewing them as well. Watch and listen to everything.

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I get the gist of what you all are saying. I still don’t get how one would know what company they would want to work for after they graduate. So I get a degree in finance…how would I know that I want to work at Goldman Sachs instead of JP Morgan or Moody’s or Evercore etc…?

You don’t. You have to read the job description and find the one that is looking for someone to do what you’re interested in and qualified to do. A first job is not the be all, end all. Getting relevant experience and networking is what that job is for. The biggest thing, by far as to whether of not you’ll like the company, is whether you like your immediate boss. That’s a crap shoot.

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So I assume the same goes for picking a company to intern for thus why not go with the big dog with everything else being equal.

I can’t speak specifically for CS majors but I’m going to put my $.02 in about researching a company and an internship based on what I’ve been seeing with my D (an engineering student) and her friends.

My D is a co-op student but had an internship with another company off rotation. One is medium sized, the other is a huge international company. In both cases she was able to talk to students who had worked for the companies in the past. Very very helpful in parsing out what kind of projects they give to students, level of autonomy and responsibility, mentoring structures, etc…

I would not assume that a big name company is going to be a better experience. I will also say anecdotally, that the bigger name companies seemed to be the first to pause their students during Covid and were worse at communication. D’s experience has been that there was way more HR red tape with the larger companies, and they didn’t pay as well.

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Very different work cultures and locations of the companies he is considering. Where does he want to live? California? Washington?
ExxonMobil is huge and bureaucratic. Lockheed is conservative and engineering focused. Disney and Space X pay lower than industry average.

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I don’t think he has a preference that he’s indicated to me. Pretty much open to anywhere to try. Just me, but all things being equal you would think a no state tax could be preferable. Heck that would be a hard decision for me lol. San Diego would be a yes while LA would be a no. Obviously no wife or kids to consider so I don’t foresee location as a big sticking point now. Upon graduation he will be debt free with a good amount of money in the bank so speaking on his behalf I would say he would opt for job satisfaction over increased pay if that helps.