Internship for CSE Undergrads: Myths, Common Mistakes and My Experience
“It’s bidding time!!!!!!!” All CSE students will understand what this mean and I am writing this blog specifically targeting them. I came across many incidents in the recent past regarding internship and as a result of those incidents, idea of writing this post came to my mind. In this blog, I am not going to market or criticize any company by writing this. My intention is to provide some insight to our juniors who are getting ready to start most important time period as CSE undergrads.
Failure is not Fatal
My internship story started as a nightmare because I failed my first ever interview. It’s a long story and I am not going to increase the length of this by telling you that story. But when I look back after 5 years I consider myself very lucky about that because it was the only reason I ended up at CodeGen, the company I consider my second home now. So don’t be discouraged if you fail at interviews. I don’t consider interviews as an accurate method of measuring capabilities and passing an interview heavily depend on Impressing or satisfying the interviewer.
Money is not everything
This is the most common mistake students do when selecting companies for the internship. Do not think internship as a Job for 6 months. This is the time period you learn 90% of things and main goal of internship should be to learn and practice technologies. So do not let money on offer affect your selections of companies. To be honest, most companies who are willing to pay high allowances see interns as employees for cheap salaries. So there is a higher possibility that you will end up in a single project/ Task working 24X7 and you might not get any opportunity to learn anything new than practising what you already know.
Work Culture / Less work / Freedom : Does not matter
As I already emphasized, Internship is all about learning. All the factors like Work culture, Work load and Freedom are important when you selecting a company to start your careers but in my personal point of view they are not important for the internship.
It’s all about learning something new
Internship is the perfect time for you to learn new things. So when selecting a company make sure you select a company which uses more than one core technology so that you can learn few new things during your internship. Also make sure the company you select have enough expertise to guide you because having a quality set of seniors / supervisors around you during your internship will help you to become a better engineer. During your internship make sure you ask questions and get maximum input from your seniors.
You can take one of two avenues mentioned below. Both of them have pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide.
Select a company with high level expertise on a technology that you already familiar with and get more experience to become an expert in that technology.
Pick a company which uses entirely different set of technologies and learn set of new technologies.
I would pick the second path but ultimately if you can choose a company which can fulfill both of above consider yourself extremely lucky.
Internship will not guarantee you a job in the same company
Most students think they will get a job in the same company after completing degree.. This has been the norm for several years. But in our batch ( 2009 ) quite a lot of students didn’t got job offers from companies they went for their internship. So keep in mind that securing an internship spot does not always guarantee you a job offer.
Big Companies Vs Small Companies
When it comes to internship, company name or size does not matter. Some big companies have bad reputation when it comes to their internship programs. So make sure you do enough home work to get to know internship programs of companies before taking your final decision. Some companies have specifically designed programs for interns to improve their skills while some companies consider interns as cheap labor to do their less elegant work (like documentation, maintenance etc). So make sure you select a company which is willing to give you enough opportunities to learn.
What to do during your Internship?
An intern may be the lowest rank in a software development company, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a corner and keep quiet. Make sure you get to know people around you and blend into the company’s culture. Every company have a culture and set of rules and regulations regarding your work so you have to study them and respect them. Learning how to blend into a professional working environment is an important part of your internship and make sure you don’t miss that. Making new connections during your internship will benefit you in the long run.
You are going to companies not only as interns, you are representing both CSE and UOM so make sure you act accordingly and responsibly. All the demand and good name you benefit today as CSE students is built upon years of hard work and performances of your seniors so make sure you do the same and maintain that image for your juniors.
Finally happy bidding and May the odds be with you !!!!.