In today’s world, where technology has become indispensable to industries across all sectors, skilled software engineers are in increasingly high demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for software engineers and developers is expected to grow 21% from 2018 to 2028—a much faster rate than the average of all occupations. So if you've decided to pursue a career in software engineering, you made a smart move.
And there’s no better way to earn practical experience in the field than through a software engineering internship. But you might be wondering where to begin—how will you find the right internship, and what will you do to prepare for the interview?
Fear not—we’ve put together everything you need to know about landing a software engineering internship and making the most of your experience. Read on for practical tips on the best strategies for getting noticed by the top software companies and getting the most out of your internship.
Why Do You Need a Software Engineering Internship?
A software engineering internship will help you get career-ready by familiarizing you with a formal work environment, where you’ll use programming languages and software systems every day. During an internship, you’ll have the chance to apply all the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned about software languages and systems during your education.
Another important benefit of an internship is the connections you’ll form with lots of new people already working in your industry. These connections can help you in your future career path. If you build a good reputation and rapport with your colleagues and seniors, they’ll be happy to recommend you for future opportunities.
During your internship, you’ll pick up knowledge from people who are experts in the field and already have years of experience. The skills you gain will help with your future job hunt, as every company prefers candidates with experience—even as an intern. Your experience saves the company time and resources in upskilling you, so they’re always more likely to hire those who’ve completed internships over complete newbies.
If we've convinced you of the value of an internship, you're probably wondering who's hiring. Before you start skimming Indeed, here are some of the top tech companies that hire software engineering interns on a regular basis.
Companies Offering Software Engineering Internships
An internship is a great opportunity to meet accomplished software engineers and learn from the best. So it pays to do your homework and aim for a placement with a reputable company.
This prestigious company offers numerous internship opportunities for budding software engineers. Each internship lasts 10 to 12 weeks, and the best part is they offer decent pay—around $24 an hour.
This financial services company offers learning-focused internships to aspiring software engineers. Besides getting a good opportunity to work in a growing team, you’ll be paid $26 to $29 an hour. During the internship, you’ll be trained and mentored by working professionals who can offer sound advice for your future career goals.
Everyone wants to list Google on their resume. Not surprisingly, this tech giant offers many internships and pays well. You’ll be provided with a comfortable work environment, in which you’ll have great opportunities to learn and develop your skills. An internship at Google will look great on your LinkedIn profile, and, even better, will increase your odds of landing a great gig afterwards.
Another big name in the field of software engineering—Microsoft offers summer internships, which are around 12 weeks long. You’ll learn a ton of skills that will be useful in your software engineering career. Microsoft is one the highest paying companies for software engineering internships—so getting a placement here isn't always easy. If you get in, that’s already an accomplishment.
Facebook offers software engineering internships across multiple locations, which usually last for 12 weeks. They expect candidates to be good at C++ and Java, and they look for creative minds who can help build innovative features and products. You have to be enrolled in a degree program to be eligible for this internship.
With its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, this company offers the University Talent Program, which hires university-level students as interns in various fields. As an intern, you’ll be encouraged to take on challenging projects that will test your skills. Your fresh ideas and creativity will be valued by the mentors and managers here. Working with helpful peers, you’ll have a chance to upgrade your professional skills and develop a team-first attitude.
Cisco Systems offers many internships, most of which you can apply for through your college or university. The hiring process is relatively quick and there are usually two rounds of interviews. Your prospective employers will want to hear that you’re passionate about a long-term career in software engineering, and that you’ve worked on some real-life projects.
This is an evolving company that’ll provide you with a dynamic work environment and challenging tasks. They look for candidates who are eager to learn and adapt. As an aspiring software engineer, they’ll expect you to have good analytical skills. Although they don’t pay as much as some of the other heavy hitters in tech, the experience that you’ll gain here will be worth your time and effort.
National Instruments’ internship program gives you real projects and responsibilities to handle, so your intern experience will be close to that of a regular employee. They generally have two rounds of interviews, which focus on technical as well as behavioral questions. This internship will be a good option to expand your resume and your career potential.
How to Find The Right Software Engineering Internship
There are a few crucial points to keep in mind while you’re looking for a good software engineering internship.
- Start early: Don’t wait until the end of your education. You should start planning and looking for internship options early on. Although recruitments usually begin in August, you should start to keep an eye out for any listings of software engineering internships early.
- Network: Ask for help from alumni or friends who have worked or are already working in software engineering. Even your professors can help. Don’t be shy about asking for help. It’s your career, after all.
- Check out some career fairs: Career fairs, in-person or online, are a good opportunity to see what options you have locally. You’ll be able to submit your resume to career databases, so companies can contact you directly if they find you suitable.
- Try a coding challenge: Taking part in coding challenges will help you to practice your skills and understand your current rank. It’ll also prepare you for coding tests in pre-screening or during the interview. If you’re interested in brushing up on your coding, check out our coding best practices.
- Take on a side project: A few side projects that you’ve completed on your own time provide compelling proof of your passion for the field. They’ll help you to building your portfolio and provide real evidence of your skills.
Tips to Ace a Software Engineering Internship Interview
Nobody knows exactly what they’ll be asked in an interview, but you can always prepare yourself by listening to the advice of others. Below are some tips that’ll be helpful in preparing for your internship interview.
- Do your research: Find out as much as you can about the company you’ve applied to. This will help you to develop an idea about the expectations of the recruiters. It’ll also give you an idea of what kind of questions will be asked during the interview.
- Go in with the right attitude: Having the right attitude is going to help you more than having the right answers. Your technical knowledge is important, but it’s also crucial to have the right attitude while answering the questions. You want to assure your prospective employer that you’re keen to learn and will give your best during the internship.
- Use the correct algorithm: If your code isn’t exactly right, your algorithm should at least be correct. This will ensure the interviewer notices your problem-solving skills.
- Listen carefully: Stay calm and listen to the interviewer carefully. Missing out on key details might lead to confusion. So make sure you understand the question first before answering. If you’re having any difficulty understanding, don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
- Ask for help: If you’re stuck with a question, you can always ask for further details. Keeping the interview flowing by asking questions and showing your interest is likely to help you arrive at the right response.
The interview is all about putting your best self forward and engaging with your interviewers, all while you reinforce your extensive web development expertise. Relax and present yourself confidently, and you’ll do fine.
When you need a break from interview prep, line up some light reading. Learn more about all things software, coding and programming on our Software Engineering Blog.
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