Having read the heading of this article, the first question that must have come up to your mind is “Do I even need to get an internship so early in my period in college?”.
And it’s natural because a lot of us believe that it is not possible to get an internship before 3rd year. So to answer the question of why and subsequently the important question of how to get them, let’s move on to the following sections of this article.
Why do I need an internship in 1st or 2nd year of college?
- Professional Evaluation: While programming at our own leisure, on our own laptops, nobody really checks the quality of your code. You don’t care much about the bugs that might arise and even if you do, self-evaluation is not always equivalent to the kind of evaluation that will motivate you to improve your skills. Contrastingly, in a professional setting, your code will be assessed critically. You will then be able to find out loopholes in your skills and thus do better.
- Setting short-term goals: A lot of us, entering into engineering, have long term goals -goals revolving around what we aim to do after the fourth year. But what we need to understand is that the fulfillment of long-term goals requires one to achieve short-term goals. As they say, “Energy and persistence can conquer all things”. Not only this, but short term goals help one to stay focused all through one’s way to achieving long term goals.
Think of these short term goals as steps of a ladder. With each internship, you get better at your thing than how you were before. Eventually, you reach the top as the best possible version of yourself. After all, we can’t just fly like our superheroes to the peak, right? We need to climb the ladder step by step.
3. Impactful Resume: Undoubtedly a fact, a resume with so many internships starting right from the first year itself, is something that all recruiters value a lot. Professional experience in the industry is one really important aspect that determines the odds of getting recruited.
Understanding Why Companies Hire Interns?
Now before we prepare for getting hired as an intern, we need to understand why they are willing to hire us. Only then, we can efficiently prepare ourselves for fulfilling the goal. So there are two main reasons why companies hire interns:
- To eventually hire one as a full-time employee: One of the main reasons companies hire interns is so that they can judge a person’s skills and efficiency in the period of their internship and decide whether or not they are fit for a full-time job. This process is more efficient than hiring people based on interviews.
- To acquire help/contributions: Another reason is that there are often areas that full-time employees do not have the time or bandwidth to work on properly. Therefore hiring interns becomes of great help so they can contribute to such areas.
Of the two reasons, as a 1st or 2nd year, you must only be concerned with the second because you still have a few years to complete your degree and be eligible to become a full-time worker.
Now if we look at the 2nd reason, one thing becomes clear – you need to have the skills to be able to contribute to a company. So what skills do you need? We discuss that in the next section.
Pre-requisites For An Internship
Being a 1st or 2nd-year student, your main focus must be on getting your fundamentals right. Data Structures, being the most important topic of all.
(Check out our article on “How to Prepare Data Structures for interviews” to get a detailed answer to the Whys and Hows of preparing this topic.) But to get an internship, you must also be proficient in one of the following areas:
You will need to manage your time between data structures and one of the above to be eligible for an internship. That being said, Data Structures still remain the first priority, and going on any of the aforementioned topics requires fluency in data structures.
How To Showcase Your Skills To Attract Recruiters?
Just learning and saying that you are good at XYZ topic is not enough when it comes to applying for any kind of recruitment. To actually display your skills you can take up any kind of methods but the two most important ones:
- Deploy your projects: Don’t just make projects and keep them on your laptops for your own self! Make them public. Deploy them. Link them to your Github.
- Active links on the resume: Just mentioning that you did some project is not enough when it comes to displaying your work on your resume. Embed active links that would take a second person to your project. Talk about what you learned from the project. Building a good resume is the key to accomplishing one’s goals.
How Do I Find And Get Internships?
Now that we have understood every aspect of internships in 1st and 2nd year, it’s time to answer the most important question of HOW.
- Traditional methods: We all know of how we can find endless internships on Internshala. Internshala is a platform that lists all the internships that you can apply for and match your profile.
- Linkedin: Besides going to the Jobs section on Linkedin, one really effective method is to find employees of companies that could potentially hire interns and messaging them asking if they can refer you for an internship in their company. This would always need a lot of preparation in terms of drafting the message. If your profile seems like a fit to them, all of them would be more than happy to refer you for an internship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, many firms offer work from home internships. If you’re browsing internships on Internshala, you can just put in the Work From Home filter and it will show you only the internships that allow working from home. This is especially useful given that we’re living in a pandemic situation when going outside may not be safe for many of us.
Before going to actually write the Resume, you should first make a layout of what and what not you want to display in your resume. List down the projects that you want to mention, any past experiences or internships you have done, your current educational status, etc.
One of the easiest ways to build a resume is adding everything in your Linkedin profile and building a resume from that.
The kind of internship that is right for you largely depends on one, your area of interest, and two, the area you’re skilled in. As we discussed in the section of Prerequisites for an internship, you need to be affluent with the work you’re applying for. If it’s web development, that you know and are interested in taking up in the future, that is what you should apply for.
So now that you know that getting internships is not just a goal to keep for the third year, start planning how you will implement the roadmap that we laid out in this article.
Make the most of your summers when college is off and you can focus on preparing yourself for acquiring the prerequisites mentioned above.