What to Look for in a Computer Science Internship

IEEE Computer Society Team
Published 10/20/2022
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Find a mentor in CSThere are many reasons to apply for a computer science internship. A top reason is that the right internship will look good on your resume and be more attractive to potential employers. But while any internship can boost your resume, not all internships are created equal.

When choosing an internship to pursue, you also need to look for more than what will look good to employers. It is a great chance to learn in a real-world environment and experience working in the industry. After all, what’s the use of your internship if you aren’t excited to start it?

Your computer science internship is the next step in the rest of your career. Here are some things to consider before you take that step.


Academic Credit

A business will usually state in their internship posting whether they offer college credit, but an employer can’t decide whether you get academic credit. They can only help you get that credit if your school accepts it.

Many computer science programs will give you credit for completing an internship. Other programs require that you complete an internship before you get your degree. If you aren’t sure, check with your professor or department chair to find out.

However, you can’t just choose an internship and expect to get academic credit. You will have to meet with department staff to get approval. To receive the credit, you may be asked to write a paper on your experience or keep a journal to show what you learned.



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Getting an internship at a top tech company will look better on your resume than your local web design company. In addition, it will help your resume stand out from employers once you enter the job market. But choosing an internship based on prestige also depends on where you want your career to take you and what is important to you.

Maybe a big tech company is not your definition of prestigious, and a cutting-edge AI company is more your speed. Whichever you choose, your internship will tell employers a lot about you and let them know you can perform at an elite level.


Enjoyable Work

There is a wide variety of internships. You must remember that yours will be a big part of your life. Computer science can be an exciting, interesting career choice, but everyone has work they like and don’t. It is essential to get an idea of the work you will do and the company culture.

Do you like hackathons or finishing a project in an all-night coding session? Then an internship at a startup may be a good choice where the work is likely to be fast-paced. If not, one at an established corporation may be better for you.

As an intern, you may work on real applications and write code, or you may shadow other developers, take notes, and fetch coffee. If you do real work in your internship, it will be much more enjoyable and look better on your resume.


Hiring Record and Job Openings

An internship should look good on your resume, but if you choose the right one, you may not need it to. You could be hired by the business you interned with. Preferably, you intern at the type of company you would love to work for. It will give you a chance to observe its culture, make connections, and impress the people you work with.

So, in your internship research, check the hiring record of the company, find out if they have hired interns in the past, and see if they have any current job openings. If you do well, you could get a job offer.



There is an obvious reason a paid internship is better than an unpaid one. Getting paid for your time is nice. Fortunately, many internships are paid, but there is another benefit that you might not know. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, paid interns are more likely to get hired than unpaid ones.

Whether you know where you want your computer science degree to take you or not, applying for an internship will help you test the waters and determine what you like and what you don’t like before you enter the job market. Hopefully, these tips will help you narrow down your options on what will be the next step in your career.