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6 Tips To Help You Succeed at a Software Developer Internship

by | Feb 20, 2021 | Internships

Software engineering is a booming and in-demand field that offers many exciting employment opportunities. Ranked #2 on U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs list for 2021, this lucrative and rewarding field offers flexibility, a high salary, and a healthy work-life balance. 

But, to land a job as a software engineer, you need to build your resume while you’re still in school. A software developer internship provides real-world work experience, making it a crucial stepping stone toward a career in software development. 

Here’s a look at the best software developer internship opportunities, plus tips on how you can use these internship programs to jumpstart your career. 

The Best Software Developer Internship Programs

software developer internship: Man holding his mobile phone and smiling at the camera

Here are our favorite cutting-edge companies offering software development and software engineering internships. These companies are located all over the United States from tech hot spots like San Francisco to smaller tech markets like Houston, so you can find an internship opportunity near you. 

Many of these companies offer summer internship programs that will give you an idea of what it’s like to work as a full-time software engineer. You can also find part-time opportunities that take place during the fall and spring semesters

Every company we’ve included is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on national origin, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or marital, parental, or veteran status. So, without further ado, here are our top picks. You can find more information about each at the links provided:  

Once you’ve found your ideal software developer internship and nailed your application, make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities the company has to offer so you can leave the program with a full resume. 

How To Make the Most of Your Software Developer Internship

software developer internship: Female employee working on her desktop computer

If you want your software developer internship to lead to a job offer or help you build a strong resume, you will need to showcase and develop your skills. 

Regardless of whether your specific goals have to do with information technology, devops, or development, there are some things every software engineer intern should do during their internship program to get the most out of the experience.

Here are six ways to succeed at your software developer internship.

1. Embrace Small Projects

As a software developer intern, you most likely won’t be doing the cliche tasks like answering phones, getting the boss coffee, or filing paperwork. In most of your tasks, you’ll need to use the skills you learned in your computer science classes. 

You might, however, work on “intern projects” or small, standalone projects that you will finish in the course of your internship. Don’t get discouraged by this. Companies want to help you gain development experience and make a contribution while keeping their important software safe. 

Instead, focus on finishing this task to prove that you can successfully and efficiently complete projects. Then, you can ask to be included in the company’s real work. If you’re afraid you aren’t learning anything valuable, remember that even small tasks will allow you to practice coding languages like Python, JavaScript, CSS, or HTML, while quickly expanding your skills.

2. Ask Questions

While you are trying to prove your value to this company, you might be afraid to ask questions or appear unsure about your responsibilities. But don’t be. Asking relevant questions is a great way to improve your communication skills, and you’ll end up looking better if you ask thoughtful questions than you will if you do the task wrong because you were afraid to ask. 

The key is to find the right time to ask. Make sure you have spent some time with the problem so that you can show your colleagues your thought process and methodology.

3. Take Notes and Stay Organized 

This might be obvious but success as a software engineering intern is all about productivity. During your internship, you will be taking in a lot of new information. 

At the beginning, human resources and your hiring manager will onboard you and give you access to your company’s backend systems. You will have to quickly begin working on your intern project while learning how all of the internal processes and technologies work. You may need to learn new APIs and functionalities. Beyond that, you will have to learn about the specific projects that you’ll be working on. 

There’s a lot of learning going on, so stay organized and take detailed notes. You’ll impress your team if you don’t have to ask the same questions twice. So, always consult your notes before going to your team members for help. 

4. Network 

Beyond the technical side of your software developer internship, you’ll have the opportunity to socialize with people in your field. You’ll work with people who already have the career you aspire to. A wealth of knowledge is sitting a few feet away from you! 

As an intern, you are in a great position to ask as many questions as you want. People understand you are there to learn and most will be willing to help. Take advantage of this collaborative environment. Talk to as many people as you can, even people outside of the software development team. Attend events offered by your company and socialize with other employees — other interns, full-time staff, and even upper management. 

Most people are more accessible than you might think and will be excited to talk about their journey in this line of work. Not only will this help you learn new skills and connect with new people, but you will also be expanding your network. Make sure to connect with your new colleagues on LinkedIn so you can keep in touch as your career progresses. Who knows who you will meet or which connections will help you once your internship is over.

5. Find a Mentor 

Here’s some career advice you will hear over and over again: Befriend someone who has the career you want. They have already achieved the level of accomplishment that you are striving for, so they can tell you how to get there. Finding a mentor is a great way to succeed in your internship.  

A mentor can be anyone. Maybe they’re your tech lead. Maybe they’re a former intern. Maybe they’re even the CTO. A great mentor will help you integrate into the company quickly and easily, letting you spend less time getting up to speed and more time doing meaningful work. 

Some internships assign a mentor as part of the program. But remember that you don’t have to settle for the person you’re assigned. If your mentor isn’t providing you with the support you need, don’t hesitate to find an additional mentor. 

Try to schedule meetings with your mentor every week or two to ask for feedback. This gives you a forum to bring up concerns or inquire about your progress.

6. Get Feedback 

At some companies, you may have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your manager where they give you feedback and let you know if you’re on track to meet your goals. If the company where you intern doesn’t offer these check-ins, you’ll need to explicitly ask for feedback. 

Some of us are not good judges of our own performance. We have differing perspectives or expectations so asking for feedback is key within an internship. Ask your manager if they are willing to set up a recurring meeting where they can give you feedback and guide you in the right direction. 

Don’t be discouraged when your manager or mentor tells you what you need to improve on. This is why you are here — to learn! There is always something you can improve on, even if you are meeting your internship goals. Asking for feedback can set you up for success in your internship and later on in your career.

Take Charge of Your Development With an Internship

Team of employees working in the office using their computers

Software developer internships can be competitive. More and more students are pursuing this lucrative career, but there’s room for everyone to succeed. So, as you go out and pursue an internship, keep this one final piece of advice in mind: Stay positive.   

If you don’t get hired for your dream internship, remember that there are many more amazing opportunities out there. If your friends and fellow students get internship offers before you, remember that their success is not your failure. Persistence, perseverance, and positivity will get you through the application process, help you build a strong network, and allow you to make the most of your internship experience. 

And if you need help finding the software developer internship that’s right for you, you can count on Scholars. We’re the largest hub of career information for students and recent grads. Join the community!

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.