Internships are on-the-job experiences in company settings. They give you a chance to see what the “real world” of employment is actually like. People come back from internships with more understanding than they can easily quantify. You learn a lot of intangibles that are hard to express except by relating lots of examples of experiences you had. People usually return to their academic studies with a sense of purpose and a better knowledge of what is important to them.
Plus, you can earn money. They serve as summer or Interim or during-the-semester jobs — a chance to earn while you learn.
St. Olaf offers two kinds of internships:
- Internships for credit are arranged through the Piper Center for Vocation and Career and are taken as regular (ungraded) courses. The Piper Center seeks companies to arrange for these experiences; or a student interested in working with a particular company can contact the Piper Center to associate credit with that experience (as long as they start these arrangements well before the internship starts!). The planning between student, college, and company helps to ensure that an internship for credit will serve the student and the company well.
- Non-credit internships are jobs that use a student’s CS and computing skills. Whether or not they use the title “internship,” they can still offer valuable experience.
Finding an internship is like a warm-up for a career search: identify interesting companies, create a resume and cover letter, make connections, and apply. This may sound intimidating, but only if you haven’t tried it yet. The hardest part is getting started. The Piper Center exists to help you with it all through resume workshops, resources for finding companies, pre-arranged internship opportunities for credit, and more. Pay them a visit.
A word of advice for students: be proactive. If you get started in late fall or in January you’ll give yourself a chance to apply for the best internship situations and reduce the amount of stress in your life.