What It Takes to Earn Computer Science Internships

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Computer science internships help you earn skills and network. Explore computer science internships and what it takes to be accepted into an internship program.

[Featured image] A computer science intern is studying using their laptop computer.

With a computer science internship, you can work in a team of IT professionals and broaden your skills by developing new technologies and solving problems within existing systems and software applications. Internships generally require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related field, though some may hire candidates with a related master’s degree.

Explore the benefits of computer science internships and the skills you’ll learn to help you qualify for a job in the technology field. 

What do computer science interns do?

You’ll earn practical experience in a computer science internship and the opportunity to work with teams of IT professionals. Some of the intern duties may include:

  • Participating in meetings with supervisors, staff, and clients 

  • Testing software releases 

  • Designing computer programs

  • Troubleshooting problems with software and hardware 

  • Working with programming languages such as C++, Python, and Java

  • Researching technology needs for clients 

Read more: How to Write an Internship Cover Letter: 9 Tips (+ Examples)

Skills you need for computer science internships

Teamwork is one of the essential skills you’ll need as a computer science intern. As an intern, you typically won’t work autonomously and will spend time collaborating with IT professionals, including other interns, computer programmers, and computer engineers.

Technical skills

Along with your education, you’ll need computer systems and program knowledge like basic HTML, Javascript, and Python skills. You should also be accustomed to Microsoft Powerpoint and hardware and software skills. 

Workplace skills

You'll need communication skills as a computer science intern because you’ll work and talk to your team and clients. You may discuss concepts and objectives with other coworkers and be required to give verbal project updates.

Experience

To work as a computer science intern, you won’t necessarily need experience working in the field, but your life skills will be important. Having the correct education and technical requirements is helpful.

Required qualifications

Computer science internships prefer you earn at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Certifications are also helpful for gaining in-demand skills but are not required by employers. 

Internships typically seek candidates with good problem-solving and analytical skills and those with a strong background in computer science, including programming languages and computer architecture.

You may find a position that requires travel, so you should consider your ability to leave home or your school commitments.  

Benefits of computer science internships

With a computer science internship, you’ll gain real-life experience working with computer professionals. You can add this experience to enhance your resume for future roles. You can also network with other interns and professionals to potentially expand your future employment opportunities. 

Upon completion, you may earn a job offer from the company you interned with and as a bonus, you can earn college credits for your internship if you’re still in school.

Gain work experience.

Your internship can help you decide what computer science area you want to pursue as a career. Whether it’s software development, web development, or programming, you can explore your options with an internship.

Read more: Computer Science vs. Information Technology: Careers, Degrees, and More

Learn about the industry.

While schooling will allow you to build an excellent academic foundation in computer science, an internship will help you grasp the intricacies of working for a company or industry. 

Build your portfolio.

Your portfolio is an essential component of the internship search. If you’ve completed a degree program in computer science or a related field, you’ll likely have projects to add to your portfolio.

When building your portfolio, include an about page, education, experience, and your best projects. Always have your contact information in a special “Contact Me” section so future employers can easily reach out to you. 

When applying for internships, verify the link to your website works, and that you have a professional and user-friendly portfolio.

How to find computer science internships

If you’re taking computer science or are in a similar program at a college or university, your academic advisor should have a list of internship opportunities. Consider learning about different career fairs your university or local businesses may have. If you’re not enrolled in a school, check with a career counselor in your area.

You can search online job boards and check the online careers sections at companies you’re interested in working for. Remote opportunities for computer science internships are available, so check job boards often or sign up to receive notifications as they become available.

Interview tips for computer science internships

If you’ve applied for a computer science internship and have been called back for an interview, learning about the company may improve your chances of getting the job. Study its website and jot down any questions you might have for the interviewer. Prepare to discuss yourself and your career goals.

Be prepared for typical interview questions, such as describing your most significant accomplishments or an area of weakness. Focus on why you’d be a good fit and the skills you bring to the company.

The interviewer will likely ask you some technical questions about computer science, so be prepared to give knowledgeable answers. 

Next steps

Check schools and job boards for opportunities when seeking a computer science internship. Have a resume that highlights your skills and experience. Include any programming languages and coding experience you have, as well as your education and interests. To increase your chances of being accepted for an internship, improve your skill set with a Specialization in Python, C and C++, other programming languages, or Fundamentals of Computing. You can also find internships available on Coursera for students and new graduates. 

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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