Computer Science Internships: A Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Computer science internships are excellent ways to network and further develop your skills. Learn more about how to find and apply for them.

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

With a computer science internship, you can work professionally for a semester—or an entire year—to apply what you've learned from your education while gaining valuable experience and skills. The type of work you complete will depend on the internship you accept. Many students pursue internships related to the area of computer science they're studying, such as data science, machine learning, or game design. 

Let's explore the benefits of completing a computer science internship, how to find one, and what you will need to apply. 

What do computer science interns do?

Generally, computer science internships are junior-level opportunities that allow you to expand your education by gaining real-world experience and contributing to a team's larger work. Some internships are paid, while others are not. 

Computer science internships vary and are available in various areas. You can apply as an intern while enrolled in your degree program or pursue more advanced internships once you've earned your bachelor's degree. 

Intern duties can include:

  • Participating in meetings with supervisors, staff, and clients 

  • Testing software releases 

  • Contributing design to computer programs

  • Troubleshooting problems with software and hardware 

  • Testing programs and apps 

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

  • Researching technology needs for clients 

How to find computer science internships

You can look for a broad "computer science internship" or focus on finding a more specific opportunity in an area of computer science, like artificial intelligence (AI), network security, or information architecture. You can align your internship with your study area or find a more foundational opportunity to continue working on your fundamental skills. 

Many students find internships through their schools. Check with your academic advisor or career services counsellor to find internships. Online job boards, such as LinkedIn and Indeed,  are great ways to find internships in your area and beyond.

Skills you may need for a computer science internship

When applying to an internship, it will be important to highlight valuable technical and workplace skills you've developed on your resume, whether through a part-time role, volunteer work, or a side project you completed just for fun. 

Because internships help you develop your skills, you likely won't be required to have a fully formed set. However, internships can be competitive, especially at the more prominent tech companies, so showcasing what you do know can help you stand out from other applicants. 

Technical skills you may want to highlight: 

  • Programming language

  • Project management 

  • Data analysis 

Workplace skills you may want to highlight:

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Problem-solving

  • Critical thinking

  • Organization

  • Attention to detail 

GPA requirements

Computer science internships often expect you to have a minimum college GPA. This will vary by company and internship program, so check for this in the minimum requirements on the internship listing before applying. 


To work as a computer science intern, you won’t necessarily need professional experience because internships are there to help you acquire that. But your life skills can be important to showcase, whether a summer coding boot camp you attended or an app you developed. 

Some internships look for candidates with prior experience, and some advanced internships, like those that graduates or graduate students tend to pursue, may require a bachelor's degree. 

3 benefits of computer science internships

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

Simply put, an internship can be an excellent foot in the door. While it's not universal, some interns receive job offers if their work impresses a company and that company happens to be hiring. 

1. Gain work experience.

Your internship can help you decide which 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.

2. Learn about the industry.

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

3. Build your portfolio.

Your portfolio is an essential component of your future job search, and completing work as part of an internship can help you add to it. 

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

Improve your skill set with a Specialization in Python, C and C++, other programming languages, or Fundamentals of Computing. In the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate, you'll learn job-ready skills like Python and SQL fundamentals and other data science skills - no degree or experience required. You can also find internships available on Coursera for students and new graduates. 

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

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.