How to Land a Data Science Internship: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

You can gain professional experience with a data science internship. Learn more about what you can do to find one with this guide.

[Featured image] A college student sitting on a step outdoors applies to a data science internship on his laptop computer.

A data science internship can be the first step to starting a career as a professional. Internships can provide networking opportunities, allow you to work with complex data sets, collaborate in a team environment, and experience the direct impact of your field of study. But what can you expect from a data science internship, and how do you find one? 

In this article, you’ll learn all you need about data science internships, from their benefits and requirements to where to find them and what you should consider before applying. You can also explore cost-effective online courses to help you learn the critical skills needed to excel in the field. 

Data science interns: benefits, duties, and required skills

If you’re seeking an internship, you're likely curious about the benefits, duties, and skills needed for the position. While every internship differs, the following sections outline what you can expect from most data science internships. 

Benefits

Internships offer many potential benefits, including gaining work experience, practising your technical skills in the real world, and building your resume to help as you embark on your career path. 

Typically lasting for a fixed amount of time, such as four months, internships also allow students and early career professionals to connect with a network of industry professionals. In some cases, an internship may lead directly to a job later. 

Skills

As a data science intern, the skills you’ll use may vary from one position to another. As a graduate student, you'll likely perform many more duties than an undergraduate in a similar position. 

The list below includes some of the most common skills expected of data scientists, which you will likely encounter as an intern in the field. 

Technical skills

Data scientists have a solid technical skill set that allows them to gather, analyse, and visualise data while developing data models that guide decisions and predict outcomes. 

To perform all these critical duties, data scientists must often have a firm grasp of the following technical skills: 

  • An understanding of programming languages, such as SQL, Python, or R.

  • The ability to visualise data using data science tools such as Tableau and Power BI.

  • An understanding of using machine learning to collect data and develop predictive machine learning models.

  • A grasp of software frameworks like Hadoop for processing big data. 

People skills

Data scientists must work with experts and non-experts to collect the best data and make the best decisions. As a result, they must embody some of the following common people skills: 

  • Teamwork

  • Communication 

  • Problem-solving 

  • Storytelling 

Data science internships: where to find them, requirements, and tips on applying

The first step to landing a data science internship is finding one. In this section, you'll learn where you should look, some standard requirements, and tips to help you when you apply. 

How to find a data science internship

You can find a data science internship by searching for available internships on a job posting website or by searching for internships on a business’ dedicated job page. 

Job posting sites

To find a data science internship on a job posting site, go to your site of choice and search “data science internship.” From there, you can view a list of currently available internships.

Some popular websites to search for internships in India include: 

Business’ dedicated job page

To find an internship on a business’ dedicated job page, go to a search engine, such as Google, and search “[business’ name] jobs.” Once on the dedicated job page, search for “data science internship” and see if any are available. You might also consider searching for a related position, such as a “data analytics internship” or “data science engineer internship.” 

Data science internship requirements

The requirements for each data science internship will depend on the nature of the position. Nonetheless, some of the most common internship requirements include the following: 

  • A grasp of programming languages, such as Python, Java, or C++ 

  • An understanding of scripting languages, such as SQL, Python, and R

  • An ability to work with others in a fast-paced environment

  • Research experience

  • Enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or a related field

Keep Searching

While many data science internships are geared towards those already enrolled in a relevant master’s degree programme, some target undergraduates or even high schoolers. No matter your current education level, possible internships are available to you.

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Tips on applying

You’ll want to put your best foot forward when applying. Consider the tips below to help improve your chances of landing your next internship.

1. Apply in advance. Internships can be competitive, so making an excellent first impression by applying well before the deadline is helpful. Suppose you're applying for a summer internship. In that case, consider applying early in the year or even in the fall of the previous year. Being early will give you time to ensure your application material is up to par. 

2. Apply to more than one internship. Data science internships can attract many strong applicants, so it’s best to apply to many internships rather than pinning your hopes on just one. 

3. Create a portfolio. You can highlight your skills by creating a portfolio of your past or current work. This can be an excellent supplement to your application. 

4. Lean into your network. Your existing network of professional contacts could help identify available internships and ask for feedback on your application material. 

5. Get a recommendation letter ready. Your application will likely require a letter of recommendation from a teacher or relevant individual who knows you well. Writing a recommendation letter can take time, so ask your recommender at least three weeks before the deadline. 

6. Fine-tune your CV and cover letter. Tailor your cover letter and CV to each internship. Your cover letter and CV are professional calling cards, so proofread them before submitting them. 

The data science internships available to you will continue to change as each position is filled and new ones become available. A search on Glassdoor in January 2024 revealed opportunities for data science internships in India at companies such as: 

  • Seagate Technology 

  • Assurant  

  • Airbus

  • Zappian

  • Brave AI Lab

  • Medtek.AI

  • Zupee

As you search for your internship, consider examples like those above to help you understand what other candidates are looking for—you may even land one yourself. 

Get ready for your internship.

A data science internship can mark the beginning of a new career. Consider taking a relevant course online to prepare for this next phase of your professional life.

While the University of Michigan’s Python for Everybody Specialisation offers beginners a crash course in programming, IBM’s Data Science Professional Certificate equips learners worldwide with career-relevant skills and experience.

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