Are you a computer science student that spends hours trying to understand algorithms, data structures and different programming languages? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to apply these concepts in the real world? Working while still in school can help you bridge the gap between theory and practice. It can also set you apart from your peers in the job market!
It is scary to start a part-time job while still in school, but there are many benefits to doing so. Student internships and jobs are a great way to gain practical experience in engineering, apply knowledge to real-world scenarios and build your network. Additionally, you will earn money which is cool, all while developing your financial and time management skills.
So, are you ready to take a leap? Here are 10 reasons why you should start looking for opportunities while still in school and kickstart your career. Let’s dive in!
1. Develop technical skills
Working while in school provides an opportunity for developing technical skills that you may not acquire solely through classes. In school, you mostly work on a little bit of everything. By working on real-world projects, you can learn new programming languages, tools, and technologies that are in high demand in the job market. This hands-on experience helps with gaining practical problem-solving skills, troubleshooting technical issues, and debugging code in a fast-paced, real-world environment.
2. Gain practical experience in the field
By finding an internship, you apply the engineering knowledge gained in the classroom to real situations. You will discover new use cases and get a better understanding of how software engineering principles you learned about in school can be used in the industry. This is the best time to figure out what you do and don’t like so you can focus on your areas of interest within the field.
In addition to coding, there are a lot of different software development processes that companies follow. Some of them are agile development and continuous integration and delivery. Learning about them will help you understand the software development lifecycle, from requirements gathering and design to implementation, testing, and maintenance.
3. Learn from experienced professionals in the field
Most teams have junior, mid-level and senior developers, as well as a team lead and a project manager. That means you’ll most likely be surrounded by experienced professionals. They will keep you in the loop about new technology and industry trends, best practices such as peer review and clean coding, and they’ll share valuable advice that you can use to help your knowledge grow.
Engineering internships are an even better way of starting your development career, as you will probably have a dedicated mentor that will guide you along the way, and provide valuable feedback and advice to help you grow as a developer. Don’t be shy to bother and annoy your mentor, the sooner you understand the basics, the sooner you can become an important part of your team!
4. Explore different areas of computer science
The beauty of internships is that they give you the chance to try different things until you find something that you truly enjoy. Engineering is beautiful and this is the time to experiment and discover what you’re passionate about. You might find that you are great at something unexpected or that a niche industry sparks your interest. So don’t be afraid to explore different paths until you find the one that’s right for you.
5. Gain exposure to different technologies and tools
Piggybacking off the last point, working while still in school can be a great way to get your foot in the door and expose yourself to different technologies and tools that are used in the industry. The world of tech is constantly evolving, and there are always some new libraries, frameworks, and tools. Finding the one that you like the most and becoming great in it from early on could be the key to a successful career. If you don’t fall in love with a programming language or a framework, there’s still no reason to be scared! By working on many projects, you will have experience with many different tools and technologies, and you’ll be up-to-date with industry trends and remain competitive in the job market.
6. Learn how to work in a professional environment
Did you ever miss a homework deadline or sleep through a class? What about getting in a fight with peers or being angry about a bad grade? On engineering internships, you will often learn not only how to code, but also proper work etiquette. Only after you master that will the company let you work with real clients and join real projects. You must learn how to manage your time and prioritize tasks based on importance and deadlines. This is especially important in fast-paced industries such as gaming, where deadlines can be tight, and if you know how to manage your time, that can be a big advantage in your career.
When there are deadlines involved, stress and pressure can also be present. Whether it’s a tight deadline, a difficult client, or a challenging project, there will be times when work will get you biting your nails. However, learning how to deal with these situations while remaining focused will make you stronger and will help you all throughout your life.
Besides developing all those skills, another thing to keep in mind is learning effective communication. That includes writing professional emails, giving presentations, and communicating with colleagues and clients in a clear and polite way. You’ll also learn how to navigate difficult conversations, negotiate, and collaborate with team members who may have different communication styles. In addition, taking feedback and criticism constructively is a sure way to stay on top of your game. It is hard to receive negative feedback, but it can also help you reach your full potential. Receive feedback in a positive and productive way, and then use that feedback to improve your work.
7. Develop teamwork and collaboration skills
Teamwork and collaboration are important in almost all computer science roles. By working on projects with colleagues, you will learn how to collaborate, share ideas, and work together to achieve a common goal. This not only helps you in the professional world but also in your academic projects!
Most teams have specific procedures when it comes to collaboration and teamwork on a project, including meetings, sprint planning, one-on-one sessions, and communication channels like Microsoft Teams, Discord, or Slack. There are also different planning tools such as Jira and Trello. You will participate in code review, brainstorming, pair programming etc. Therefore, it is important to learn how to communicate effectively, how to ask meaningful questions and how to keep track of everyone’s work. All of this hands-on experience is great for finding your first big job!
8. Build your professional network
Your career journey is not only all about developing your skills, it’s also about meeting friends along the way! <3 Whenever you meet someone new, you expand your network a little bit more and create new potential opportunities. By building relationships with colleagues, bosses, and managers, you can gain access to advice, guidance, and potential job offers. Your friends can connect you with their employers and recommend you for job positions. This can be a key factor in opening doors to new and exciting career opportunities. So, remember always to make a good impression, be nice and open to making new connections and build your professional network of friends in the industry!
9. Earn money
Working while still in school can actually help you earn some extra cash! That’s right, not only can you gain practical experience and develop important skills, but you can also make money while doing it. Whether it’s a part-time job, freelance work, or an internship, working while still in school can provide a much-needed boost to your bank account.
And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a little extra cash? So if you’re looking to earn a bit of extra money and add something to your gadget or travel budget, start applying to offers today!
10. Enhance your job prospects after graduation
When you start working while still in school, you’re already ahead of the competition. Employers will notice your initiative and drive, and they’ll be more likely to take a chance on you. In addition to practical experience, you’ll gain important soft skills like teamwork, communication, and time management, all of which are highly valued in the workplace. You’ll make valuable industry connections that will open doors to potential job offers after graduation. Having work experience on your resume can also make you stand out from other recent graduates who may lack practical experience. You’ll be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you have already proven yourself in a professional environment and that you have the skills needed to succeed in your chosen field.
So go ahead and take that first step towards your future career. Work hard, learn as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. And if you ever feel lost or unsure, remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to your peers, professors, or even the community. They’re here to support you and share their experiences to help you succeed.
PS: If you’re not sure where to start, why not take a shot and reach out to us to see if we have any open engineering internship positions?
Good luck on your journey, and we can’t wait to see all the amazing things you’ll achieve!