August 27, 2015 Polcode
Waiting to work in IT only after graduation?
Generally speaking, most of us go to university for one of two reasons. One of which is the possibility of extending that beautiful period of free and unencumbered life for another 3 years after high school, and for the luckier ones, a whole 5 years. If this is your approach, then you needn’t read on any further.
The other is to build a solid base for a future career – and for those choosing this option, the following is directed at you. If this is your ultimate plan for your studies, then surely you have already come to the conclusion that solely attending classes and taking exams at university will not be enough. Graduates from a myriad of degrees and specialisations compete with peers during their job hunt, some of whom in addition to graduate diplomas can offer one more, very important, element: work experience. By this we don’t just mean filling in a gap on a CV, but the actual knowledge regarding the industry – companies and people of importance, the specifics and requirements of a position as well as the current popular tools in the desired branch.
Those studying computer science, and the fields related to it, can from the get-go choose from a wide variety of paid work experience programs, internships, and even part-time work within their fields. Sure, the salary isn’t usually mind-blowing, however, I strongly recommend that you make the most of these opportunities for as long as you can let yourself work for a small salary.
What specific benefits can you attain from taking part in an internship program?
You’ll convince yourself about what you want to do
Internships generally focus on the intern performing simple duties, supporting a few different positions. By being able to have a look at the day to day tasks conducted in these positions, you’ll be able to decide a bit more easily what kind of work you want to do over the next few years.
You’ll convince yourself what you don’t want to do
By carrying out the tasks usually associated with the job that in the future you might want to be in is the only way to verify your plans. It may just turn out that after a month assisting someone whose job it is to test games you’ll find that the work doesn’t match your personality at all. Isn’t it better to know this BEFORE you jump into a career in game testing?
Discover the world, which isn’t perfect
Reality has an unlimited amount of variables that are distant from the ideal, something that is impossible to predict during your studies. Just from the clichéd idea that creating an application for a client is different from a university project hides a multitude of emotions. The only way to experience these emotions is to try your hand at a commercial project.
Acquire some business finesse
You won’t even notice how much you’ll learn – even something as as simple as picking up and using the most appropriate language in emails. Sure, it seems small, but it will have an immense impact on how you are perceived by your employer. Naturally, there also exist more important abilities that you can learn whilst interning, which you’ll use throughout your entire professional career, for example, differentiating between real and superficial pressure.
Get to know the tools of the trade
Interns get to work with the same tools as the rest of the company. This is will allow you to wade through the requirements in jobs ads, such as ‘the successful applicant must have detailed knowledge in….’, without any headaches.
Gain a critical look at the content presented at universities
Many of your lecturers do try to prepare you for a career as best they can. Unfortunately, technology changes much faster than university syllabuses.
From my own experience meeting with students and graduates of IT, as well as their related fields, I would like to make some suggestions as to how to best choose work experience programs. Most of the following pieces of advice are more directed to students looking for internships, and thus, not exactly applicable if you’re a graduate.
Don’t pay attention to the salary
We’re going to work until we’re 70 years old, and unless you have to support yourself independently, your current task is to prepare for yourself the most appropriate start of a career. Will a couple of hundred really make a difference right now? Try to avoid the situation in which you can’t depend on financial help anymore and are forced to work in a job that you don’t like in order to earn a living.
Try different positions
As jobs that don’t require any work experience are usually quite meagerly paid, try to get the most out of them. Check out a few companies, branches, positions – the more experience, the more consciously you’ll be able to plan your career. And when you’re looking for a job, you’ll be able to choose those internships in your CV that you want to pride yourself on.
Corporations or SMB?
This is the ideal moment to make up your own mind regarding the pros and cons of working in a multinational corporation. Completing an internship there and then comparing the experiences gained in a medium-sized business will give you the basis for a well-thought-out decision regarding your professional career.
University doesn’t last all that long, and it would be a waste to spend two or three months in a dull internship. It’s definitely worth knowing as much as possible about the company and its internship program – and the best way to do this is by talking to the people that have taken part in them.
Małgorzata Pająk, HR Manager