Being an intern at a small company is a huge commitment if it is done well. A company needs to develop an accountability program, design work, setup mentors, and give constant feedback and supervision for work that has the potential to be profitable. More likely than not, however, intern work will be a cost center. Why do small companies do it then? The answer is simple, it allows a company to build a bond with a junior person very early on in their career, and it provide them with a pipeline to select individuals that can have a very real impact on the company’s bottom line. Before you accept the job, you have to ask yourself:
Will I be a good investment for the company?
A good investment means that you have positioned yourself to make the company money. You need to understand the business model of the company you are applying for. Your goal is to make sure you won’t be a burden to the bottom line, that you are up on current technology trends, and you can contribute day 1 to a mission to help the company. If you show up and say, “I came here to learn. Can you teach me everything? What are my hours?”, you have walked into your internship with an F. To be effective, you need to have done prep work.
Every Software Company’s Dream Intern
Nothing is more powerful to a software company than a computer science student that has built a product end to end. In order to do that, a student must have mastered front end development (enough to get something working) and backend development (databases, APIs, hosting). They can demo that product from their open source github account or if it is private, be able to demo it confidently. What matters most is that it works, solves a problem, and you can explain how it functions.
The Perfect Answer To The Question
Why do you want to intern here?
I am super interested in the company. I read every word on your website, and I think that I can help you with ABC and maybe D. As I understand it, your company makes $ by doing X. I have being doing X and I can help you do X by 1,2,3. I don’t want a traditional internship. I am looking to secure a role in a high speed company and help grow it.
Prepping for your Internship
- Learn a simple modern day front end framework like react. It will take 2 weekends (both days) non stop to get through a few tutorials (40 hours)
- Learn a backend framework, like ExpressJS ( 40 hours)
- Use a PAAS (platform as a service like AWS) ( 40 hours)
- Set up logging to a remote location ( 8 hours)
- Setup database backups (1 hour)
- Build a rock solid login or use a third party login system (40 hours)
- Build role based views and actions into your application (40 hours)
- Integrate with a subscription service payment tool like Stripe. (20 hours)
Total = ~230 hours of self led, self managed time
Interested In A Software Internship?
We would love to talk with you if the article above didn’t scare you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.