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What Is Involved in a Computer Engineering Internship?

By C. Mitchell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A computer engineering internship usually blends hands-on computer systems work experience with opportunities to learn about different career options in the computer systems engineering sector. When a computer industry company hires student interns, it usually has a number of goals in mind. First, of course, is to give the student some work experience. Most of the time, companies also want to educate the interns about careers within the corporation. Interns often rotate through many of a company's computer engineering departments and complete a variety of tasks.

Computer engineering is a field that changes regularly. New technologies are emerging almost every day, and society is more dependent on technology than ever before. Tasks like e-mail innovations, software development, and computer hardware manufacturing all fall to computer engineers. Computer engineering internships are a good way for science and technology students to get a feel for this emerging field, and to narrow their scope and focus their career path before finishing their basic schooling.

Internships are by nature designed to be short, temporary assignments. Most of the time, companies offer computer engineering internship opportunities over summer vacations. Students must usually be enrolled in some sort of computer systems engineering or electrical engineering degree program in order to qualify.

Most of the time, interns work under the close supervision of more senior computer engineers. Interns are often given independent projects, but do not have the autonomy of a full-fledged employee. They often perform a wide variety of tasks, from the mundane to the very challenging.

One of the main objects of a computer engineering internship is to expose students to real-life computer engineering, and to get them thinking about the sort of career trajectory they would like to pursue upon graduation. Naturally, the specifics of any internship will vary based on employer. A company that predominantly manufactures e-mail exchange platforms may not be able to offer a student experience in wiring hardware, for instance.

Just the same, rotation and job variety is still a part of the computer engineering internship experience, even if the focus is narrow. Interns often rotate through different divisions, and spend days or weeks working under different executives. Depending on the nature of the sponsoring company, interns often work as a part of test teams, and are usually encouraged to contribute their own ideas.

Most internships also include an interview and assessment portion. Usually at least once during the internship, and almost always at the end, interns will meet with the hiring manager to discuss their projects and overall experiences. This is usually a time for interns to express any likes or dislikes with the program, as well as to identify any areas of special interest to them.

Students who perform well during a computer engineering internship may be invited to join the company on a full-time basis after graduation. Not all internships are designed to be feeder programs for future employees, but many are. The possibility of securing more permanent employment can both motivate interns to perform at the top of their abilities, and can encourage a broad degree of talent in the internship applicant pool.

PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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