Internship – All You Need and Want to Know

All you need to know about internship

Table of Contents

When you want to learn something, you have several options to choose from. You can go to school and, in most cases, bury yourself under tons of theory or you can. You can also ditch school, college or university and jump right into the work process and start climbing the career ladder. There is, however, another option–internship. In this post you will find out what internship is, why you should think about it and how to find the best one for you.

What is an internship

The majority of you will probably have some idea about what internship is. However, there should be at least a brief information for the rest of readers having no clue what are they reading about. You can think about internship as something similar to a summer job. In most cases it is for a short period of time and unpaid. Yes, you read it right. It is a common thing that internship is not paid. Sometimes, you will even have to pay or offer something in exchange to become an intern. Don’t worry, this is not so common.

As said, internship looks very similar to a summer job. You can do it over the holidays while you don’t have to attend school. This is also the time (holidays) when it is the hardest to get an internship because there are a lot of other students interested in this kind of work as you are. When you become an intern in a company, your role is very similar to the role of a regular employee. You will probably do what you would otherwise being there on a full–time or on a summer job.

Why should you consider internship

Now when you have some idea about what internship is, the question you might ask is why you should even think about such a thing. As everything, internship too, comes with advantages, disadvantages and responsibilities. Let’s discuss the pros and cons that comes hand in hand with it.

The pros of internship

Since this blog is also about business, let’s think about internship that way as well. There are two sides participating in the trade–the employer and you. What commodities are we trading? You are offering your time and energy, basically manpower. That is decent offer. Now let’s take a look at the other side of the table. What benefits is offering the employer? Sadly, money are out of the game so what’s next? The third most important asset you can think about after money and time. Experiences.

The biggest reason why so many people want to do an internship is to get their hands dirty and learn on the move. This is also why the most of students are interested in doing their internships in startups. The rate of change and unpredictability there is much higher than anywhere else. Another advantage is high chance for you to try different hats, or roles. Meaning, even though you will start working on one thing, soon you can switch into more or less related area.

As a result, in just a month or two (getting back to holidays) you can learn twice as much as you would in the classroom. This speed of learning and a variety of knowledge you can gain is another advantage of internship. Tech startups are the best examples on this rapid change of responsibilities and roles. What’s more, startups are always looking for a great people to hire, even just for an internship.

Another advantage of being an intern is getting chance to get work opportunity from that company in the future, after finishing the school. In a fact, this is one of the ways startups, and companies in general, like to hire new people. By hiring people who were interns, company does not have to spend its time and resources to teach new employee all the nuts and bolts of his work. Think about it, what is better than to learn tons of useful knowledge, spend your time wisely and having a sure job when you will finish the school.

However, keep in mind that the knowledge and experience advantage might not apply to all situations. In some companies you will start as a “delivery guy” and two months later you will find yourself on the exact same position, knowing almost nothing new.

The cons of internship

We are living in a world where you have to take care about yourself. Meaning, even though you can live on the street, eat food (read garbage) from dumpsters and use a public showers to get yourself “in shape”, it is probably not even close to the life you would love to have. Anyway, what am I talking about? I am talking about the main thing that can discourage you, or anyone thinking and valuing his time, from internship–working for free.

You have read about this topic of free work couple times on this blog. In case of freelancing and having a business, my advice is to never work for free. It does not matter if it is your friend, family member or a startup, the answer is still no. The last one is not a joke. I was approached couple times by a startups to build the front–end for them. You know the answer. Remember, when you are working for someone you are using your time and you will never get it back. In case of internship the situation is a somewhat different.

Head back to the pros part and think again about the worth of real–life experiences and knowledge.

How to find the right internship for you

Now, since you know the what, why, pros and cons of internship the question is how you can find the right internship for you. What you should take in count is both, what are your current skills and their level and also what skills do you want to gain. Basically, you can do a quick SWOT analysis of yourself to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what you are good at and what you want to learn will help you narrow the options and find the best place for doing an internship.

If you are going to apply for an internship in industry you are familiar with (study orientation) and already have a decent skills in that area, your chances are on the rise. However, what if you want to work in an area where you have only little or no experiences? Well, you will have to learn how to sell yourself. Focus on your ability to learn fast, adapt to changing environment quickly and willingness to experiment. These traits may win you some hearts and trump the lack of skills. Remember, you have to offer something valuable to the company to balance lack of skills.

You should also have at least some idea about what do you want to do in the future. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at risk of realizing that you have spent your time on something useless. The clearer your vision for your future is, the easier it will be for you to find the right internship and possible hack the ladder.

Closing thoughts on internship

The one thing I want to warn you about, is that it is a common thing that in certain time (holidays, vacation, etc.) internships are kind of a hot stuff. So, if you are planning to try it, you had better start making the calls sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you might not find any “free” spot and end up spending your time from school working in McDonald’s or Starbucks. Anyway, I hope this post will help you get your hands dirty and get priceless experiences that will trump plain University or College any time.

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By Alex Devero

I'm Founder/CEO of DEVERO Corporation. Entrepreneur, designer, developer. My mission and MTP is to accelerate the development of humankind through technology.

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