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Miha Klasinc

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How to Get a Software Engineering Winter Internship

A software engineering winter internship is a great way to get hands-on experience in the field. You can learn valuable skills like time management, accountability, and teamwork while getting a taste of the industry.

You can find great software engineering internships in your area on Handshake by using the job role search bar. You can also narrow down your options by filtering by location.

Be ready to learn on your own

During the winter, managers and mentors have less time than they do in the summer. This means they won’t be able to hover over your shoulder every step of the way. Instead, take this opportunity to learn on your own. Be a self-starter and work on whatever projects you’re assigned cheerfully. If you need help, ask. But don’t get offended if they say no.

Build software systems, develop platforms and build web frameworks. Learn agile development methodologies, pair programming, resiliency patterns and chaos engineering.

Design, test and deploy software solutions to solve technical problems and provide support for new product features. Work with engineers across Splunk to create innovative solutions that enable rapid development.

Know your stuff

A lot of information will be thrown at you as a software engineering intern. Take the time to write down important bits, like that obscure command you use to start up the database or a list of key domain objects you need to understand. This will save you from asking your teammates the same questions over and over.

If your team has a public discussion channel for their project, be sure to participate! Talking as a group can shed light on everyone’s thought/troubleshooting process and also facilitates collaboration.

Don’t be afraid to ask your mentor and fellow software engineers for help when you have a question. They may be able to give you a quick explanation or point you in the direction of resources that can help. Also, if you can’t find an answer to your question, try looking at the blame revision (if available) to see who wrote the code that you’re trying to understand.

Take advantage of mentors and managers

There’s a lot that goes into software engineering, and while you can learn much of it on your own, an internship is a great way to experience the day-to-day. It’s easy to glamorise careers and only focus on the interesting bits, but an internship will give you a fuller picture of what it really takes to push technology forward.

Take advantage of your mentors and managers, but remember that they are busy people. They don’t have time to monitor your every move, and you shouldn’t expect them to. Instead, take the opportunity to discuss your goals and career path with them and ask them for war stories.

It’s also a good idea to set up a series of 30 minute 1:1 meetings with your intern manager, team’s eng manager, tech leads and other engineers familiar with the codebase you’re working on. This will help you get up to speed quickly and understand how your work fits into the larger picture.

Be flexible

The intern application process is often very competitive, and many companies will start reviewing applications before the official deadline. If you’re interested in a particular company, try to apply as close to their typical deadline as possible so that your application has the best chance of making a good impression on the recruiter.

Once you’re an intern, you’ll likely have to learn on your own without much help from mentors and managers. This means that you will need to be flexible and able to adapt quickly. For example, if your company uses a different programming language than what you’re familiar with, it’s important to be prepared to pick up this new skill.

It’s also important to make time to socialize with coworkers, both fellow interns and experienced employees. This is a great way to meet people who may be potential connections in the future. Moreover, talking to experienced people can help you understand the realities of software engineering in a specific industry or business.

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