With the wide array of job titles and working environments available to emergent computer information systems (CIS) graduates, internships are a great way to sample a career path and build valuable skills before graduation.
While classroom knowledge is important for a strong foundation to build a successful career in any field, on-the-job-experience can tip the scales in favor of one candidate over another during a hiring process.
Many educational programs offer leads for internships, but it is up to the student to identify the best opportunities and build a strong portfolio by engaging fully in the process. Here are a few tips to help CIS students get the most out of internship experiences.
Clarify Goals Before Applying
Students who know what they are looking for in an internship experience will have an easier time choosing an appropriate match. Some students may want to explore a variety of job titles through a couple internships or may even use a summer internship experience not only to build valuable skills, but also explore a region of the country before permanently moving there.
Building a variety of practical skills in the field, as well as developing a more mature set of soft skills, can strengthen academic knowledge. Clarifying the set of industry experiences desired before choosing an internship can help make sure the choice is effective for the student and the employer.
Take a Serious Look at Possible Job Titles
Early in an educational career, it may be challenging to identify which jobs are of most interest. Getting involved in local chapters of professional associations and utilizing additional campus resources may help elucidate some of the most popular and productive internships for students in the field. Some of the most common internship experiences in CIS include:
- System Analysts who work with databases, programming, web page or Internet applications to assist with system design and more effective network development.
- Designers of varying types who assist with software modifications, interface applications, and other creative IT solutions to support organizational growth.
- Programmers/Software developers who utilize IT skills to expand the effectiveness of comprehensive networks across many organizational levels.
- Web-based professionals who combine marketing and IT skills to grow business using Internet applications such as social media to support business development.
Government agencies, small to mid-size businesses, multi-national corporations and private sector locations, such as schools and hospitals, all use internships to build a strong workforce. While competition for top internships may be tough, there are a wide range of settings from which to choose.
Choose Experiences that will Build a Well-Rounded Professional Profile
Internships provide a unique professional opportunity to build a well-rounded professional profile while completing necessary education. For students who actively engage in the process and seek top internships where pertinent on-the-job-training takes place, the internship can catapult a graduate into a lucrative career path. Interpreting classroom knowledge into real-world application can make a graduate’s résumé much stronger.
In addition to practical experience, students who complete internships also develop sought after soft skills such as: analytical and creative problem-solving ability; effective oral and written communication skills; team leadership skills; and successful organizational skills.
Internships are a great way for students to obtain career experience and experiment with different job titles before graduation. Exploring corporate culture while mastering technical skills can assist students in the sometimes difficult process of identifying a specific career path. Across industry and job titles a plethora of internship opportunities exist for CIS students to build strong professional profiles while completing online and traditional classes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many job titles such as analysts and software developers will experience strong growth throughout the decade. Completing quality internships can help a student become more success at obtaining a job where growth and competition are intense.
Tyana is a writer for Bisk Education. She works with the online programs from colleges such as Villanova University and New England College. Tyana covers a variety of topics centered around the collegiate community. She is currently a junior at the University of South Florida studying Technical Communications and New Media. Tyana has a passion for learning, technology and internet trends. Email Tyana or Follow her on Twitter: @tyana_daley