Many people still imagine internships as a time for college students to network while serving coffee or making copies in office environments. Increasingly, however, interns represent not only a substantial portion of the workforce, but a crucial recruiting and assessment tool for companies looking for new talent.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in the intensely competitive technology sector, not only are internships more meaningful, but there are also a growing number of them.
Some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley, such as Google, have made a long habit of developing resources through internship programs. Smaller companies have also developed a growing interest in these kinds of trial periods, with online file storage site Dropbox and smart phone app developer Bump Technologies both deciding to increase the number of internships they are offering.
"More interns means more opportunities to bring people to the company," Dropbox engineering manager Rian Hunter told the Journal.
A recent survey of companies from two of the Bay Area's top venture funds for the technology sector found 93 percent of their earlier-stage start-ups have developed internship programs, and some venture firms themselves have begun searching for interns for their companies.
While American students might have easier access to these companies, students from abroad are also an important resource. Particularly given the dearth of engineering and programming students in many American schools, international students actually stand a strong chance of securing these internship positions.
Bump Technologies itself recently added an employee who had been attending Imperial College London before being lured away during a recruiting trip.
But access to internships in the technology field is hardly limited to students at schools. Dropbox sent its entire engineering staff out to recruit and still only visited a dozen schools. As an alternate method of seeking international internships, cultural exchange organizations offer a clear pathway to access internships and career training opportunities in the U.S. without needing a direct introduction to a company.
Some of these internships can pay quite handsomely, with Bump offering $10,000 for 12 weeks of work. But, all represent an unparalleled opportunity to showcase one's talents for a growing company in a thriving industry.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.