“The employer motivation is stronger than it’s ever been, the span of candidates that they will consider for internships is wider than it’s ever been, [and] the demand for tech talent has never been as great.” -Gregory Mass, CDS
Internships are like movie trailers: they allow students to experience what it’s like to work in their field, so they can decide whether or not to stay in their major, and if so, what future classes to take.
“An internship is one of the best things a student can do,” said Michele Bell, one of the four academic advisors for the Ying Wu College of Computing Sciences (YWCC). “It lets you see if you’re in the right major. We recommend it to all students.”
Aside from validating your career choice, internships provide many other benefits. By working in the “real world”, students gain valuable work experience. Experience-based learning helps students improve knowledge of their field. Additionally, they may even learn new concepts and get the opportunity to work with equipment and methods they may not typically be able to access.
For example, when I interned at the Rutgers University Wireless Information Network Laboratory (WINLAB) as a high school student, I had the chance to work with the Microsoft Hololens for a project involving augmented reality —something I would never have been able to do on my own, due to the $3,000 price tag.
Another perk is the chance to develop one’s soft skills. Internships allow students to learn how to interact with coworkers, gain experience in a corporate structure, practice professionalism, and broaden their network. They are also a resume boost, which can in turn help attain future internships. It’s a virtuous cycle!
Now that you know about the joys of internships, the question is obvious: ”How do I get one?”
Some tips that Bell suggests include:
- meet with your career advisor
- visit Career Development Services (CDS)
- keep your GPA up
- thoroughly research the companies and fields in which you’re interested
- prepare your resume before you start applying for internships.
Additionally, Bell emphasized the necessity of “exploring all possibilities—don’t limit yourself just to Handshake and the NJIT career fair.” Networking with people, from classmates to coworkers, to past and current professors, could provide you with unexpected opportunities.
That said, the NJIT career fair is a perfect stepping stone for internships. With the career fair coming up this Wednesday on February 13, now is an excellent opportunity to search for internships.
“The employer motivation is stronger than it’s ever been, the span of candidates that they will consider for internships is wider than it’s ever been, [and] the demand for tech talent has never been as great,” said Gregory Mass, Executive Director of the Career Development Services. “So there are a number of environmental external factors that really work in the favor of students who attend NJIT, because of their major, the reputation of the school, and the employer emphasis on developing relationships sooner with students.”
As someone who has overseen over 60 career fairs at NJIT, Mass has an abundance of solid advice for students planning to attend the career fair. He likens career fairs to amusement parks; there are many attractions along with the endless lines and crowds—and you want “to maximize your fun by eliminating the amount of time that you’re waiting.”
Mass recommends going to the career fair as early as possible and developing a plan of action by deciding which employers you want to visit the most, as many hardcore roller coaster enthusiasts would do with amusement parks and rides.
Although there is a math common exam on the same day as the career fair, Mass hopes as many students as possible will take advantage of this event. Best of luck to all students, and happy job-hunting!