Tech jobs for college students: Gain work experience while earning your degree

Jobs for college students can help you gain valuable experience as you kickstart your tech career while earning your degree.
Written by Melissa Sartore, Contributor

A degree in a tech field is one way to stand out on the job market. Practical experience is another. Jobs for college students majoring in tech accomplish both at the same time. 

Getting a job in college may seem daunting in terms of time, energy, and effort. But working can supplement your studies, help you figure out what you want to do after graduation, and put money in your pocket, too. 

Why work in a technology job during college?

Working a technology job in college provides you with experience, money, and connections in the field. Jobs for college students help you decide what type of tech career you want to have and may even lead to a position after graduation. 

Tech jobs for college students give you hands-on experience that serves you well when you hit the job market. Many college jobs for tech students can be done remotely, making it a flexible and convenient option that accommodates your class schedule. 

Taking a job and classes at the same time provides you with the chance to apply what you learn directly to the workplace, giving you an edge when you hit the job market. You may also have the option to get college credit for the job as part of an internship or practical requirement. 

Things to know before starting a tech job while still in college

Tech jobs for college students fall into different categories. Internships are often unpaid, while part- and full-time positions offer hourly wages or salaries. Tax requirements vary depending on whether you're a contractor or employee.

Remember, if a job sounds too good to be true, it might be. Be cautious and inquisitive when you apply. Prepare probing questions to ask in an interview.

 You also need to make sure you don't overcommit and can successfully balance your job, your studies, and your other life responsibilities and priorities.

Tech jobs for college students: Our picks

Our top tech jobs for college students give you opportunities to use what you're learning in the classroom at the workplace while honing and building new skills. We've chosen jobs that typically offer flexibility in terms of hours and work location.

Ready to start applying? Here are ZDNet's favorite job search sites for tech roles and our advice on job applications. Read our guide to preparing for tech interviews for interview tips. Finally, check out our networking tips to take full advantage of the connections you'll make.

Call center tech support

Can be done remotely: Yes

Where to find openings: Microsoft, Google, AT&T websites; Glassdoor, Indeed, Flexjobs, Google search

Any prerequisites? No prior experience required; knowledge of operating systems, laptop and desktop hardware, and proprietary products may be required

Call center tech support jobs involve talking to customers and clients experiencing problems with their computer systems and programs. 

You troubleshoot the issues, walk them through the solutions, or identify someone who can if you are unable to do so. This experience may benefit you if you're pursuing an information technology degree.

This position can be remote, flexible, and part- or full-time. Many — though not all — employers accommodate your schedule and allow you to work hours based on your availability. 

You'll flex your computer science career hard skills as you solve technical mysteries and soft skills while dealing with difficult customers and problems you can't fix.

Data entry clerk

Can be done remotely: Yes

Where to find openings: Indeed, Glassdoor, Upwork, local employment listings, Google search

Any prerequisites? Typically, no prior experience needed; attention to detail and knowledge of database software is preferred. You also need to meet the company's system requirements.

Data entry may involve financial data, research information, and transcription. Knowledge of formatting, conversion, and specific topics may be necessary, but typing skills, accuracy, and attention to detail are essential.

The hours may be flexible and variable.

Data entry clerk jobs require a lot of time in front of a screen. Many find this job repetitive, isolating, and unengaging. On the plus side, working from home as a data entry clerk can allow you to be your own boss. 

Help desk technician at your school

Can be done remotely: Yes

Where to find openings: College or university website, department website, financial aid office, Google search

Any prerequisites? Enrollment at the institution is often a requirement, especially if the job is tied to financial aid. You'll need basic IT, computer, and problem-solving skills.

As a student, you likely already know the hardware and software used by many callers seeking IT help from the help desk. This is a good tech job for extroverts — it requires social skills, collaborative problem solving, and written and verbal communication. 

If you live on campus, the convenience of working nearby is a bonus. You may be able to work remotely, too. 

Hours may be limited, and the job may not be available during breaks and between semesters.

IT consultant

Can be done remotely: No

Where to find openings: Indeed, Glassdoor, Upwork, LinkedIn, Flexjobs, Google search

Any prerequisites? Knowledge of computer software and hardware systems and programs, programming languages, and business. Multiple years of experience in the tech industry. 

IT consultants determine a client's technology needs, seek technologies to fill them, and identify ways to optimize current systems' efficiency and performance. 

As an IT consultant, you can set your own hours. IT consultants may work remotely, but visits to clients to assess their current technology systems are required. 

Consultant roles are advanced and are typically out of reach for most traditional undergraduate students. Graduate students, especially those with work experience, are better positioned to become IT consultants.

Working as an IT consultant requires experience, depth of knowledge about the field, and managerial skills beyond those of an entry-level position. It also requires interpersonal, time-management, and problem-solving skills.

Technology intern

Can be done remotely: No

Where to find openings: Company websites, college and university departments, Indeed, internship websites, Google search

Any prerequisites? You may need to complete certain classes or a minimum number of credit hours before applying.

As a technology intern, you'll work alongside industry professionals to gain experience while applying what you've learned in class. Intern duties vary by company, industry, location, and degree level. 

Tech internships may offer a payment or stipend, but many are unpaid. 

Finding a tech internship at a company may lead to a job after graduation. Use your internship to establish networks and make connections for your future career. 

Website or app tester

Can be done remotely: Yes

Where to find openings: Software and website design company websites, Indeed, Glassdoor, Google search

Any prerequisites? Knowledge of programming, front- and back-end website development practices, quality assurance, and web applications may be required.

Website and application testers explore websites and apps for bugs, glitches, and other problems. They also provide feedback on the look and usability of a website. 

Website and application testers usually complete a checklist or testing process designed by their employer and document their findings. In some instances, they help troubleshoot issues. Communication, attention to detail, problem-solving, and analytical skills are essential for the role.

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