Getting an internship with a tech company: Your how-to guide

Getting a tech internship doesn't need to be difficult. This handy guide gives you the steps to networking and finding the right tech internship for you.
Written by Hannah Riley, Contributor
Black woman talking with colleagues sitting in circle at a coworking office.
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College is often hectic, and trying to score an impressive tech internship can feel overwhelming. If you're interested in the tech industry, an internship allows you to apply your newfound skills — and perhaps line up a post-graduation job. In other words, it's an important step in your career.

Whether finance, software, or engineering interests you, tech internships are available to you. Companies of all types hire hundreds of interns every season. 

Read on for practical advice on deciding what kind of internship you want and tailoring your resume for tech internships to prepare you for recruitment. 

What is a tech internship?

Tech internships are an opportunity to earn college credits, test-drive a job, and apply practical knowledge to real-life situations. Completing an internship is a good first step toward your career. Some internships end in a part-time or full-time job offer. 

Tech companies hire for internships year-round. Companies like Google, Meta, Airbnb, and Uber hire hundreds of interns each session. Most internships start in September, January, and June and last two to three months to align with school semesters. 

How much internships pay depends on the company. Some companies pay hourly or a set amount for the entire term. Unpaid internships are less common now but still exist. Review intern pay policies before applying at companies that interest you.

Tech internship benefits

  • Practical experience to add to your resume 
  • Networking opportunities for future career opportunities
  • School credits
  • Possible compensation
  • Possible higher earning potential due to experience
  • Potential job offer after internship completion

How to land a tech internship

Landing a tech internship relies on proper prep work. Pick the right internship, learn how to network, and prepare for interviews to set yourself apart from other applicants. 

1. Start preparing early

Start looking no later than the season before the internship starts. 

If you're looking for a role during the school year, you should apply three to six months before the internship starts. You'll have time to plan your course load or determine any additional scholarship needs

Courses like basic programming will prepare you for internship applications before recruitment starts. Other students will likely take the same courses, so set yourself apart with side projects and extracurriculars. 

Networking is an easy way to get a referral, so try to start networking as early as possible. 

Alumni from your school who work at your desired company are a good place to start — you already have something in common. 

2. Decide what kind of internship you want

Tech is an enormous field with hundreds of potential job titles. Start paying attention to the industry. Follow tech news sources — such as this very website — to learn more about it. 

Consider the size of the company and the company culture you're interested in. Here are some big tech companies looking to hire students: 

  • Alphabet
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Meta
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Amazon
  • Tesla
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Read Crunchbase, company blogs, and Glassdoor to make sure the company you're interested in is a good fit for you. 

If you want to turn an internship into a job, focus on employers known for hiring interns. Don't be afraid to ask about post-internship roles. You're saving yourself and the company time by being upfront with your intentions. 

3. Explore multiple avenues to find internships

No matter what school you attend, it likely offers career services. Most schools offer resume reviews, mock interviews, or advice on choosing the right internship. 

Check your school's career portal for companies that have already agreed to recruit from your school. Don't forget to browse job search sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, WayUp, and other common job boards. 

Networking is a valuable skill you can use throughout your entire career. 

READ THIS: How to network as an introvert

Seek alumni and others who live in your area and work in your intended field, and ask them to coffee via LinkedIn. You might be surprised how many people happily accept your offer. Remember that most people are happy to help since they were once in your position.

Even if a connection you make doesn't get you an internship offer, keeping in touch with networking connections might help you get a job later. 

4. Strategically prepare for recruitment

You can prepare for landing your tech internship by preparing for the specific position you want. Know the industry and company you're in the recruitment process with. 

Build a portfolio full of relevant projects. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each company you apply to. And prepare specific, detailed questions to ask in an interview.

Don't be afraid to find past interns on LinkedIn and read their internship job descriptions. Be sure you know the basics of performing all the listed tasks.

Take advantage of your school's career center. Whether you're interested in web development, software engineering, or video game development, your career center can assist you with tailoring your resume and creating a compelling cover letter. Have someone review your application materials before submitting them.

5. Accept an internship that's right for you

Before accepting an internship, make sure that it matches your career goals, has real responsibilities, and fits into your schedule. 

Companies that pay their interns or offer possible job placement show they value their interns and may give you a better internship experience. 

Ask past interns about their experience or look on Glassdoor to ensure the company culture is right for you.

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