Gas station without pumps

2014 June 22

Internships in engineering

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:08
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There has been a lot written in the past year about unpaid internships and how they are (mostly) illegal ways of skirting labor laws.  Internships in engineering have not been that way as long as I can remember (which means the last 40 years in this context).  More typically, internships in engineering fields pay entry-level wages and are treated like entry-level jobs, except without the expectation of long-term employment. Companies often hire from their pool of interns, though, so the internship is something like probationary hiring.

Here is an example of a (somewhat poorly written) ad for an internship opportunity at a local company that is part of the game-design industry.  I’ve left off the company name and contact information, because I don’t know how widely they were circulating the internship offer. I also rearranged some lines that seemed to have been scrambled in the e-mail copy I got of the job announcement.

Internship Highlights:

  • 3–6 month duration, full-time during summer, p/t an option in the fall
  • $20-$30/hr salary range, depending on experience
  • Seeking CS students with the following backgrounds and interests:
    • Data friendly—most of what they do centers around data of various types
    • Statistics friendly—same as above
    • Don’t require lots of pre-existing knowledge
    • * Do require the ability and desire to learn
  • Ongoing development in three areas:
    • Web App—they have a python (django) based web-app; HTML & Javascript
    • Client work—they have client libraries that run on phones and tablets. This is actually more about client libraries like Unity or Corona than it is about core device programming
    • Server work—they’re a java shop on the server side. 
  • In all areas, students with prior experience are preferred (i.e. client engineers who’ve used a game development framework before; server engineers who’ve written Java code, etc.)

Note that this internship favors experience, but it not calling out “must-have” specific platforms or languages. The (fairly small) company uses Python, Javascript, and Java all on the same project, with multiple different libraries—it remains useful for students to have learned several different programming languages and frameworks.

Also interesting is the specific request for students who know statistics—something that CS departments have historically not bothered teaching.  Even with the recent emphasis on “big data”, the CS degree at UCSC requires no statistics, only a course on probability. If I were advising CS students, I’d suggest that they take the statistics course which is the followup to the probability course they are required to take.  Currently, their list of approved electives doesn’t even include the statistics course!

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