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I accepted an offer for an internship in a company I am really excited to work for. However, I have come to realize that I am much more interested in a different internship position in the company.

BACKGROUND: I applied for the first role (UX) because it incorporated my psychology major with tech. However, I have come to realize that I am much more interested in more coding/stat/technical roles. I got a chance to try out UX research this semester and felt 'meh' about it. However, I find that I really look forward to any coding assignment/project, things related to stats (SPSS, SAS, Data Mining), and especially my database management course. I don't have near enough knowledge to get any sort of dev. internship. However, there is a role in the same company (web analytics) that sounds more up my alley.

QUESTION: Is it that big of a deal to go ahead with an internship position in something I KNOW I don't want to do for my career? Do you think it would be a mistake to go ahead with it? How can I make myself not feel so icky about this?

I don't feel like inquiring about the other position would give them a very good impression of me (and I really like this company!) and I think the original role will still be reasonably enjoyable. It is just not where my passion is right now. :/

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    "I don't feel like inquiring about the other position would give them a very good impression of me (and I really like this company!)" -- Why do you think so? In my experiences with internships, my supervisors wanted to help me find what I liked to do, and encouraged branching out. – Carolyn Mar 2 '13 at 0:36
  • Why do you feel like UX and coding aren't related? There are plenty of people who do both, and more besides. – Amy Blankenship Mar 2 '13 at 1:34
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Even if you don't want to do it for your career, you will get a lot of valuable experience out of the internship. A programmer who has experience with UX has a leg up over others. Even if you aren't involved in a lot of the UX design of your next project (if you continue with "traditional" programming), you'll understand why those decisions have been made, and can contribute ideas back to that team.

Additionally, you aren't expected to do in your career what you've done in your internship. This is your opportunity to learn what aspects of the industry you're really interested in. It's probably also your first exposure to a "real world" job - you'll learn as much about the non-technical portions of working as you will the "meat" of your chosen profession.

You also need to look at this internship as getting your foot in the door with this company and industry. Meet everyone you can. Make contacts. Talk to the people outside the UX team especially - if you do well in your UX internship, you may be able to parlay that into a programming job in the future with that same company.

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I think you're worrying too much. If you make it very clear that your number one priority is the company, anything else you say will generally get soaked up in all the pride.

Make it clear that it's just an inquiry, that most of your excitement is about the company, but you feel that one role might be a little more exciting than the other very exciting role, making it more likely that you'll stay with the company, who you're very excited about working for, for even longer. And did you mention that you're very excited about this company? You did? Good. Now how about this coding role?

See what I mean?

I have done this twice. Once I ended up with the role I wanted more; the other time I didn't. And neither time did it make any negative difference that I'd asked, because they were more impressed by how excited I was to work for them.

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