I'm currently going through the process of applying for an Internship as I finish up my Sophomore year of college, after much pressure from a couple of friends and my professors. By 'pressure' I don't mean it in the negative sense, it's simply that I am unsure whether I would enjoy an internship (i.e. doing something that I love to do outright for someone else).

Obviously, this is inevitable, so I've decided to take the plunge.

Currently, I'm fairly confident with my resume, references, and CS/programming knowledge, but with this being a a new experience, I have some doubts. Specifically:

  1. Programming is no issue for me as I said before, but I have trouble communicating what I'm thinking when it comes to it (even more-so than usual). I have ADHD and am extremely scatter-brained, and I'm afraid that I will come off as incompetent. Obviously the solution is to practice, but how?

  2. I have a fairly in-depth knowledge of Java/Android/JVM in particular (for someone at my level). I don't say this as being a very strong point, I would like to minimize my weaknesses that include: having a decent grasp on the industry standards from a higher level/1000ft. view. For example, as of 2 weeks ago, the term "scrum master" meant nothing to me besides having a negative connotation associated with it, probably from browsing /r/programmerhumor. Is this something worth dedicating time towards? And if so, how should I do it?

  3. Is there anything else to do/be aware of going into this?

Any comments or replies appreciated, thank you!

  • 1
    I wouldn't worry about not knowing about management procedures. If anything is mentioned in the job posting, by all means look it up. Apart from that, an intern is pretty much expected to pick up company specific details on the job. – Llewellyn Mar 12 '17 at 17:06
  • please elaborate on "blindsided". To me this means someone hitting or attacking you when you weren't expecting it. What part of your application feels like a fight to you? What sort of attacks do you worry will come without warning? – Kate Gregory Mar 15 '17 at 19:38

Nice question.

Honestly I have been through this phase too. And almost everyone will at somepoint of time. There is nothing wrong. As you said you have good knowledge on "what you know" that actually an amazing thing. Sometime interns doesnt even know "what they know" they come and ask "what should i be putting in my resume" So you are better at this.

Internship is better and there is no down-fall to this. Because it is very short preiod usualy 3-6 months unlike actual job.

As you know your strength and weaknesses, use them appropriately and get a internship. I have also been telling my friends to get one because internship is kind of job appointment where you will be exposed to almost all expects of an organization. They usually roll you around the organization. Which will give you more knowledge and understanding what field you want to persue with.

  • Thanks for the answer, it's good to hear from someone who has it behind them. I'm sure it'll work out fine, but what are your thoughts on preparing for in-person interviewing? I think that's what I need to focus on the most since it'll probably have the most impact on what options I'll end up with for jobs. – Preston Garno Mar 12 '17 at 12:32
  • @null_pointers about the questions for in-person, is very very based on the company and the job-application. You may wish to tell me more about the job-description. to help me understand. – Smit Mar 12 '17 at 13:17
  • Don't know what all the job descriptions are, I'm just bulk-applying to 50+ that have a title like "Software engineering intern". No worries, I guess I'll probably get plenty of practice if my resume and cover look good enough. I'll just read over the generic ones and have a friend ask me them – Preston Garno Mar 12 '17 at 13:32
  • NO! Dont ever do that. That is considered bad practice and also named spamming You need to customise your resume to a specific job title. In my experience, I have never heard back from the compnay if i had sent an generic resume - that had all i did. So You to customise it. – Smit Mar 12 '17 at 14:14
  • And more about in-person, do a very good research in the company, and make sure to go through the job-description for the post you applying to. This will help you stick to the point and will deliver answers to what they have asked.\ – Smit Mar 12 '17 at 14:16

The best you can do is be polite and honest. If you don't know something, be honest about not knowing it... a good interviewer will be able to tell that you are faking it. If the interviewer really wants you to know a specific thing, and you don't, then that position will be a bad fit and the employer will remember that you basically lied and probably will not reconsider you for a part/full-time position in the future.

If you feel like you would be a good fit for the position as described on the job ad, but the questions are veering off into unknown territory, feel free to ask (politely!) how those interview questions relate to the position you are interviewing for. If the employer doesn't know how to perform a good interview for the position they are hiring you for, then most likely all of the existing employees are going to be bad fits for their positions, which suggests a bad work environment.

Remember - you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. It's good to ask questions and it's perfectly acceptable to decide that a company is a bad fit for you. Ideally, you want to find a company where you will be a good fit... where the skills you have will be useful, and the stuff you don't know won't hinder you. If the position you're interviewing for isn't a good match for you, then it's really best for you that you not get that position.

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