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I'm a rising junior (going into 11th grade) and have a great desire to find and participate in a programming internship while I am still at high school. I have a lot of free time during the school year. During summer I am generally free. Grades are not an issue.

I know C++, Java, PHP, and I know some Python/Javascript. Also, I have some experience with reverse engineering using IDA Pro. I have interest primarily in back-end development. I haven't been able to find any opportunities for high school students. The closest offers I found was a front-end development position (I really don't like design), and a tutoring position. If I was only interested in making money, the tutoring position would be fine, however, I wish to have real world back-end development experience.

A big issue with finding a job during high school is legal. For reference, I live in Massachusetts and I am 16 years old, so I am legally allowed to obtain a work permit which doesn't prohibit programming jobs. I'm unsure what to do at this point, as there are no opportunities available in my state involving what I'd like to do.

Has anyone gone through this process? How can I achieve my goal of finding a programming internship?

Thus is not a duplicate of the engineering internship at 16 question because the answers to that question primarily pertain to Engineering, not Programming. Also, the answers seem to all give one answer "networking". I do not really have "networks"/people to contact.

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  • Do you want an internship or experience? Experience you can get by working on bigger projects by yourself, just find some ideas and start researching and trying backend tecnologies.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 20:25
  • @GrayCygnus Both, I want to work on projects with a company, not by myself.
    – Rob Gates
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 20:26
  • @Joe Strazzere I have tried to do so, but their version of "high school internships" is working at Dunkin Donuts or getting an "internship" at an ice cream shop. They don't really have technological opportunities.
    – Rob Gates
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 20:27
  • I found this related question that may be worth reading. Also this other one
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 20:30
  • 6
    Possible duplicate of How to apply for engineering internships at 16?
    – David K
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 12:09

2 Answers 2

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This is an interesting question. I used to hire a lot(!) of college interns, and that might be a viable route. I.e., sign up for some college-level classes (some high schools will let you take them for credit towards graduation instead of your normal courses), then ask the CS or Engineering internship placement office for help.

If that won't fly, reach out to the local startup incubators. You may find an opportunity to invest some sweat equity in one of their ventures. Also try raising your question on Hacker News; there are undoubtedly a lot of people there who might know of an opportunity.

Also do the obvious: look for job listings titled "internship." If you're old enough to work, you're not legally obligated (AFAIK) to reveal your age unless they ask (and if they do, they're taking a legal risk that is off-topic here.) I presume you'll have to stick to part-time opportunities though, which will limit this option pretty severely.

If you've tried the above and it doesn't work, reach out to me directly. I know some people out your way who might be able to help.

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Your best approach is networking with friend of your parents and the parents of your friends.

There are quite a bit of "hidden jobs" out there that are gotten through networking with people. Someone's company might not have an opening right now, but upon hearing an inquiry of "Hey, Bob, my son's friend was wondering if we have any programs for HS kids. Yeah, he's a programmer"

Another approach is going to a charity or the volunteer office of a local hospital and explain that you want to donate your time as a programmer".

You could also go to a site like gig guru or rat race rebellion and do some independent consulting.

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