"I'm looking for a summer internship ... I've been looking at some of the big companies (Google, Amazon, etc) but I suspect that there are a lot of interesting places I don't know about..."
There's lots of advice out there espousing the value of internships. We agree. Getting an internship (or more) under your belt can be a great way to build up practical experience and provide real-world examples of your work when it comes to applying for full-time roles. However, that's the theory. How about the practice? How should you go about finding internships? Who offers them? How can you source them?
We generally advise trying a few different paths
- Look on Job Boards. You'll usually a smattering. For example, Indeed.com usually has some, as does Glassdoor.com, while Start-Up Hire has start-up oriented ones (and you can sign up for alerts when more are posted)
- Search on Twitter, where people more informally send them around. If you type “#datascience internship” into the search bar you should see several
- Search on Google. It may seem overly obvious, but you can find some that way, which for whatever reason don't surface in other channels.
- Check out companies who've offered them in the past. While not a gaurantee they'll do so again, it at least shows they may be open to it (and even have a formal process). There are a couple of ways to do this.
- LinkedIn. If you search on LinkedIn for "data science intern" you'll find profiles of people who have interned at different companies. Voila! Companies who've offered Data Science internships in the past :)
- This Quora Thread lists several companies who were hiring Interns in Summer 2015 - worth checking if they're doing so again
- Proactive outreach. Many places may be interested in having an intern - from their point of view it can be a great (low cost) way to an extra pair of hands and finding full-time hires - but, they may not be formally looking. For example, we were recently chatting to a Hiring Manager, who described their approach as
"largely opportunistic about finding good DS interns"
So, proactivity is key. If there are companies you'd be interested in, reach out! But, have an idea (or two) in mind for projects you could do to help them. You're much more likely to pique their interest, look motivated, and come across as business-savvy (versus just well technically qualified) if you've thought about how Data Science could help their business.
That should give you a good start, so time to get to it...
How to take action now!
Use the above to come up with a list of 10 places you'd want to intern given your skill-set and interests. Make sure to have some "proactive" ones in there, as they can perversely be easier to get - if no-one else is applying your odds are higher (assuming you tailor your outreach with some specific ideas) :)