Every year has the inevitable job search. Fresh college graduates searching for internships, eager to gain any kind of experience. My experience with this has been much the same. Around fall (September – November), companies usually are hiring and searching for interns!
This is the chance you can make your resume stand out to recruiters and engineering managers who may glance over your resume. Typically speaking, most managers want to look for someone who has the technical skills to fit their team. Plus during the interview stage, they want someone who will come back to the company because retaining talent + a good team member is their goal!
How do you prepare?
Most often, a polished brushed up resume is ideal to have. Demonstrate technical prowess for the position you are applying for! For example, it’s good to have golang projects or Rust projects in your GitHub if you’re applying to companies that use it in their production systems (Meta/Facebook, Google, DigitalOcean, etc) and if you’re applying for a SWE intern position. You can also add in some frontend / fullstack projects too to show your frontend skills if you apply for a SWE front end internship. In your free time, you can brush up on your coding skills (Cracking the Coding Interview, Leetcode, etc).
Preparing for the Interview
You’ve been selected! Congratulations! This is one step closer. Typically you will have several interview stages: one with a manager and several interviews with the engineers on the team. I think the best way to approach these is to show your motivation, skillset, and knowledge.
Negotiating the Offer
Once receiving the offer, sometimes you may want to negotiate if you receive multiple offers from different companies. The recruiter doesn’t necessarily have to increase the offer but you should definitely let them know of the competing offers so they have time to possibly come back with a counter offer. A great resource to use is https://www.levels.fyi/. You can take a look at existing salaries especially when applying for full time! My personal experience is that companies doing remote work will give you an offer based on typical salaries based in your zip code. You might want to consider the Bay Area and possibly move shortly afterwards to retain your higher salary.
Personal Experience w/ Interviews
I’ve been lucky to have such a wide set of skills and internship experience. I’d say the most challenging interviews came from Google and DigitalOcean. I was an intern at Google X, the Moonshot Factory, on the Everyday Robot Team helping develop a front end tool for use with a VR headset. I was able to land this interview actually due to my technical skills with many React projects and also being a Boy Scout (my manager was one too!).
Similarly at DigitalOcean, my manager also went to UC San Diego and completed his Master’s degree there as well. He also enjoyed the interview process with me and definitely grilled me on Operating System questions (I almost passed!). The other interviews with the other engineers went pretty well as I was just supposed to describe / answer generic Object Oriented programming questions which was quite straightforward with review.
I’d say overall, best to expand your extracurriculars and keep your coding skills sharp! You never know when they’d come in handy. If you like to see more of this content, please consider subscribing to my blog!