Most hiring managers agree that technology internships are a pre-requisite to landing a solid job after college. However, many 2-year schools don’t offer programs to get their students involved with the industry prior to graduation. With the sparse amount of Tech internships on Long Island, the Long Island Women in Tech team set out to help share tips to success with local college students to give them a head-start.
LIWiT Social Media Director, LaShana Breland (Shana) recently organized a panel discussion on Technology Internships for the Women in Computing club at Nassau Community College. Shana is a NCC alum, now working full-time as a Salesforce Administrator at the digital education giant, 2U. She recalls her post-college experience remembering the difficulty she faced when trying to land that first big gig after school – “There weren’t many opportunities for new graduates out there,” she said. I had to differentiate myself through experience.”
When NCC Women in Computing President, Zermina Kabir reached out to LIWiT to speak about Tech Internships, Shana felt compelled to help out.
“I vividly remember the difficulties I faced changing careers from Sports Medicine to Tech and wanted share my experience to help these students find their way as well,” Shana shared.
So on May 4th, Shana, along with LIWiT Founder & Vice President at tech startup Datagrid Systems, Stefana Muller and Global Onboarding Manager from CA Technologies, Marianne Cocco, presented a session for NCC entitled Tips to Finding a Tech Internship. The session answered the typical questions students have like when they should start looking for an internship, where they should look and how to get that first interview. The panelists also shared tips for preparing for the interview.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, Stefana Muller impressed upon the group. “I hate saying that because I don’t want to devalue your education, but it’s true. You have to network and make connections in the industry to land interviews for the best positions. Your skills won’t speak for themselves.”
Not only is networking key when landing interviews for internships, but it is essential when finding a role post-college, Stefana affirmed. “Every job I’ve secured over the past 20-years in this industry was found through my network.”
Marianne Cocco helped iron out the internship timeline for students new to the process. In her previous role in Campus Recruiting, Marianne often spent the summer and fall prior searching for potential internship candidates.
“Summer internship application season begins in fall of the year prior. Don’t short-change yourself by waiting until after the first semester to start looking,” Marianne shared.
Students and Professors had an opportunity to ask questions of the panel – some staying over an hour past the session to engage the speakers. The LIWiT team, Shana and Stefana, along with Marianne were excited to share their experience and help guide the students on their internship journeys.
Their presentation is available on SlideShare and below for anyone who would like to review.
What tips do you have for internship candidates? Share your advice for students in our comments below.
Women in Computing club has focused on bringing the tech industry into our college to help students gain a professional edge. We learned a tremendous amount in a short time through the session with LI Women in Tech. Students asked questions from which coding languages to learn and how to prepare for a technical interview to how to handle non-citizen status while pursuing internships. I truly feel this experience will help push many of us forward including the professors in the room! We can’t thank Shana, Marianne and Stefana enough for spending their valuable time with our students.Zermina Kabir