Software Development Internships

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#1 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Software Development Internships

Post icon  Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:15 AM

Is it hard to get a good internship if the only language that you know is Java? I am still a noob, but I recently tried to get into C++ and I just don't like it at all, I much prefer Java.

I am starting university in the Fall, pursuing a Joint Honors Degree in CS and Pure Mathematics with a minor in Philosophy. I won't be doing an internship during the summer after this year because I would be hard pressed to get a job with so little knowledge. But for the Summer semester following my Sophomore year, I would like to be able to get an internship to help me learn and help me pay for school.

Will I need to learn another language besides Java?

I would like to get an internship that deals with the software development side of Information Security. What else should I learn to prepare for this?

This post has been edited by .Djoser: 30 July 2010 - 08:49 AM


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#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:29 AM

I'm going to be a high school senior in the fall, and I've got an internship working predominantly in Android, which is more or less a 3rd party library written in Java. The best advice I can give is to look at the requirements and recommendations for entry level openings in IT in your area. What languages and technologies are being stressed? Learn some of those. Where I live is a very .NET town, and I have a Java and PHP background. So while it's good to know those languages and can give you an edge, it won't absolutely tank you in the end if you aren't well versed in them.

Information security is a big deal, so topics like networking, threading, databases, sanitizing data, and encryption are important. Not to be discouraging, but because of the nature of the topic, this could be especially hard to find an internship in.

The most important piece of advice I can give you, though, is to develop a portfolio. Show the interviewer, and even be willing to send the company samples of your work and a resume. Make it as easy on them as possible to want to choose you. That's what got me an interview (and hired on the spot) for my internship.

Good luck job hunting!
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#3 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:36 AM

I agree that it might be hard to find an internship in Information Security, so I am also open to a general Software Engineering internship. However, the university I am going to is a bit out of the way so finding any sort of good internship will be difficult without having to leave for the Summer.

I just got a copy of Head First Java, the Second Edition, I am going to read through this book and hopefully that will put me in a position to start a portfolio like you recommend.

Have you done any freelance work? How did it go? Did you feel less respected because of your age? Would you recommend freelance work to a university student studying full time and working 20 hours a week?
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#4 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:52 AM

In Web Design class, I was the Project Manager and Lead Developer for my nonprofit website project. It was the largest in scope substantially, and my group worked really hard and did an awesome job. It was very much real world experience in the scope of the design, the rapid technology changes, though we had extreme clients.

Beyond my internship, I'm doing a freelance project for the assistant principal at my school for compensation. The project is going well, and he is really easy to work with. And for my job at the computer help desk, I wrote a basic GUI form in Swing that writes the data to a text file, which caught the attention of my boss' boss.

In terms of my age, I don't feel less respected. At my internship, a lot of my ideas and efforts have moved us significantly forward in the completion of an 8-digit project. My boss, who has a Ph.D in Computer Science, told me yesterday that he feels like having me is like having someone with 10+ years experience in the field, which is a major complement. And my co-worker, who has 10-15 years in the field, collaborates with me as an equal. At school, I'm easily one of the three most technical people, with the other two having 10+ years in the field and one has a masters in CS. On top of that, everyone in the department of technology at central office knows my name because of what I have done at school.

Honestly, the HR people tend to overlook based on age. It is the portfolio, and possibly talking with an IT or technical person in the company that are more likely to look at what you can do over age.

This is turning into a good discussion, so I think I'll feature it. :)
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#5 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:29 AM

That is very impressive. From what I can tell you definitely know what you are talking about and if you had not told me that you were going to be a Senior in high school I would have thought that you had been in the field for years. The head tech guy at the school I went to knew my name, but that was because I was always getting kicked off of the network for surfing the web (we aren't aloud to do that at my school).

I am very interested in seeing your portfolio if you have a copy available online.

Where are you currently interning at? What kind of project are you working on? Do you know where I can find a good list of sub-specialties for Software Development/Engineering?

Thanks for taking the time to do all of this, by the way!

EDIT: Just a little fun note. I just received a reply to an e-mail that I sent to the Engineering department over 2 months ago asking them to clarify whether or not I would be able to get into an engineering program. I was under the impression that I wouldn't be able to, so I opted for CS. The e-mail says that I COULD have done the Engineering. I think I will like CS better though! I lucked out.

This post has been edited by .Djoser: 30 July 2010 - 08:33 AM

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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:35 AM

I don't have a portfolio copy online, though I should make one when I have time.

Quote

Where are you currently interning at? What kind of project are you working on?

I'm interning at a company called G3 Systems, working on a mobile project. It deals with Reflection and Metaprogramming, but I can't go into much more detail than that, as we are working on patenting this architecture.

Quote

From what I can tell you definitely know what you are talking about and if you had not told me that you were going to be a Senior in high school I would have thought that you had been in the field for years.

Thanks! :D
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#7 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:48 AM

Is this your first internship?

The only real reservation I have about Software Development and Engineering is that it seems like a lot of people work of stuff that -- at least from the outside -- looks like it would be very boring and tedious to do. I would like to work on projects that I can get interested in. If I am interested, then I am happy. If I am happy, then I am productive. What are your thoughts on this?

As I already stated, I am learning Java now. Would adding in Python, PHP, and MySQL give me a skill set that would be useful in the Defense and Security fields?
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:56 AM

This is my first internship.

Software Development is generally a lot of coding in a team environment. There is people work, but it is in regards to the program, not so much client dealings, unless you are the lead developer or project manager.

In regards to being interested in the project, I find that if I am coding, I am happy. That being said, I don't want to write a loan calculator GUI. I haven't been bored or unhappy at my job, or really programming in general.

With languages, I wouldn't push for Python. It isn't a bad choice to learn (very few languages are), but it isn't as mainstream as Java, C#, PHP, C/C++, etc, though it is growing in popularity. There is nothing wrong with PHP and SQL. You'll need to understand how databases work beyond the basic DML and DDL commands for security. In general, programming language doesn't matter for security. Each has their own set of vulnerabilities due to design. However, it is more the security precautions you take (ie., hasing and sanitizing inputs, encrypting data, secure connections, etc.) that help make a piece of software secure.

It is great that you want to be involved in IT Security, but it isn't an easy field, especially if you don't have a relatively strong programming background. You could quite easily find yourself way in over your head fast with IT Security.
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#9 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:57 AM

I don't know if this helps you or not but...

I did an internship with the NRAO as a software engineer for a summer and part of a semester during my time at New Mexico Tech. It was geared toward fairly interesting work and it got me in touch with some very experienced and knowledgeable software engineers who had been in the industry for a long time.

If you have any opportunities of the scientific sort, you will most likely find your work interesting and rewarding in comparison to just being some code monkey making other people money.
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#10 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:09 AM

@macosxnerd101 - I have heard that it can be a tough industry to get into, so I am leaving my options open. I am not completely sure that I would be happy doing it, as I can't seem to find any examples of what I would be doing. Then again, I haven't looked that hard!

What is your opinion on C#? I haven't looked into it at all to be honest, but I have heard that it is a good .NET OOP language. Does it more closely resemble Java or C++? I tried to look at C++ yesterday, but I just could not get into it at all. It doesn't seem to be anywhere near as smooth as Java is.

@Dark_Nexus - I will definitely look into their internships! However, just hearing the name, it doesn't seem like something that I would be interested in.

Did you have this same feeling before you took the internship? If you did then obviously your views changed once you got inside.

As a general question for anyone to answer. When you started your internship, did you already know how to do most of what you were asked to do? How much did you have to learn? Was it harder or easier than you expected it to be?
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#11 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:16 AM

I didn't know much about large scale software development or the specific work I was doing. They understood that when they hired me and were looking for someone who knew a little bit about the subject matter, but had a lot to learn. Just be honest during your interviews and you won't end up in a position where you aren't able to fulfill your duties.

This post has been edited by Dark_Nexus: 30 July 2010 - 09:17 AM

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#12 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:24 AM

C# is pretty similar to Java, but I've never worked with it, so that's all I can say. C++ is different than Java. It is C patched together with OOP, and Java was designed as fully OOP from the ground up. In addition, C++ has more low-level capabilities and you have to deal with pointer management, which Java abstracts. There are plenty of language analysis threads in the Corner Cubicle and Software Development forum that go into more detail.
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#13 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:32 AM

Is it naive to consider being a Software Engineer and not using C++? Because if I never had to learn it, I wouldn't be all that hurt to be honest. Lol.
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#14 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:39 AM

If it makes you feel any better, I don't know C++, and I don't have any plans to pick it up in the next two years. Not that I don't want to, I just don't have the time.

If you plan to go into Game Programming, then it might be a good idea, as C++ is pretty widely used in that field.
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#15 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Software Development Internships

Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:44 AM

It makes me feel a little better, but I still know that I will probably need to pick it up later down the road. I don't really have any intentions on doing any game programming, so that's not a problem.

I think I will have a look into C# later on, once I have Java down a bit. I also want to learn PHP and MySQL so those will come later as well.

Thanks for hanging around and chatting!
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