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#1 VeronicaB  Icon User is offline

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How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:49 PM

Hi, I'm currently approaching my junior year in college and its that time where everyone is looking into summer/PT internships in their related fields. Im not sure why this stresses me out so much but I'm scared I wont find an internship, which I really want. My school offers various on site internships such as the IT help desk and so on but I'm really looking for something outside of school and with a potential employer. My grades are good and I'm very interested in the field. Maybe its because I'm a girl I feel this way? I am literally one of three girls in my major and I feel the collective "I am superior to you because I'm a guy" vibe from almost all of the male students around me -even the ones that are borderline failing!

I'm confident in my abilities but I don't want to be denied or looked down upon because of my sex. I know companies try to be diverse, but I'm not looking for one of those "sit and look pretty" internships/jobs either. I know there are a lot of very intelligent woman out there in the computer science field. Id like to know if they had any issues with landing an internship or a job?

And on a side note, in all honesty, how difficult are the technical interviews?

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Replies To: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:18 PM

While I don't doubt for a minute that there will be some companies that want to put you in charge of making stuff pink, and other places that will be a little more subtle about it (gee, the boys get all the really fun stuff) I think it's likely that there you'll find plenty of places that really do hire women as engineers and want and expect them to be good engineers, and treat them as such and support them as such.

The trick will be finding those companies and figuring out who you're talking to, because there are a lot more companies that will be fronting that, while still really not quite getting it. Which, frankly, is always the problem with interviewing for internships. Some places get interns and have no idea what to do with them, other places will bring you in and get you right into the swing of things, and most places are somewhere in between.

While you're thinking about answers to this question, you might also be thinking about what sorts of questions you can ask a potential employer to figure out what sort of boss they're going to be...
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#3 stackoverflow  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:48 PM

No problem finding an internship or a job as a woman. I've worked with plenty.
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#4 raspinudo  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:42 AM

There are plenty of women engineers at my company. I think you
should have no trouble assuming all of your skills are in order.
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#5 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:41 AM

I had problems finding a jobs as a woman.

You think maybe it was the beard?
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#6 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:46 PM

If you put the ground work in, I'm confident you fill find something.

I didn't wish to take one of those IT jobs with the college as my internship either. My internship intially begain with me being tasked with creating a whole new updated website for the department a family member of mine worked at. Sadly, it took them 5 days alone just to get me a TEMP login and password, which was set to expire every week in the system. After that fell through I expanded my contacts and instead built a website for my Bank Presidents wife, who runs her own business (Networking + Internship!). After it was all said and done, she was so pleased with my work she kept me on retainer and became my first official Web Design Client.

The female part shouldn't play a big aspect in your search difficulty, though as jon noted, there are those companies that only front the equality. All I can say is if you are capable you'll do just fine. Any place/person that would look down on you for being a woman is the type of environment you wound't want to work in anyway, so, don't sweat it. I would say if there is anything that could come up in your search for an internship, based on gender, it would be for things to work out IN your favor, not against.

As for the technical interviews, it has been my experience for things to be pretty casual. You start with the regular interview, the normal questions, why they should pick you, what technologies are you familiar with, etc, etc.

The actual technical part came after the interviews, with a small test covering a wide range of things like code corrections (usually in the shop's language of development), FizzBuzz output questions, and a few others. Simple questions, but tough enough to weed out those who truly have no business filling the position. Anyone who is trying to fill an internship/level-1 position should understand you will possibly need some to a lot of training to fulfill your duties. Between getting to know you in the interview, and your aptitude based on the technical exam, they can get a grasp on whether you are the person for the position.

Also, be prepared for this question:

Quote

"If you could (be any superhero/have any superpower), (who/what) would it be, and why?"


It has come up towards the end of almost every interview I have had; 8+ counting only IT related.

Spoiler

This post has been edited by AnalyticLunatic: 26 April 2013 - 12:47 PM

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#7 stackoverflow  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

I never got that retarded question and if I did I would say a time machine so I could back in time before you asked me that retarded question and rescue my IQ.
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#8 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:13 AM

View Poststackoverflow, on 30 April 2013 - 03:45 PM, said:

I never got that retarded question and if I did I would say a time machine so I could back in time before you asked me that retarded question and rescue my IQ.


For clarification, good, if crude, Sir, are you referring to my mention of the SuperHero/Superpower question, or to VeronicaB's opening question?
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#9 baavgai  Icon User is online

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:40 AM

Do NOT let guys your own age be a guide for what it will be like in the real world. They're idiots. But, you already know that.

I've known female engineers who put up with a lot of crap. The successful ones tend to out macho the guys, but it's sad that they have to. Programmers are... different.

Of all the tech fields I've dealt with, programming is the most diverse. We often seem to be on the edge of mainstream business culture. Or, perhaps, like Victorian children, best only seen and not heard.

I have, professionally, worked with more women than men. Currently do, actually. Programmers are programmers. Doubtless you'll deal with the usual gender politics in other facets of work life, but the job itself refreshingly egalitarian. A good programmer is a joy forever and we don't care what you look like or where you came from as long as you can actually write code.

Please do not let fear of being treated like X prevent you from doing what you love. Go to all the interviews you can. Be yourself. Good luck.

Note, the way you're treated for an internship is slightly different. In that environment, you're a kid and they don't know quite what to do with you and expect you to leave before you'll be particularly useful. You'll get experience, but usually nothing deep. Expect to sort mail, or something equivalently idiotic, at some point during an internship.
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#10 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:53 AM

I wish that I had the eloquence of your vocabulary baavgai.
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#11 VeronicaB  Icon User is offline

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:15 AM

thank you, this is much appreciated.
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#12 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:11 AM

A pair of interesting blog reads surrounding the topic cropped up in my morning news feeds.

No, I Don't Want a Ticket for the Women's Luncheon

There are Ladies Present
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#13 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How difficult is it for a girl to land a good CS internship?

Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:47 AM

Quote

Our industry needs to grow up too. Perhaps the reason we've had so much trouble maturing is that we don't have enough women to help us make the transition from child to adult. Their attitudes, their ways of thinking, different from ours, may be the very things we need to complete us as an industry, and a profession, and as a craft. It seems to me we need these women in order for our profession to become a profession.



This wasn't a bad article, but this bothers me a little. Men need to grow up, and we need to quit asking women to help us do it. Yes, I've gained a lot from the feedback I've gotten from women - some of it much more patient in nature than I deserved! - but one of the things that I've learned is that it's not up to women to fix us. Men have to start acting like mature human beings, and we have to expect each other to act like mature human beings. B9 and neoTifa and Athena and VeronicaB have to deal with all of the crap we have to deal with on jobs. Getting men to act their age isn't part of their job description unless it's part of everyone's job description.
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