How to Get a Software Engineering Internship

A man sits at a computer to search for software engineering internships.

Software engineering makes an exciting career choice for anyone looking to innovate and break boundaries. The employment rate for software engineers is expected to surge 25% over the next decade — a considerably higher growth rate than other occupations. This field continues evolving and allows candidates to experiment and take risks. It’s a coveted career path. Aspiring software engineers must leverage every opportunity to develop their industry knowledge, including gaining practical experience through internships. 

Successful software engineering interns gain various skills and a deeper understanding of the theory and practical application they need to drive innovation. However, knowing where to start can be challenging. We’ve answered some common software engineer internship questions to help prospective interns realize their potential. 

What Does a Software Engineering Internship Involve?

The demand for software engineer expertise rose 17% in 2023 alone, making software engineering an exciting and promising career for anyone looking to enter the job market in the next few years. Aspiring software engineers benefit significantly from software engineering internships. This work experience allows students to network, grow their industry knowledge and gain hands-on experience. 

These internships go beyond theoretical knowledge, demonstrating to students how they will make a meaningful difference once they enter the workplace. Internship candidates conduct software engineering tasks under an experienced engineer’s supervision, helping design, test and troubleshoot software development projects. 

Software engineers do more than code. They play a positive role in the bigger picture, ensuring that software aligns with overarching industry needs, compliance standards and end user requirements. A software engineering intern should aim to learn as much as possible while positively contributing to the host organization. 

Why Prospective Software Engineers Should Consider Internships

While not mandatory, internships aid professional development, provide formal work experience students can add to their resumes and help develop strong connections in the industry. After the internship concludes, many companies extend opportunities to impressive students who fit their culture and align with their goals through longer internships, referrals or even job offers. 

Internship programs allow aspiring software engineers to understand the entire job process, from interpreting concepts to transforming them into functioning software solutions in their chosen industry. They can start making an impact and gaining practical, industry-specific knowledge. 

Candidates will gain networking skills and work with experienced mentors in real-life settings. In addition to gaining hands-on technical experience, they have the opportunity to hone their soft skills, including project planning, time management, communication and collaboration. Internships also allow students to find areas of specialization as they experience career options that resonate with their desire to innovate and realize life’s potential. 

How to Find a Software Engineering Internship

Students and candidates seeking software engineering careers should consider internships to broaden their horizons and launch successful careers. Internships in this field are coveted positions, and getting one requires some additional work and careful planning. The following steps can help candidates qualify and attain their chosen internships.

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1. Gain the Relevant Skills and Experience

Software engineers have technical and hard skills that make them suited to the position. While each internship will have slightly different requirements, candidates should start expanding their skill sets in the following ways:

  • Qualifications: Tertiary qualification requirements vary depending on the internship, but most companies prefer computer science, information technology, software development or related technical experience. Students will come across these concepts in class.
  • Experience: Companies offering internships understand that applicants may have yet to gain work experience. They may look for personal projects or volunteer experience, as these activities demonstrate that the candidate will go beyond the required coursework. 

2. Research Companies Offering Internships

Many companies offer exciting, industry-specific software engineering internships. Applicants can find internships on company websites, online job boards, LinkedIn, and through school or university career centers. They should take the time to research different organizations and determine which ones align best with their values and career goals. They can also check online and gather reviews from previous interns and any advice on preparing for the interview process. 

3. Create a Brilliant Software Engineer Resume

An engaging resume is as crucial for an internship as a full-time, permanent role. Companies know that internship candidates want to gain experience, so they look for a good personality fit and assess potential when choosing candidates for their programs. 

Candidates should demonstrate a willingness to learn and accept feedback so that recipients know they will fit in with the company culture. They should consider differentiating themselves from other prospects by researching each company and framing their skills and expertise to align with its organizational values. They can highlight these skills in a specially crafted cover letter for each software engineer internship. 

4. Apply Early

Software engineering internships can be competitive, and many companies review applications on a rolling basis, meaning they assess applications as they receive them. Candidates should apply early to stay a step ahead of the competition and make a favorable first impression. However, they should take their time with the application to avoid omitting critical information and jeopardizing their chances of acceptance. Instead, they should focus on making their applications stand out to potential companies. 

5. Work With Recruiters

Connecting with recruiters at their chosen companies offers an excellent way for candidates to approach the application process. Potential software engineering interns should attend events and make contact via email as early as high school to start building positive relationships. 

6. Focus on Connections

Networking offers a powerful tool for any candidate looking to land a coveted internship. They should reach out to current industry contacts — including alums working at their prospective company — professors and previous interns, to learn as much as possible about the requirements and get recommendations. 

7. Prepare for Interviews

The interview allows software engineering internship candidates to showcase their technical and soft skills, like communication, project management and organization. As a software engineer’s role relies on a thorough understanding of coding languages, interviewers may ask candidates to complete coding tests or challenges. They can find similar challenges online to practice before the interview. 

Software Engineering Internship Salary

While companies do not always offer pay for internships, a software engineer internship salary can range between around $20 and more than $55 per hour. These hourly rates depend on several factors, including the company and the candidate’s education, certifications and additional skills. 

Browse Available Internships With Danaher Today

If you want to build a software engineering career where you can pioneer innovation and achieve your potential, you’ll find a perfect fit at Danaher. We’re passionate about helping people develop their skills and drive innovation that changes lives. Take risks and push the boundaries of possibility with us, and you’ll define what it means to innovate every day. As pioneers in various fields, from life sciences to biotechnology, we solve problems and change lives. 

Collaborate with talented peers and mentors and use meaningful technologies to make a genuine difference. Start your career at Danaher and browse our internship opportunities today!

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