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From /r/CSCareerQuestions: Am I Too Old for Internships?


Historically speaking, internships have been for young people to dip their toes in the career field of their choice as a way to get a better idea of what it would be like to work in that industry. However, there is no hard and fast rule about how old you have to be when it comes to internships, and these redditors from the computer science community have the experience to prove it.

(Photo Credit: Andrew Hitchcock/Flickr)

I’m 24 in the First Semester of My CS Degree. Am I Too Old for Internships?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The short answer is, no way. Companies don’t necessarily know how old you are, and specifically in tech, experience, skills, and desire to learn outweigh things like age. User Lingual_Panda, a Junior Software Engineer, talks about how during his first internship, there was another student interning with him who was in his early 30s and pursuing an additional degree. Panda started applying for internships after his first quarter of computer science classes, starting in QA, where he says he learned a ton of valuable information right off the bat.

What Are the Benefits of Interning Early?

In addition to giving a lot of great advice, redditors shared their personal perspectives on why they think interning is so valuable. For example, being older but having internship experience under your belt shows that you are already way more qualified and ready to jump into the workforce, compared to your peers. If being older bothers you, you can always tell a recruiter, “My classes are interesting, but I just really want to work.” Another benefit? You can get really good at things that your peers don’t know how to do. For example, Panda explains that he got way faster at debugging, a basic but crucial skill for anyone in the computer science field.

When Is the Earliest I Can Apply for an Internship?

If you’re a freshman or sophomore and you’re trying to lock down an internship, it’s important to remember that not only are you competing with your own classmates, but older and possibly more qualified candidates who are juniors and seniors. They might have taken more specialized courses than you did, or perhaps this is their third or fourth internship. In general, people usually start looking for internships around the fall semester of junior and senior year. Redditor paisleyplaid suggests looking for internships in QA (Quality Assurance) if you’re just getting started. QA is a bit less sexy than some areas but it can be a first internship that opens a lot of other doors in the computer science world.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have advice for computer science majors applying to their first internship? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter.

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