Electrical Engineering Internships and Vacation Programs for Undergraduates
Internships and vacation programs are a vital instrument to building up a student’s CV for their future career in the industry. For students that are undergoing or reaching their penultimate year of university in the electrical engineering field, it is highly recommended to have had experience before graduation, as companies prefer to look for graduates that not only have a degree, but also have experience in the industry.
Students whom have undergone an internship will have the basic, necessary experience that could serve as a stepping-stone in getting started with a job along with having prior knowledge to a company atmosphere. With integrating both book and practical knowledge to use, internships and vacation programs could possibly lead to a full time job offer.
Internships are portrayed as the bridge between what you have learnt in class and what you do in your job, and the best way to acquire the needed experience for the various sectors of electrical engineering is through internships. By having the experience provided by internships, it gives students an advantage in the electrical engineering market after graduation.
Where you can find an internship
Students are able to look for internships in many different forms such as through connections; whether it is from family, friends, or current/former employers, through career fairs, student organisations, campus networks and even trade magazines.
There are various ways to look for an internship and in order to make your contacts count, you must be persistent and utilise your time when searching for an internship and it is always a good idea to:
- Start early
- Seek assistance
- Have a plan
- Be prepared and professional
Undergraduate students are usually offered internships and vacation programs starting from their 2nd year of university or greater, commonly those in their penultimate year. The duration of internships and vacation programs range from 12 weeks, which is the maximum duration for vacation programs, up to 12 months, serving as a full time internship. Electrical engineering internships can cover areas such as1:
- Oil and gas
- Digital energy
- Wind engineering
- Water equipment solutions
- Industrial solutions
- Power generation services etc.
Company employer’s main focus for their internships is to attempt to convert students into becoming full-time and entry-level employees. A few points that employers would evaluate are most likely look at your academic work and achievements, as well as personal skills, which include:
- GPA( 3.0)
- Degree in electrical engineering (or similar engineering subjects such as automotive and mechatronics)
- MS Office program skills
- Technical writing skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Strong analytic and troubleshooting skills
- Knowledge in programming and construction
- Demonstrates organisational skills
The tasks given to interns differ depending on the employer’s services, products and projects. However, these are a few tasks that could be acquired when interning as an electrical engineer2:
- Maintaining database
- Research on the relevant market
- Establishing, rebuilding and bringing sample products into operation
- Communicating and discussing topics with other companies
- Developing educational concepts
- Organise meetings with clients and distributors
- Quality management
- Engage in different projects
- Creating ideas and methods that could improve quality and remove the uncertainties
Interning would give the opportunity to work alongside other engineers and professionals, allowing employers to evaluate your attitude with working both individually and in a team. You’ll also be able to develop your skills while being under the supervision and guidance of experienced mentors.
Electrical engineering interns are exposed to real-life applications of technological developments and are able to apply their previous knowledge into their work. Through these programs, students are able to gain experience where they are offered challenging roles that contribute to building their talents as well as helping shape their future career at an early stage with the right amount of training and experience.
1 GE. Engineering Internship. 2015
2 Career Development & Consulting. Electrical Engineering Internships. 2015.