An experience-sharing article by a.Dung Vo, cohort 2005.
Full article A. Do you really wanna intern?
+ Pros to interning:
- A chance to work in a new, practical and challenging environment. You won’t have to deal with homework. Instead you will deal with projects and their deadlines.
- Double to triple of your ‘stipend’.
- Self-confidence: you will learn how to apply what you’ve learned at your university to the real-world.
- Research connections and valuable networks, which are absolutely a must for your future job search.
- The experiences living in a new place for a short time with opportunities to travel and explore.
+ Cons to interning:
- You won’t get a relaxing or enjoyable summer at your university or at home in Vietnam.
- No summer stipend from your university.
- You won’t get 3 years of AT upon completion of you PhD (it will be subtracted by the time you used for your internship).
- You will lose 3 months of time for your research, unless you can find a way to apply your internship experience to your academic research.
B. Companies and Research Labs:
+ How to find paid internships: you can ask your advisor to see whether he/she knows or can suggest some companies or research labs. Tip: ask fellows in same major. Extra tip: go to some labs’ websites of other universities in your major and look at the students’ CVs to see where they went for their internships.
+ The differences between internships at companies and research labs:
- Salaries at companies are often higher than salaries at research labs.
- Most companies won’t permit you to write and publish papers. Research labs permit you to do that, but only after they file the invention disclosure (this is like a ‘one year’ patent). You can even use the results of your internship at the research lab as one chapter of your thesis dissertation.
- You will have more freedom to brainstorm and explore different ideas in research labs. The most common thing for technology companies is looking for algorithms which are less complex but work nearly the same.
C. Tools to apply for the job:
- Resume: carefully prepare your C.V. You should have one version for application to companies (project results and skills-oriented) and one version for application to research labs (research achievements and publication-oriented).
- Personal website: include all your information, C.V., demos, publications…
- Sometimes the companies will contact your advisor and ask him/her to recommend students for various positions that they have. Your advisor will forward their contact information to you. Remember to attach your C.V. and website’s link in the email you send them. The other and less popular way is that you apply directly to the companies’ website and wait for their contact.
D. To be interviewed: this is the most important step to gaining credibility to be offered the job
- Know what the company is working: research areas and interests, if you are asked to make the presentation, focus on what the company need and show what you can benefit for the company.
- Know who is asking you the questions: when you know the name of the interviewers, search for his/ her information: bio, research interest, papers. Try to predict what they are working on and expecting from the intern and prepare yourself accordingly
- Know how to answer: honestly and carefully deal with each question while remembering to be friendly. For companies, they will ask about your programming skills, problem solving abilities… For research labs, they will ask for novel ideas on a subject, how to explain your ideas, licensing experiences…
E. How to decide on the ‘coolest place’:
- The project: go for the one you like the most, the one closest to your research or the one you can learn a lot from.
- The salary: chose the highest one out of the projects you like the most. When you discuss the offer with the HR person, you can discuss the salary. For your reference: Qualcomm $25-$40/hour, HP Labs $6,400/month (compensate for housing and relocation), Texas Instruments $30-40/hour (they even shipped my intern’s car from west coast to east coast), Nvidia $30-$40/hour, MERL $25-$35/hour. You will have about 25% in taxes deducted from your salary every paycheck depending on where you live...
- Working permit: contact the VEF office to get the AT authorization. Remember to inform the HR person when they contact you to offer you the job that you have a J-1 as they may need to file an import license for you (security screening) before you can be hired.
- Location: is it near or in a big city and/or close to attractions?
[Last edited Jul 08, 2012 04:37:34]