When You Didn’t Land the Internship: How to Make the Most of Your Summer

Things don’t always go as planned. Luckily, internships are not the only thing you can do during the summer. There are so many other self-improvement projects to not only boost your resume, but also your overall skills as a techie in the industry. Here’s a list put together by the WICS Committee of things you can do during the summer.

  • Side projects are the way to go! You can always start a side project based on your interests. Like music? Build a music visualizer tool that changes colors based on the frequency of the music. Like food? Make an app that shows you the best food spots within a 5 mile radius. The possibilities are endless! Through working on a side project, not only do you get to learn about new tools, languages, APIs etc. but you also spend time learning more about something you enjoy. This will also help you boost your resume and allow you to show off something you created yourself! Now, that’s impressive.
  • LeetCode! During the summer you’ll have plenty of time to brush up on your coding skills. Challenge yourself each week (or even everyday) with a new problem. This way you’ll be ready for technical interviews and will be well prepared to face and ace that whiteboard question.
  • Learn something new! Summer is also a great time to learn about things you’ve always wanted to, but may have been putting aside. This can either be from classes offered by your own school, which would help you complete units, or just classes on topics you find intriguing. Coursera, Codecademy, CodePath, MasterClass, Khan Academy, and HackerRank are all good resources for learning new technical skills. You could also pick up a new skill that isn’t directly related to the field, such learning a new language, exploring different baking recipes, learning calligraphy, etc. There is so much you can learn and explore during the summer!
  • Teach coding classes! With increasing interest in coding among younger students, there are a ton of opportunities to work as a coding teacher or teaching assistant for summer programs. Not only will the experience be rewarding, but being able to teach others shows recruiters that you understand fundamental CS concepts well enough to explain them. A few well-known programs are: Girls Who Code, iD Tech, Kode With Klossy, and Code Ninjas. And don’t worry if you’re not too familiar with the learning curriculum! These programs often use teaching tools (i.e., Scratch, Thunkable, Minecraft for Education) that are designed to be super easy to follow. You should be equipped with enough knowledge as long you’ve taken an introductory programming class.
  • Tour tech companies!  There are so many benefits that come with visiting tech companies. You can experience a day in the life of working in the tech industry. Plus, you might be able to meet software engineers and get a chance to ask them questions about their work life. Larger companies like Microsoft and Amazon already have well-planned tours at their headquarters with sign ups. You can also reach out to specific companies via email to request a tour, which isn’t always guaranteed but it’s worth a try! 
  • Don’t Forget Self Care! Yes, working towards your career is important, but don’t forget that taking care of yourself should always be a priority. You may feel pressure to do as much as you can because you have more time in the summer, but don’t forget that breaks are essential! There is a difference between being productive and being busy. Don’t feel guilty taking that hour break to just relax and watch your favorite TV show. Use a few hours on the weekend to check in and catch up with your friends. Take a walk outside to get some fresh air. Go ahead and play Animal Crossing to escape reality for a little bit. It’s good to be motivated, but you don’t need to be productive all the time! 

Contributors: Ana Sathish, Dianne Ison, Sharon Hsu, Alice Phan, Grace Choe, Kasey Chuang

Editors: Ana Sathish

Graphics: Tiffany Nguyen