How to Find an Internship as an Underclassmen (Video Resource)
As an underclassmen (first, second, or third year student) it’s important to get ahead of the competition when embarking on an internship search, and this video goes into great detail on how to do just that. Featuring College Recruiting Leaders from Google, Twitter, and Facebook, you will learn how to tell your story through your resume, the importance of networking, how to find an internship, and what you can do to develop professional skills as a student.
Underclassmen Video Transcription
You know, WayUp is a leading platform for college students and one of our main goals is to provide resources and unique events where you as students, can learn about different best practices for getting ahead and finding an internship and eventually a career after college that you’re passionate and excited about it and really love.
And so, you know, whether that’s working at a small start-up or a large corporation or anything in between, we want to help you navigate to that place. And one of the questions that we’ve been getting a lot recently have been from first and second year students. And underclassmen have started to become an increasing population on our platform, over 35% of our users are now 1st and 2nd year students and we’ve been getting thousands of questions about, is freshman year too early to start preparing for an internship?
How can I set myself apart if I have very minimal job experience? We thought these were fantastic questions, and we wanted to bring speakers to you who could best address those questions, and really help you figure out that process, and so I’m absolutely thrilled to have here with me, three panelists from, three of the leading technology companies in the world, and three companies that are, I know brands and places to go and work that are really at the top of students’ minds and very much coveted.
And beyond that, our speakers have really deep experience in helping students think about what’s the right career for them, and so are some of the best people to answer those questions, and really help you think more critically about what you should be doing internship and jobwise, as a freshman and as a sophomore. So, I don’t want to take up very much time, we only have an hour here so I really wanna send everything over to our panelists.
And you know, very quickly, we’ll be getting bigger introductions, but we have with us Adam Ward from Facebook who’s their head of college hiring, we have Ronnard Cook who is Twitter’s head of college hiring, and Carolyn Lee who is Google’s head of engineering hiring for first and second year students.
So, thanks for joining us in such a busy time.
Thank you to students for taking an interest and taking the initiative to think about your career as a first or second year student, and last but not least, for anyone who’s interested in asking questions, if we have time at the end of the event, we’ll address those. You can ask them on our Google+ stream or by asking them on our Facebook page.
So, now with all the fun logistical stuff taken care of, want to switch gears over and we’re going to run just quickly alphabetically through our different speakers. They’re going to share a bit about how they got started, an a bit about their company’s internship program so, Adam, thanks for joining us. Do you mind kicking us off here?
Sure, hey everyone thanks for joining us today. Facebook’s glad and excited to be here and work with WayUp on this. My name is Adam Ward and I manage our Global University Recruiting Program here at Facebook. And we hire hundreds of interns every year, across the year, year-round. And, we’re excited to answer your questions that you’ve about internships in general and internships at Facebook. Awesome and actually one just, quick additional piece I’m gonna ask each speaker in the into.
Do you hire both technical students and engineering students and do you hire international students because that’s questions that we got just multiple of, so we’d love to address that up front.
Yes, we’ll hire all of those engineering, non-engineering, and international students. Okay, fantastic . So, next up Caroline Lee thanks so much for joining us and thanks for sharing your insights with all the students listening in. Do you mind sharing briefly about Google’s internship program, and their first and second year programs specifically?
Definitely, so, I’m really happy to be here, and thank you students, for joining in. So, again my name is and Caroline. I manage one of our internship programs here at Google called the Engineering Practicum Internship Program. The Engineering Practicum Internship is targeted at current sophomores, especially those who come from traditionally under-represented backgrounds within computer science. And it’s 12-week internship as some of you might know, and it has a public component, interns work with other interns in pods, and they also take weekly CS courses.
Engineering practicum is just one of our few internship programs that we actually have at Google. We have, of course, our broader engineering intern program, where we hire international students. We also have, of course, an internship program for non-technical students as well. Fantastic, thank you so much, and last but certainly not least Ronner Cook who manages Twitter’s college recruiting program, and we’d love to learn a bit more.
Thanks for joining us Ronner. Hi everyone. Welcome, again my name is Ronner, and I’m really happy to partner with WayUp on this. This is actually our third season recruiting for interns, so we’re really excited to obviously have more of you here. To give you a little bit of a background, two years ago I started at Twitter.
And, I was brought in to basically start the university program’s team and starting to hire new grads and our first class of interns. So, since then we’ve had quite a bit of success, and we do also do year round internships. So, if you’re interested in doing Fall or Spring internships we’re very flexible on that as well.
Like, some of the programs for example, in Canada, Waterloo, Toronto, UPC, there’s quite a few co-op programs, and we’re also quite flexible with that. And we do hire international students as well. So, another thing that Nathan has asked me to address is whether or not we hire non-engineering students as well.
Our main focus right now is on computer science and engineering for our software engineering roles. We have a handful of non-engineering positions, but that’s not the bulk of our focus. We do have some one off positions, if you’re interested in that, I can definitely find out for you.
Fantastic. Thank you. So I think we’d like to start this panel just with a question that’s really is at the heart of the underclassman internship search, and is sort of basis for a lot this hangout but, do you think and do you speakers think that students who are freshmen and sophomores should even be looking for professional experience at this point in their career?
It’s, you know, very early on, they’re still getting into their academic studies and if so, what should they be expecting to get out of it, given that they probably won’t be graduating and really applying for jobs for another few years? And Carolyn, since you went second last time would you like to kick us off here?
Sure, definitely. So at Google we think that students should absolutely be looking for professional experience as a freshman or sophomore. It’s actually really helpful for students to get that type of internship experience, especially if they’re looking to get a job at one of the most, you know, competitive companies in the future. And, what students can expect to get out of it is, first of all, really learning what it’s like to code in an industry environment versus a school environment.
Also really learning the company as well as the engineering culture, and then also, of course, being part of a community of other young CS students.
We absolutely think that freshman and sophomore students should be involved. Fantastic Ronner, Adam, would you like to add to that or? Yeah, I mean, I think definitely in the same vein as what Caroline mentioned, we highly encourage freshman and sophomore students to get involved as early as possible. I think it’s, here, especially at Twitter, in our engineering teams, we definitely look for that practical experience, and especially if you’ve been coding for a while, and you know, way before you got to college.
And also, if you’ve contributed to any of the opensource projects or have played with Twitter API.
We definitely encourage you to let us know, whether it’s in your cover letter, whether it’s in your resume. We definitely look at that. So, you know, practical experience is great and we don’t have a degree requirement or an age requirement at all for our internships. Quite a few of our younger interns who interned with us just after freshman year or sophomore year, have actually come back with us multiple summers, so we highly encourage that.
Awesome. Fantastic. Actually, that’s a really interesting question. As part of, expecting to get out of it, what you first touched on was a fantastic professional understanding, which is valuable for any future internship, and then it sounds like beyond that, most of your companies offer the opportunity to either continue on maybe transition rolls into a slightly different but similar internship in the following year. Would you say that’s a fairly accurate sort of potential end goal for students coming through the program is to get that experience but also maybe to come and work again or to work somewhere else and kinda take that first learning experience with them to a new company?
Yeah, I’ll jump in. I think the advice I typically give interns who are thinking about returning back or doing a second internship the next term or semester is at the very least do something very different at that company. But, we’ll often give the advice to our interns to actually go and try another company, we’d love to have them back and we will give them offers to return. But we encourage them to try something different, and kind of vary their experience.
Internships are just an amazing opportunity in your life to try out something for three months, and there will be very few opportunities later in and your life to actually do that. So, it’s an amazing opportunity to take advantage of, to try something different, the following term and semester, if not another company, but then definitely a different type of team, or product, or technology or experience.
Perfect, okay well thanks so much and well, I think that segues really nicely into the next question that we see all the time, and maybe is the meat and potatoes of this conversation, but there’s often this Catch 22 that assumes experience and the fact that an internship is a tool to get experience, but first and second year students frequently do not have a ton of professional experience, and so can each of you just explain if you hire first and second years students, and why or why not, and what you typically look for in students who probably don’t have a ton of traditional, you know, on the job experience and, Ronner, if you would like to start us off that would be fantastic.
Sure, so yes, we do hire freshman and sophomore students for internships.
And what we look for, in lieu of some of the heavier industry experience, since these students tend not have as much of that, is extracurricular activities. We just really wanna see that outside of the class, outside of your academia responsibilities that you are really passionate about other things.
In technology, whether it’s starting you know, you’ve had some start up experiences, whether it’s an organization in schools, CS competitions, leadership roles. We definitely look for that. Those are really great things to really highlight on the resume, then what I touched on earlier was API’s, open source projects that you’ve done.
So, those are all really great and as always if you know someone at Twitter, or if you have a professor that’s been a visiting professor at Twitter or are working on a research project that’s some how related, we’d love to definitely see that too on your resume, and somehow let us know.
So, I think those are all really key things to highlight.
Yeah, that’s some fantastic feedback, the fact that side projects are fantastic, competitions are fantastic and then actually playing with your company’s API tends to be icing on the cake and shows that real high-level interest in Twitter. Adam, is that the same generally at Facebook or are there other things that you tend to look for in first and second year students?
Yeah, I think that’s generally about the same thing, I think there are a lot opportunities for students to do things outside of classroom work and projects. There’s a lot of student organizations. There’s a lot of opensource communities. There’s a lot of competitions. Generally we like to see students, regardless of year and degree, that have built stuff.
So, whether they’ve made commits to opensource communities or on Reddit or other things or portfolio of work. We like to see students who have built things, and some kind of demonstrated experience doing that. It doesn’t have to be classroom or project related.
Yeah, and I know everyone here is somewhat engineering focused to a degree, but how do you see that playing out, Adam for you mentioned also hiring marketing and business students. I mean, how does a marketing or business student generally show outside the classroom, or project experience?
Yeah, I mean they may do that a lot through student organizations or maybe a club or organization that they’ve started, or a really significant contribution that they’ve made.
Usually a question that I like to ask the students, what was your role? What did you do? And I think we all, as recruiters, often see students that are part of class projects. And it’s really hard to tease out what that particular student did, what their contribution impact was. I think the better that students are able to clearly and concisely identify what their role, and their impact was in that project, that organization, that idea, that grassroots club, helps set them apart and helps differentiate the great from the good.
So students who are listening in, obviously at top company’s what’s awesome to hear is that, one, all the work you do outside of your class is really meaningful. But two, just saying that you’re part of XYZ club is not going to get you across the line.
You actually have to really have done something that you engaged in at a high level and can speak to and share more in-depth detail on. So, that’s really exciting to hear that that kind of experience resonates and tends to turn over to the right kind of students that you want to work with at that your companies.
Caroline, as far as the Google practicum programs and your programs, what kind of experience do you tend to look for in interviews and on a resume for young students? Sure, so for young students, just like Ronner and Adam said, we really are looking for that extracurricular experience outside of their schoolwork.
In addition to the coding competitions and opensource and things like that, we’re also looking for personal projects. So, for example let’s say you’ve built, with a friend, an iPhone or Android app. That definitely counts as a lot. In terms of outside experience, we also look for, for example, T.A. or tutoring work.
We also look for if you’ve been a club master for example for one of your clubs. All of that outside extra curricular work really, really helps if you don’t have that internship experience. And also I believe that you asked about interviews as well? Sure, yeah, that would be great. So, for interviews for our freshman and sophomore programs, they give go through two forty-five minute technical phone interviews and for that, we do ask that students program in one of the object oriented programming languages so Java, C++ or Python.
And in order to prepare for that, students are always asked to review their CS basics, so crack open those textbooks and review those concepts and definitely practice coding with your friends. So practice over a Google Doc or a whiteboard. Perfect, yeah so, some live coding during the interview process, that helps kind of identify skill, even if it hasn’t been shown through prior job experience. That’s definitely helpful.
So we talked a lot about extracurriculars and it sounds like one of the huge takeaways I am getting is that those are extremely meaningful, you have to be doing work outside of class to really prove yourself, if you don’t have a lot of experience. And then, obviously that’s fodder for a resume that doesn’t include include lots of internship experience.
How about academically? Are there, you know, courses or, you know a lot of students who are listening in are thinking about ways to sync up what they do in the classroom with potentially finding a future internship or job. And so Adam, maybe kicking off with you here, are there specific courses that you recommend that, maybe fit with specific types of internships that you would love to see? Or do you really look for a broad swath of backgrounds, majors and it can be open to anything?
I think when you think about projects their extra-curriculars or classroom, I think what we like to see is a demonstrated passion for something. So, if you’re really passionate about academics, then we’d expect you to be really good at academics. If you’re really passionate about robotics, we’d expect you to be really involved with a robotic club, having built some, actually robotics in the past.
If you’re really passionate about the environment we want to see that you are really involved and passionate there, so, I think it’s unrealistic to think that they’re going to have this amazing portfolio of classroom, volunteer, and extracurricular activities. Something’s got to give there. We like to see more of a demonstrated passion. So, when we think about the degree classes, especially for freshmen and sophomores, we want to see that they got the fundamentals and did really well with the fundamentals.
Most programming languages, if we’re talking about engineering are built off really core fundamentals of data structures and algorithms and things like that, and we want to see that they’ve got a mastery of that, because that’s going to be real important for other things that they’ll learn throughout their college and professional career.
If we’re looking at non-technical positions we want to see that they took related classwork, but then when they often get the opportunity to choose a project, that they’re choosing a project and concept that’s really related to again, the thing that they’re most passionate about, because they often have a lot of free range on some of those projects that they choose.
I think I heard passion said numerous times in that response, so I think that’s awesome feedback for students, I mean, I think students sometimes fear that they have to make choices that employers are gonna be excited about and that they can’t always pursue what they’re passionate about because they need to get certain job skills, so it’s really cool to hear that that’s maybe not the case.
Would you say is there any one particular class or two classes that if you’re an engineer that’s really valuable to take in your first and second year?
I think, I mean, I think it is. It depends, every student is going to come in with a different amount of experience with computer science and programming, some high schools offer, have great programs, and students are going to be more advanced than others, so it’s hard to say, but I do think in the first year that they are taking as many of the prerequisite and entry level classes that they can. And if they are already taking those, having at least one or two CS classes in that first year of the next level, I think are important.
We, like Google and probably Twitter, we really prefer object oriented things, but other companies are going to want embedded C and more systems programming. So, I wouldn’t choose classes based on what you think the company wants, I would choose classes on what’s most exciting and interesting to you and stay on that path. And then you’ll find, eventually, the company and career that’s the right match for you.
If you’re always trying to please some set of companies, then you’re going to be kind of chasing that, fighting that battle for a long time, versus find out what you’re really excited and interested in, then takie those classes. And then that’ll eventually yield into internships and jobs.
Perfect, that’s great advice.
Caroline, I know that Google’s sort of renowned as being a very academically focused company and that I’ve heard, and maybe it’s totally not accurate, that GPA sometimes is viewed as very important or is well prized within the company. As far as academics that students might be interested in, as first and second years, are there any specific courses or specific recommendations you would have for students?
In terms of courses, I think Adam gave really good advice there, in terms of just taking the courses that you’re most passionate about. For Google internships specifically though, students who are interested in interning at Google should have a grasp of object oriented programming languages. So, I would highly recommend that they take courses like intro to Java or intro to Python pretty seriously because that is what we’re looking for here.
Fantastic, and so Ronner, do you have anything you’d like to add to that sort of academic conversation about what students should be thinking about and what they look for in classroom experience?
Yeah, sure, I think Adam and Caroline touched on the basics. Definitely having the fundamentals down, I would say in your first year, definitely make sure, especially if you haven’t been programming since you were fifteen or something, definitely make sure you’ve got data structures and the algorithms down.
Those are basic things that you need to expect that we’ll cover in our technical phone interviews, which constitute the first round of internship interviews. So those are all fair game questions. And then I would say that, you know, in terms of languages, pretty much the same thing as what they look for at Google, as well as Facebook.
For our back end we do a lot, we use a lot of Java, Scala, Ruby, NC++. I know a lot of students are pretty interested in back end work. So, what I usually do when I engage with a student is I talk to them about where their interests and their strength lays. And I know this is a little bit hard to gauge in terms of interest because at this juncture, you know, freshman or sophomore year you’re still testing it out.
You’re still not sure and that’s what the whole point of an internship, right, because you want to find out what you’re more interested in. But we do ask you that and we steer you towards a specific group based on your interest and your preference really early on, so that your internship experience is actually with a specific group that has that. If you’re interested in developing more on the mobile side, more working with say trends or social graphs, we’ll put you specifically with those teams.
So, I think that’s one of the good things about, in terms of doing an internship here and knowing exactly what team you’ll able to gain that experience in.
So, slightly just kind of a related question, I’m just hearing so much conversation about interests and passion and communicating what is exciting to you and so what comes to mind is that, while that is obviously something that is really a perfect application, what the application tends to often look like is, it’s applying through, a paper resume through either an online site or coming into a career fair and kind of meeting you or someone who works on your team and kind of expressing that. So, if someone’s applying online, how can they share that passion in a resume? Do you look for a traditional resume?
Could you, and maybe Caroline you could run us through this first, what would a good resume look like to you? Is there a typical format? Is there any sort of approach for first and second year students to be able to express that passion and interest, because obviously that’s not always an easy thing to do in a paper format.
Yeah, definitely, so within the resume, besides obviously listing your education and what relevant courses you’ve taken thus far, we’re also looking for relevant skills, so, for example, if you’re able to code in Java and Python or C++, if you have, you know, other experiences with operating systems for example, we do ask that you list that.
And then, I would also break it up into other sections, so besides the relevant coursework that you’ve taken, definitely list full projects that would be very helpful for us to know, and also your projects outside of your schoolwork. So again, those personal projects, whether that’s building an Android app or participating in opensource, or participating in coding competitions.
Fantastic, and just out of curiosity, a very specific question, does and should a resume from an underclassmen student, should it be one page, should it be multiple pages? Any thoughts on that? We definitely think it should be one page, just because again we don’t expect that younger students will have a whole lot of experience and so typically multi-page resumes are reserved for our PHD students where they have, for example, many publications to list.
Short and to the point. So Ronner, do you think there’s a way for students to express their interest and passion through a resume, and if so, what are some key things you like to see on a younger student’s resume? Sure, I think I’m seeing a lot of really, really high-caliber resumes and strong resumes that obviously have some students as young as sophomores, freshman might already have internship experiences.
So, I would love to see in addition to, listing out where you intern. I like to see, specifically, this goes back to Adam’s point about what your part, your role of the project was and what you specifically worked on and accomplished. I like to see that and then that gives me a really good sense for how that’s relevant to Twitter projects and Twitter engineering.
So, from that, I can kind extrapolate, oh well this person might be really good for this particular team and then I’ll reach out accordingly. So, I think that’s really important just to be as specific as you can. There are certain things that might not go well on the resume format. I’m definitely open to seeing that maybe a few bullets of it in a cover letter. I think sometimes that could be a really well, a really good tool to use as a supplement to your resume if there’s anything else that you want to highlight.
So, for younger students a cover letter can be a really critical piece to help expand upon their interest and what they’re doing, and I take it that, do you read a resume first or a cover letter first, and sort of, do cover letters, are they usually seen as something that’s an additional info about that student, or are they kind of on equal standing as a resume?
For me personally, I definitely put more weight in the resume. I think that, I mean I read the cover letter usually first and then, if the resume looks pretty interesting or if I’m sort of on the fence with it, I’ll read more into cover letter and see if there’s any strengths in there that, you know, that weren’t quite highlighted on the resume.
Fantastic. Adam I know that we’ve gotten a lot of great advise already on this topic, but anything that you’d like to add in terms of resumes and cover letters and how students should spend their time when applying? Generally, just one piece of advice I think, is the last step that you want to take is applying online. The steps that you want to take leading up to actually applying online is trying to meet that company on campus if they’re on your campus. Try to identify another student that has interned there, or a professor that’s partnered with. Try to make a more personal connection with someone at that company, and don’t rely on our company’s careers website to help you stand out.
Because, in fact, it will do the exact opposite. We, as recruiters, look at a lot of resumes and we aren’t often looking at that resume on paper we’re looking at it on our screen and we’re just scrolling through lots of resumes. So it’s-
Sort of a great segue so I can let you take a quick shot at this first, since you already touched on it, Adam, but, how can students engage you or someone on your team and you mentioned career fairs, can they reach out to you on Facebook, by email? What are the other ways that they can let you know that they’re the right fit for your team and they’re excited and passionate about what you’re working on. Yeah, I mean, I think what we really love to hear is we love to hear from our former interns when they go back to campus, like, who else do you know? Who else do you think would be a fit here?
Those people not only now understand your company’s culture and hiring bar, but they also understand the context of the University, of who’s doing well in some of the under graduate classes so they can help kind of be that conduit. So, seek out those students that just interned the previous summer at that company.
Most companies now are doing some kind of campus ambassador thing where they actually are asking certain former interns to go back and help identify that. It’s pretty easy to probably identify those people. Second worst to applying online, is standing in line at a career fair, so also, vary tough to differentiate yourself by standing in a line for fifteen minutes and then talking to someone at the head of the line for two or three minutes and they write a couple notes on the back of your resume, and then they fly home to California and look into those 300 resumes later, and trying and remember who you are.
That’s only slightly better to being one of the 500 applicants online. So, look for other ways to connect with the company on campus, whether it’s talking with them at a talk or going to some kind of hangout or if they come to a lab, look for a differentiated way to actually meet them in a more relaxed environment, then kind of the pressure cooker and crowded aspect of a career fair. And all of our recruiters, I’m sure have different Facebook groups and you can message them and connect with them on LinkedIn or other tools as well, that’s also a great way to reach out.
Adam I think you might be breaking some student’s heart who get really excited about dressing up in a suit and tie and going to career fairs and look forward to that day every year.
Nobody loves a career fair. The students don’t love it, the companies don’t love it, so, but it’s a necessary evil and it’s important, but it’s not as important as other ways that if you’re trying to differentiate yourself, there’s other, probably more effective ways to do that. So, I guess it sounds a lot like the importance of networking, so Caroline, would you mind sharing a tiny bit about how you, obviously Google’s a really massive team.
I know that there’s representatives who work with campuses across the country. How can students network with you, someone else on your team, former Google interns and sort of best position themselves to stand out in the pile of resumes? Sure so, besides, for example, attending our info sessions and talking to us afterwards, which really helps put a face to, for example, a resume, there are so many other ways for students to get involved and engage with us.
One example is many companies actually hold puzzle events or scavenger hunts or hack-a-thons. And that’s actually a really great way for students to get involved and really talk to the company representatives in a more intimate environment, but also also have some fun while doing that. So, for example by participating in a puzzle event or hack-a-thon, and then there are other ways to get engaged as well.
Many companies have a pretty large social presence online. So, for example, for Google, we have our Google students account where we often talk about opportunities or programs which students can get involved in, and I know other companies do that as well. So definitely look for their Google+ or Facebook or Twitter accounts and their blogs as well.
Perfect, and Ronner, would you express the same, or what are your thoughts on online applications versus other ways to apply to these positions at Twitter? And I mean obviously all of your reps are extremely busy and so how can the student engage in the right level without being too pushy or too aggressive?
Right, I mean I definitely echo the same thoughts that, you know Caroline and Adam shared. I would say that there are so many different ways and creative ways that you can get, you can network with us. In addition to some of the obvious ones, we have, for example, the @terns account is our intern blog account, so we basically have our interns take over a week or a day, tweeting, you know, the fun things, the interesting stories that they have, you know, while they’re interning here at Twitter.
So, those are great ways to just, you know, see and kind of follow who our interns are and maybe you’ll find some that are actually from your school and definitely hit them up because everyone loves to talk about their experience. And, you know, I would say there’s no stronger testimonial than getting, you know, first hand experience from your fellow students, right? Because they’re your peers, they are going through pretty much the same experience as you, but they can give you the reality of an insight to what it’s like to working at some of these companies. I would say those are all really good ways to do that.
You know, DM myself or any of the recruiters on Twitter and I would say we’ve also seen a lot of outreach from LinkedIn as well. But I would say definitely participating in the hack-a-thons that companies sponsor and coming up to talk to our engineers and to the recruiters while we’re on campus. If you’re from one of the schools where we, unfortunately, don’t have the bandwidth to go to right now don’t you don’t shy from that.
I would definitely reach out and introduce yourself and give us a few things, like an elevator pitch of why you think you want, why you want to work here and what you’re passionate about. I think those are maybe a few bullets to highlight why specifically Twitter or Google or Facebook that you’re passionate about. I think that would be very, very helpful to help you stand out from a recruiters perspective.
Fantastic, well I think this has been golden, on this question, has been golden advice in that speaking to students who you might have somewhere in your network who have previously worked at a company, regardless if it’s of one these three companies who are speaking now or anywhere else that you might envision yourself working, that’s an incredible person to get a vote of approval from. And those are usually someone on your campus in a club or someone who has similar passions to you probably, when you’re doing all those other fantastics or extracurriculars that we’ve already spoken about, are people that you can access and talk to in that normal, I don’t know, just in your day to day. So, it’s a really great opportunity I think, to kind of recognize as other peers as potential inroads to future careers.
So, kind of, I guess, a broader question here and I think that right now that technology’s becoming very pervasive and we’re seeing a more open education system and I think a lot of universities, MIT, Stanford, are all doing online classes now, and so I guess one question I wanted to have for you all is, as panelists who see a lot of this happening is, do you see this sort of opening up of education as a leading a charge towards you as companies being more open to younger students because there’s kind of a breaking down of traditional, you know, needing to go through four years of college before you’re ready to go to work at a company or do you not see that happening?
And, sort of what are your thoughts on how technology’s changing how you view age in the hiring process? And Ronner, do you mind taking a first crack at that?
Yeah, it’s a really good question that I’ve actually had really interesting conversations with my colleagues on the last few weeks especially. I think it definitely blurs the line.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that went to that college and has that particular pedigree of the top twenty CS curriculum. In fact, I would love to get to know more smaller engineering programs out there too. So, there are a few instances here at Twitter where some of our interns have actually decided to stay here full-time after their internship rather than going back and continuing school, and this isn’t just PHD folks, but this is also undergrad students.
I think that speaks volumes to their experience here at Twitter. Obviously from my perspective it’s a very personal decision, right, that you have to make, the student would have to make on their own, and what’s right for them. But, I think that, you know, in terms of experience and just the amount of exposure that you get right now to technology at an early age, I think the doors are definitely open for you and there are so many different ways that we can help you through this, and whether it’s deferring a degree or doing a longer term internship, we’re very flexible in terms of kind of making the right balance for you.
So, I think it really goes back to what you’re passionate about and what you want to do and what you want to explore. But I would say one advice is that a lot of students coming out of college they think that oh, well this is a super, super important decision that I’m making and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into a particular path. I would encourage you not to think that way because anywhere you land, obviously, being a super talented student you’re going to be doing a great, you’re going to definitely be adding strength to your resume and your background.
There’s always opportunities for you to switch later on. So, don’t worry too much about being pigeon-holed because doors are always open.
That’s great advice, I think, yeah, it’s hard to ever imagine where you might end up ten/fifteen years out of college and sort of how, the career path I always kind of see as more of a winding process than any direct line. So, that’s really fantastic advice to kind of engage positively and sort of the short term rather trying to manage too much where you’re gong to be in the long term.
Adam, do you see new online tools affecting how you hire candidates? Do you ever see a future where students will be getting badges online from places like the Khan Academy or other sources like that, that end up being more meaningful than sort of college courses or anything of that nature?
Yeah, I think in general the openness of education and the information dissemination is a good thing. And two of the industries that I think that are going to be slower to be impacted by the amount information and, you know, connectedness and the social graph are healthcare and education, for very different reasons. Healthcare is very obvious with patient privacy and medical records. Education, just from the traditional nature and the structure of it, but I think we are seeing some really interesting attacks I will which are good things, disruptive technologies that are really hopefully will move it forward faster than it’s currently moving. And, Kahn Academy is a great example, and there’s a bunch of other ones.
But, you know, if I think about computer science in general, it’s ripe for some modernization and I know all of these companies on this column and this meeting are really passionate about helping computer science get as modernized as quickly as possible.
But it is an upstream battle when it comes to very traditional academic brick and mortar institutions, and hundreds of years of legacy of that. It’s gonna take some time but I think in general we are at a crossroads, an opportunity for more students to get more access to top education, and it no longer being, an admissions process, being weeding people out and creating a has and has not with education, but opening up these top 20 and more computer science curriculums to students world-wide.
So, I think it’s an exciting time and I do think that will impact us over time. And we’ll probably never be as fast as we would like. But I’m hopeful that it will be as quick as possible.
And Caroline, is Google now hiring more underclassman? I think your underclassman program is probably the longest running of those that we have here speaking today, and so have those numbers grown more recently and how do you you see age changing in your mind in terms of a factor for hiring?
Sure, for Google we’ve definitely seen a large interest in underclassmen applying for internships and for us as a company too it’s actually really important for us to develop young computer scientists, so that’s why we have, for example, the freshman engineering practicum and engineering practicum programs that are specifically targeted at freshman and sophomores.
And then, in terms of your question about age, for us at Google, age has never realy been a huge factor. So, for example, if you’re a freshman and you’re qualified and you’d be a great intern we’d be really happy to hire you. We really do think it’s really important to grow young CS students, so that’s why, as long as you’re qualified, we’re happy to hire you, whether that’s the freshman engineering practicum, the engineering practicum or our regular traditional intern program.
Fantastic, well, so that was a lot of our regular scheduled questions. Those are all really informative and incredibly insightful answers so, thanks a ton for sharing everything that you have so far. We have about 14 minutes left. And we’ve gotten some really fantastic questions on our Google+, and Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and so these are all direct from students, and maybe whoever wants to jump in and anyone who wants to follow on, please be welcome to do so.
The first question is one that we get a lot of, and it’s from a student named Nick Benner from Boise State and just asked, is hiring locally a priority? I think there’s a concern among students that if they go to school somewhere that’s further away from major cities, that it’s harder to get an internship, and so he was wondering if hiring locally is a priority and do you offer relocation assistance for internships?
I guess I can go first. So, for Google we definitely hire students for from all over, it doesn’t matter whether they’re local or not. And we do provide relocation assistance, so for example if you’re attending school 15 miles away from where our office is, we provide either an intern relocation stipend, or a housing option that you can choose.
Yeah, that’s the same thing for Twitter. We offer relocation help in terms of your round trip airfare, and your housing stipend. And we do hire from all over the states and some international schools as well. So, definitely don’t be shy about applying and getting yourself out there.
Perfect, so another question I thought was really interesting, this is from Clayton Pritchard who’s a University of Central Florida student, and he was wondering what technical skills are you looking for from a marketing hire or marketing intern, if any?
I can go. First of all, so go Knights, Central Florida, nice.
For marketing, what skills are we looking for in a marketing student, I think that’s his question, is that right Nathan? Yes, that’s correct. Yeah, I mean, I think we’re going to want to see, demonstrated experience of him working on a marketing plan right? And so whether that would be, if he’s not getting that in his classroom project, him going out and volunteering with a non-profit in this community or volunteering your services to help apply that.
Probably being a member, and a leader within his marketing student association is probably good to see, and maybe having a portfolio that we could look at. So, whether it’s a link to his or her website, or a link to other work that they’ve done on another website or another organization, I think would be a great way for him to demonstrate some of the, kind of the skills they’ve had.
I think it’s, with marketing particularly, it’s got to be very hands-on through demonstrated work. It’s really hard to tease out like, oh took intro to marketing or took marketing, online marketing, things like that. I want to see what you actually did through those classes and those projects. Fantastic. Moving on then, another question we got from a student named Raymond Ayawa, and he asked on Facebook, and this is a fairly specific question, but I think of one that’s really of interest.
Do your companies have any specific internship opportunities for military veterans? And he’s someone who has eight years of experience and now is working towards a degree in computer science. But, do your companies work with military veterans at all? And if so how do those programs work?
I can go real quick. I think, yes I’m sure all of our companies. We are certainly really passionate as all of our companies are about looking for student veterans that are turning from service in our armed forces, into our companies. One thing that we’ve seen as a trend over the last two or three years is the new GI bill has been really quite amazing in helping some of these top veterans actually get access into some of the top universities as well. So, we’re really hopeful that over the next couple of years as these students kind of start to progress through these degree programs, especially underrepresented degree programs, like computer science, where we haven’t seen, historically, a lot of veterans going into that.
We’re really hopeful that we’ll see more students, cause all of our companies, I’m sure, would be excited and would love to be able to hire students from majors where we do the a majority of our hiring like computer science.
Fantastic, and maybe actually another way to broaden that question, but sort of, can you explain a little bit about how you value geographic diversity within your internship programs?
I think that there’s a lot of students who come from different parts of the country and it would be really interesting to hear your perspectives on how you value getting students from all over and sort of how that helps build a more meaningful internship program, or if it does in your minds.
I mean, I think it definitely does build a stronger intern class to have a really diverse class of students that can offer varying points of view. I think it just overall in general makes our product better, right? We have products all are stemming from a huge user base. So, the more diverse and the more folks that we get from varying viewpoints, I think makes everything that much stronger.
So, I think it’s always great to have, for example, our international and our growth engineering teams, we do hire quite a few students from Europe, from Australia, from Asia. So, it’s defiantly different, I mean obviously these teams, since they’re international, we do look for, you know, a specific language, skill sets and so forth, but I think in general, I think you’re question Nathan is just how much we value that and, we definitely do.
Smaller schools, like I mentioned earlier, there could be tons of awesome students that might not be going to some of the quote unquote top ranked schools, but we know that maybe it’s just a family thing, personal choice, or maybe they got a scholarship, you know, a full ride, to some of these smaller schools, so we definitely want the opportunity to get to know those smaller engineering programs and as well as I think those are schools where you can really set yourself apart because those aren’t the schools that, say like in a program like MIT, where tons of students have, you know great internships at top companies already, but I think you can also offer a lot from giving a differing perspective.
Fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing that. So, another question that we got from a student named Maggie Donovan. We have a number of recent grads who, despite this being our underclassman hangout still wanted to tune in and hear from you all, and so, she happens to be one of them, and she’s a new grad and was wondering, one if you still hire new grads grads into your internship programs?
And two, how much internship experience do you expect a new grad to have coming into your programs?
I think if a new grad is going, you know, say they graduated from a Bachelors Degree and they’re thinking about going back to get a Masters or a Masters and PhD program, we’re definitely open to doing an internship arrangement with them.
Like I mentioned, we’re fairly flexible on that, and if you’re graduating from a four year Bachelors program, we tend to look for a little bit more experience, whether it’s research, working in labs or internship, in one of the you know, a start up or one of the top companies, like, you know, some of the ones that we have here today.
So, yeah I think with experiencing and with age, you know, we definitely look for a little bit more, we put a little bit more emphasis on industry experience.
Fantastic. Looks like we have time for one last question and I think this is actually one that we hear from a number of students as well and I think underclassmen sometimes really get anxious about their GPA and so a student was wandering what skills, or in what ways on a resume can they best counter balance what might potentially be a low GPA?
I think it’s been addressed in some of your previous answers, but again there’s a lot of students who are nervous about their GPA not crossing the right threshold. So, is there anything specific for a student who has a low GPA that they should be doing or thinking about, in a, in their resume to kinda help counter-balance that.
Yeah, I mean, I think we see that sometimes a lot and we’ll often ask the awkward question when GPA’s not on their resume, we’ll ask, so I think it’s better if the student puts it on there. But, I think there are different ways that they could talk about it that companies may value. So one thing they may talk about is, they may talk about their, they may show their over all GPA but also say GPA in major.
So, if they have done really well at computer science but, you know, no one likes philosophy. We can all resonate with a D in Philosophy. Like, okay, or if they say my upper divisional classes have been this GPA, if they can show that on things that they really are passionate about or excited about or looking for careers in, that they did really well in those subjects, maybe from other subjects they were less interested in. Or they had a bad first semester or a bad first year. They seem to be able to talk about it and visualize it on a resume in a certain way that highlights those things. And they’ll be able to talk about you know, why it might be lower than they would have hoped.
And then, different companies are gonna value that different ways. Some companies you know, outside of high tech, they’re gonna look at GPA and maybe have cut offs. Other companies are not. But, if they can really highlight the reasons that they, it may be lower in areas where it is, where they are doing very well. I think it can help offset some of those.
Well fantastic, we’re just about out of time, so unless anyone has any last words that they would like to add in, I’d just like to thank you so, so, much for all of your time today. This has been some of the most amazing advice that I wish I had heard, you know, when I was first getting into college and thinking about careers and it’s been really incredible to have all these insights shared.
And just a note to all the students who might be watching. We’ll be following up this with a blog post that will contain the video for the event in case you have any friends you want to share it on to. The companies involved have some internship content up on WayUp that you can go and check out and view and kind of learn more about some of their programs, just if you are interested in learning more about their offices and cultures.
There’s content like that on our site.
And we’ll also be responding to any questions that we didn’t get to also on the blog post, so we’ll have all that extra information. And so, this has been an incredible hour, I think everyone who tuned in is extremely thankful and so are we for all your time.
So, thanks so much and we’re really happy to have had all of you participate.
Thanks for having us.
Yeah, thank you all. Cheers take care.Yeah, thank you all. Cheers take care.
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