Below is a general explanation and walk-through of the internship process. Exact dates and deadlines will differ for each course. You will be provided all dates and deadlines specific to your cohort as internships draw near.
We've put together a resource you can refer to for what to expect at your internship and tips for resolving issues that might crop up whether you're attending in person or remotely.
For part-time students, WEB students outside the Portland or Seattle area, or for any student pursuing their own internship — please pay special attention to this section in same resource titled Arranging Your Own Internship
Preparation and Practice for Internships
Please refer to this general schedule of career services:
Before you interact with potential internship companies, you will have class time to practice writing application materials and interviewing.
Two notable events to help you prepare are Mock Interviews and Resume and Cover Letter Day in Class.
You'll have a 30 minute soft skills mock interview with a Career Advisor. This interview practice will focus on your soft-skills and how you tell your story.
Resume and Cover Letter Day in Class
You'll have the entire class session to practice writing your resume and cover letter, either to our fake job posting or a real posting you have found. We'll work in pairs, helping each other out and giving feedback, but we'll each work on our own materials.
If you are an in-person student at the Portland or Seattle campus, please bring a laptop to class, if you can, to Resume and Cover Letter Career Day.
After completing the in-class day detailed above, you will be assigned a time check in with an advisor regarding your cover letter and resume. They'll review them prior to your meeting, provide feedback, and you'll have an opportunity to ask questions.
Full-Time Internship Matchmaking Process
Matchmaking is available to students in the full-time full-stack program who are attending Epicodus in the Portland or Seattle metro area. It is available to all other students on a case-by-case basis
During the Matchmaking Process, students will have their internship arranged by their advisor through a matchmaking system with local and remote companies.
More details will be provided in a future lesson and in the student internship agreement but the following section covers a brief overview of matchmaking:
Overview of Matchmaking
The matchmaking process is designed to create the best situation possible for all students and hosts, and takes feedback and rankings from both into account.
During Week 18 of class, you'll be given the ability to start ranking companies in Epicenter. In the following week, after students have submitted rankings, each will be assigned roughly 3-5 companies to interview with, and at least two should be companies you ranked highly!
After this, interviews will take place. Epicodus will schedule interviews for you with reasonable travel time between each. You will be provided your schedule in advance of your interviews. You must attend all interviews at the time specified by your schedule, even with companies that may not be your first choice.
Your advisor will then contact you and request you re-rank each company you've interviewed with. After all interviews have taken place, we'll compile both company feedback and student rankings and attempt to match all students with the best possible internship. Once completed, you will find your internship assignment in Epicenter.
Organizing Your Own Internship
For part-time students and WEB students outside the Portland or Seattle area, the expectation is that you will be arranging your own internship. The following section covers some direction and support on the subject.
Who Should Organize Their Own Internship?
Situations where this applies are:
- You are in the part-time full-stack program. The part-time program was created to allow students to attend Epicodus without putting a strain on their schedule and livelihood, and our traditional internship program would run counter to that. For the part-time program, you have the freedom to arrange an internship when you're ready, and since it's not part of a program that has to consider the rest of your classmates, there's a lot more freedom around the schedule. Students in the part-time program may have the option to join the full-time internship on a case-by-case basis.
- You don't want to go into development. Since the traditional program is a matchmaking process, all internship opportunities have to be broadly applicable, but we frequently have students who want to go into project management, QA, or other development adjacent fields where a development internship might not best suit their needs.
- You have a connection in the industry you are able to and want to leverage. That's great! There is a greater chance of your internship leading to a full-time position in cases like these, so it's very much to your benefit to take advantage of any connections you already have!
- You have very specific preferences. Again, all internship opportunities have to be broadly applicable, and we can't make any kind of guarantees about where your internship will be or what kind of projects you might be working on. If you want to make sure your internship is/isn't remote, is in a specific language or industry, is with a company of a particular size or team makeup, or if you're moving out of the area and need your internship to be outside the Portland or Seattle metro area, you'll want to organize your own internship.
Finding an Internship Company
Finding a company to intern with might feel like a daunting process, but many of the processes we use to coordinate internships at our Portland and Seattle campuses will carry over well for students arranging their own internship. You may already have connections you want to leverage, and if so, that's great! If not, here are the general steps you'll want to follow:
You'll want to start by gathering a list of companies to reach out to. We ask you keep track of these companies on a spreadsheet so you can remember who you contacted at which company and remember to follow up with them. Also if you feel you are not making progress once you start reaching out to companies, an Advisor will be better able to help you if you are keeping good records.
The most obvious companies to reach out to are tech companies, so you might start by doing an online search for tech companies near you. But don't stop there! Now that most companies have an online presence or perhaps an app, there are frequently opportunities to work with a development team at a company in another industry.
Another good way to source companies is to look at job postings, as if you were looking for roles to apply to. Try the tech jobs section of your local Craigslist, or do a search for developer jobs on Indeed, LinkedIn, or other job search websites.
For example, you can search for openings at local tech companies around you with keywords such as: “software developer”, “software engineer”, “junior developer”, “web developer”, "intern" or "internship". These will most often be jobs that aren't appropriate to apply for yet, but they'll clue you in that they have a developer presence and might be a good fit for an internship. You can also reference this lesson on Job Boards for more suggestions about job boards to check out or tactics to try.
How to Reach Out
Once you've found some companies to reach out to, the next step is to get in touch with someone at the company. If you already know someone at the company, that's great! You can lean on that, and either reach out to them or ask them who the appropriate person to get in touch with is. If you do not know someone already, refer to this lesson on Expand Your Job Search Network Through Cold Emailing. It gives some advice on identifying the right contact, and how to go about reaching out if you don't already have a connection at a company.
It's completely okay to reach out to a company, introduce yourself, and ask if they are interested in hosting you for an internship — even if they don't have an internship position listed anywhere! Tech is wonderful in that it is an industry that wants to work with newcomers. Even if the company doesn't have an internship listed, you may spark a conversation within their company about bringing in a junior developer. It's a plus if you have an interest in the company you can share such as you value their mission/goals or the company is related to a similar field you worked in.
There are lots of lessons on Applying to Internships and Jobs. A very important lesson is Following Up During the Job Application Process If you're not following up with people you have reached out to, you could very easily miss out on some good leads.
Coordinating With Epicodus
Once you've secured an internship, you'll want to make sure we're looped in so that we can credit it towards your graduation. Send an email to your advisor connecting them with your mentor or another appropriate representative at the company you'll be interning with. They will need to confirm the start date of your internship and that they are able to comply with the requirements of the program (at least 30 hours a week of coding related experience and a developer able to act as a mentor) by signing the employer internship agreement. In the event that you are pursuing a career that is not development, for example if you were pursuing a project management internship instead, let your advisor know so that we can work with you to adjust these requirements accordingly.