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Applying for Internships (Part 1): Research

PREVIOUS PART: Applying for Internships (Part 0): Developing a Process

This first step is essential in figuring out what internships exist that fit my criteria. What I'm looking for in an internship is the opportunity to work on inspiring products or services, to focus on learning new and interesting things, and to develop meaningful relationships with people in the technology industry. On the technical side of things, my preference would be working with web-based technologies including AngularJS, Node.js, MongoDB; or with hardware in an Internet of Things context. Knowing what internships I will be applying for will help shape my solution to the subsequent steps.

I will be applying for internships locally (in Fredericton, New Brunswick), but also abroad. Although there are many great employers where I live, there are only a few that have really inspired me. So for that reason I decided not to limit myself to local internships.

After finishing my research of available internships, here are my top prospects:

Companies Abroad

DoorDash Logo

DoorDash [Software Engineer Intern]

San Francisco, CA

DoorDash is a startup based in San Fransisco, California. Their product is a delivery service for local merchants around the world. Customers can order products via DoorDash and have them delivered within 45 minutes.

Full Job Posting

What attracts me to DoorDash is their passion for building a great platform for both customers and merchants. From reviewing their website, I got a real sense of community from them and it seems like a fun place to work and build professional relationships. The job posting itself excites me because it involves problem-solving in engineering and working on large-scale web applications. These are areas in which I want to improve my skills. Futhermore, I have had experience building full stack web products, so I think I am a good fit for this position. And although the posting mentions machine learning, which I am not too familar with, I would love to get started in that area!

I think, especially for internships, if I fit all of the qualifying criteria, I'm overqualified. An internship should be a learning experience -- not just a means of income. So I'm aiming a little higher and applying for jobs just a bit out of my comfort zone. Of course, I wouldn't apply for jobs that I'm completely unqualified for; that wouldn't make for a positive learning experience. Finding the right balance of experience and learning potential is key when searching for internships.

Tubular Labs Logo

Tubular Labs [Software Engineer - Intern]

Mountain View, CA

Tubular Labs is based in Mountain View, California and they provide a software platform for online video analytics. Their clients include Comedy Central, Activision, and many more. They are a very passionate team and I love the dedication they have to continually improve their products.

Here's the job posting on Tubular's website: Software Engineer - Intern

For their Software Engineer - Intern position, they are looking for someone who wants to make an impact on their product and they believe in a hands-on approach to learning. I like this job posting because it is flexible. The only criteria are (1) having "a desire to learn and build great experiences" and (2) currently be enrolled in a computer science-related degree program. What this tell me as an applicant is that Tubular is really focused on making sure their interns have a great experience.

I also love that they are using technologies and languages that I'm interested in: ElasticSearch, AWS, Python, AngularJS, and more! In my mind, this would be the perfect internship for me. It has a great balance between my current skill set what I want to learn. Tubular is 100% me.

Dropbox Logo

Dropbox [Software Engineer Intern - Summer 2016, Site Reliability Engineer Intern- Summer 2016]

San Francisco, CA

If you haven't heard of Dropbox then I don't know where you've been over the past decade. Dropbox was the company that led the charge in cloud-based file storage and syncing. They were then followed by products like iCloud Drive and Google Drive. However, Dropbox offers customizable features and a landscape of third-party plugins which set them apart from their competitors. I've always liked the company ever since I started using their product. So naturally I would love to work on Dropbox. I'd love to learn anything I can from the Dropbox team through an internship.

Dropbox currently has two internships for Summer 2016 in my field:

Personally, I like the first job posting most as it focuses on working with web-based technologies and APIs, both of which I have some experience with. What I would like to get out of this internship would be a knowledge about the inner workings of the Dropbox product. I think it's just amazing how Dropbox works, and I would hope some of that innovative thinking rubs off on me. ;)

Lyft Logo

Lyft [Intern: Software Engineer (Summer 2016)]

San Francisco, CA

Yet another company in the San Fransisco area, Lift is company that is similar to Uber. Their product is based on the ride-sharing concept, connecting passengers with drivers. Their product is a real-time system involving geolocation data analytics, which makes for some interesting work.

Their Intern: Software Engineer (Summer 2016) position highlights collaborative teamwork, predictive matching algorithms with machine learning, dealing with race conditions in real-time server environments, and schema-less databases (specifically MongoDB).

This internship seems to offer a similar experience to DoorDash's internship. I think both would be a positive learning experience, especially in the area of machine learning.

SpaceX Logo


Los Angeles, CA

SpaceX is a company that offers incredible opportunities for their employees to invent the future. Being an industry leader in privatized space exploration, SpaceX frequently makes headlines with new breakthroughs in various branches of engineering. They are arguably the most innovative company in existance today. I think an internship at SpaceX would push my abilities the most out of any of these companies. Projects at SpaceX range across several branches of engineering so I think my versitility as a software engineering student (which combines electrical and computer engineering with computer science) is a likely match with SpaceX.

Internships at SpaceX are offered in several groups, three of which describe my skill set: Avionics (electronics), Avionics (software), and Enterprise Information Systems. What sets SpaceX apart from other companies I'm applying for is that it is not strictly a software company. Being exposed to working with software and hardware together is what excites me about an internship at SpaceX. In my mind embedded systems is the niche industry in which software engineers were destined to thrive, and at SpaceX there is no shortage of customized and complex embedded systems.

Google Logo


Almost Anywhere

I'm sure I don't have to explain what Google does (and I would be hard pressed to do so considering how big the company is). It also goes without saying the endless opportunities Google can offer with internships.

There are dozens of internship positions with Google that have peaked my interest. So for that reason, I'm not going to reference a specific job posting here. However, my ideal internship with Google would involve either working on a web-based platform, or designing UI/UX, or working with hardware in an Internet of Things context.

The possibilities at Google are so endless that it's hard to pinpoint any one posting as my favourite.

Content Bloom Logo

Content Bloom

Halifax, NS

A bit closer to home with an office in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Content Bloom is a digital agency offering a range of professional services. The branch of Content Bloom I am interested in is their technology services, which primarily focuses on web design and development with a wide variety of languages and frameworks.

I think this is a company at which I could provide a lot of immediate value to their team, given my skills and experience. I'm not sure about how much of a learning opportunity an internship with Content Bloom would offer, so that would be a question for an interview. For now I'm just focusing on researching potential prospects, and I'm definately interested in learning what Content Bloom has to offer.

Local Internships (Fredericton, New Brunswick)

NOTE: There are rarely publicly posted internships with local companies because most internships in Fredericton are reserved for registered co-op students (myself included) at the University of New Brunswick and are only available through the Computer Science Faculty Co-op Job Bank. For privacy reasons, I am limited in what I can say about these jobs. So I'm omitting information that is not public knowledge.

Blue Spurs Logo

Blue Spurs

Blue Spurs is a company based in Fredericton, NB, and they provide a variety of services for custom application development to cloud computing solutions.

I have interviewed with Blue Spurs in the past and, from my interview, I think they would provide great environment for learning a variety of new technologies including AngularJS, ElasticSearch, and more. Their projects are often web and mobile-based, which would fit well with my current skill set. I also like that projects at Blue Spurs are mostly contracted, rather than internal. This means that there's always something different happening at the company on a regular basis, which makes for great learning potential.

Cvent Logo


Cvent wants to transform the way we schedule and plan meetings and events. Their suite of software products enables clients to plan events with ease.

I became interested in working at Cvent in Fredericton when I met their Director of Product Development, Brian Dunphy, and we had an in-depth conversation about UX/UI and front-end development. Being an accomplished entrepreneur and a co-founder of Radian6, Brian is a leader in New Brunswick's IT industry. So working with him would be both a priviledge and an excellent opportunity to learn from the best. Cvent has a great product that is used my people all over the world and I would love to have a part in moving it forward. However, the real value in working with Cvent would be learning from Brian's experience in the industry through working with his team.

Other Prospects

I have a few other prospects for internships in summer 2016 through connections I have with people in the industry. However, in this part of the process I'm focusing on companies which have not yet made me a firm offer. I will be keeping current offers in mind in the following steps of my process, thinking about what actions led to those employment offers and how I can incorporate that success in my application process with other employers. Also, when my UNB's co-op job bank opens up for summer 2016 jobs, I'm sure there will be other jobs that will interest me, and I will also keep that in mind.

What's Next?

Trello Board with Research done.

Now that I have an idea of what internships I'm interested in, the next step is to audit my current resume and take note of what's out-of-date, what's missing, and what needs improvement. In the next part I'll do an analysis of the results of auditing my resume.

NEXT PART: Applying for Internships (Part 1): Auditing my Current Resume

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