It’s the beginning of May now and many college students and soon to be college graduates are looking for internships or their first programming jobs. Job hunting can be tough for anyone, but especially when you’re starting out in your career and don’t have a ton (or any) experience you feel comfortable mentioning. This post will go over some strategies, websites and resources for finding your first internship or computer programming job.
I graduated from college with a Political Science degree and learned to code later on in life. (God that makes me sound old.) Having an internship definitely isn’t required for you to find a job after college but it certainly helps. The engineers and managers in their mid twenties that I see at software companies in San Francisco generally applied themselves and used their time to advance their careers during summer breaks.
If you are even trying to get a technical internship or work at a startup while you’re still in college you are ahead of most students out there.
That said, here are some resources to help you in your search.
🎒 Stay organized
One really helpful thing you can do to keep your sanity during the job hunt is to stay organized. This means stay focused on the things you have normally going on in your life like classes, exercise, other work, family, whatever it may be. Keeping a level head will help you find the opportunity that’s right for you. You’ll also appear more humble and come off as having your shit together during interviews if you’re living your best life and not running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Definitely exercise and stay healthy!
On a more technical level, staying organized means tracking what companies you’ve applied to, what companies are out there, where you want to work and what you’re looking for. When you you start applying to positions, keep track of your applications in an Airtable board, Google sheet or use an app like Recruit: Job Tracking.
🔎 Finding companies to apply to
In the Bay Area alone there are thousands of tech companies and startups. Chances are you’ll need to find housing in the Bay Area. If you’re living with your parents than you’ll need to find an opportunity that has a reasonable commute. A few months for an internship can be okay doing an hour or more to the office, but over the long term it’s a dealbreaker.
Once you’ve narrowed down the geography you’re looking to work in (San Francisco, the Peninsula, East Bay, North Bay, South Bay) it’s time to find tech companies and startups.
One mistake I see many candidates make is blindly clicking apply to hundreds of job postings and every job listing out there on the internet. This is certainly a valid strategy but I don’t recommend it. Look for companies that are hiring, definitely do apply but be deliberate with your applications. Know why you’re a good fit for the company and position you’re applying to. Reach out to people who work at that company. Let them know you’re interested and that you’ve applied to work with them. They’ll appreciate it and it helps to know that your application isn’t going into a blackhole.
When looking for opportunities at startups and tech companies in the Bay Area use Glassdoor, Indeed and AngelList. Feel free to check out the job listings I have here on Employbl, but the sample size is teeny tiny compared to these massive job boards.
For more strategies on landing an internship and finding companies to apply to I highly recommend looking at these GitHub repos:
🐢 Social profiles
Stackoverflow has a robust job search engine as well. Many recruiters use it to find talented candidates. I recommend creating a stackoverflow jobs profile. If you have the time answer a few questions on there and you can rack up points. This could generate inbound offers and points on answers accumulate over time.
If you’re in the military or a veteran of the US military check out Shift.org. They match military veterans and active service members with careers at tech companies and startups in the civilian sector. They’re backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors and are good people too.
📝 Interview preparation
It’s very common to encounter data structures and algorithm questions when applying for technical internships. I’ve put together a list, complete with code samples of ways you can prep for these types of interviews. I hope you find it helpful!
The GitHub repo is here: connor11528/cs-fundamentals.
Other resources for discovering startups and tech companies
Crunchbase is the tech industry’s phonebook of companies. They block a lot of access if you’re not on one of their paid plans. It’s a helpful resource none the less.
Breakout List is a list of startups that are hot right now 🔥, according to the author. They have some helpful links towards the bottom of the site. It’s a good way to discover new tech companies and startups on the scene.
Builtin is a fantastic site for discovering companies if you are in one of the seven cities they’ve launched in. They’re not in the Bay Area unfortunately. Still a great resource!
Investor portfolios: This might drive you nuts but you could look through the portfolios of prominent Venture Capital (VC) firms to see what companies they’ve chosen to back. There aren’t a lot of filtering options on there but it is a good source of companies. I didn’t know anything about investment firms (still don’t really) when I graduated from college, so learning tidbits here could help you down the line when evaluating opportunities. This is the Andreesen Horowitz portfolio, First Round Capital portfolio and Sequoia Capital portfolio.
That’s all folks! Please feel to create a candidate profile if you are hunting for jobs in the Bay Area or are considering a career change. I’ll do my best to help! You can hit me up on Twitter at any time: @connor11528 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.