Skip to content

Industry Internships Bring Big Benefits to Graduate and Undergraduate Students in Computer Science and Software Engineering

With the UT Dallas campus located in the center of the Dallas area’s high-tech hub, it is hard not to notice how the campus is surrounded by hundreds of software, hardware, and telecom companies. Not only do these companies hire UT Dallas computer science and software engineering students in large numbers as interns (approximately 1,000 last year) and full-time employees (nearly 100% of our graduates had found positions by graduation last year), but they work with our CS faculty and students on joint research projects as well. The UT Dallas Computer Science Department also has taken numerous steps to encourage entrepreneurship among its students by introducing entrepreneurship education into its programs. The Erik Jonsson School maintains a full-time internship support program, the Industrial Practice Programs (IPP) office, which works on building rapport with various software and IT companies and helping students find internships. The internship program that the IPP office runs is one of the larger ones in the United States in terms of the number of interns placed.

We asked two students, one graduate and one undergraduate, to talk about their internship experience last summer. Ashley Handoko, a BS CS student, interned at USAA, and you can read more about her experience here. Dhruva Pendharkar, an MS CS student, interned at Uber, and you can read more about his experience here.

The UT Dallas Computer Science Department has a strong track record of connecting graduate and undergraduate students to tech companies for internship positions. Upon graduation, UT Dallas CS/SE graduates gain employment in companies such as Amazon, AT&T, Dell, eBay, Ericsson, Facebook, Fujitsu Network Communications, Google, IBM, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, QualComm, Raytheon, Sabre, Samsung, State Farm, Tyler Technologies, USAA, Verizon Wireless, Wolters Kluwer, and Yahoo.

Availability of a large number of internships is one of the many reasons why CS/SE MS students are attracted to the UT Dallas Computer Science Department. “We have an excellent record of placing our MS CS and MS SE students in full-time internships at high tech companies,” said Prof Shyam Karrah, UT Dallas Computer Science Director of Graduate Studies. “Not only these internships help students in acquiring industry-relevant skills, they also allow them to earn money that subsidizes their cost of education,” he added.

The UT Dallas CS Department assists a large number of undergraduate and graduate students in obtaining internships. During the 2016-2017-year academic year, approximately 795 computer science and software engineering students had a total of 930 internship assignments. Some of the most popular companies at which students take up internships include, Amazon, Avaya, BNSF Railways, Cisco Systems, Copart Inc., Ericsson, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Information Processing Corporation, Intel, InterDigital Communications Inc., MathWorks, Microsoft, Sabre, State Farm, Texas Instruments, Raytheon VMWare, and Yahoo.

When State Farm at CityLine opened less than 5 miles from UT Dallas during the summer of 2016, eight computer science students were selected to participate in a remote internship program that engages them in corporate projects while allowing them to remain on campus. Students are managed by State Farm employees and connected with teams of mentors based out of the company’s local offices.

“If we can bring in some top talent at an internship level, have them experience the State Farm culture and business acumen … it helps them by giving them world experience,” said Rob Stogsdill, a service manager at State Farm. “It helps us by building that talent pipeline, and it reinforces State Farm’s commitment to education.”

The program allowed for plenty of interaction between students and State Farm employees, whether in person or via video chat, email, or phone. The proximity to the local offices ensures corporate standards and quality are met before work is released into production. “We benefit from the diverse talent pool of students that UT Dallas provides,” Miller said. “Giving back and helping people — it’s in our DNA at State Farm. Our mentors will benefit as well.”

UT Dallas CS/SE graduates secure employment in both academia and industry. A significant number of UT Dallas alumni work in top technology companies such as Amazon, Cisco Systems, eBay, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Samsung. In addition, many graduates gravitate towards working in academia. Numerous UT Dallas CS/SE graduates have gone on to careers with major research Universities. In addition, many UT Dallas CS/SE graduates have also chosen to work for research centers such as the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM Almaden, Microsoft Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Twice a year the Industrial Practice Programs (IPP) for the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering & Computer Science and the UT Dallas Career Center work together to hold the biannual Intern Fair for UT Dallas Computer Science and Engineering students where companies are invited to recruit students for internship positions. During the fair, students are provided with the opportunity to interact with industry employers, submit resumes, receive useful job-search advice from seasoned company recruiters, and further develop their network of industry contacts. Companies that have participated in these fairs include AIG, ATOS, Amazon, Apple Inc., AT&T, Bioworld, Blu Age Corporation, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Epilson, Ethos Group, FedEx, Fidelity Investments, Fujitsu Network Communications, Google, Home Depot, IBM, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Raytheon, RIM, Rockwell Collins, Samsung Electronics, Securus Technologies, Texas Instruments (TI), Home Depot, USAA, Verizon Communications, and Wolters Kluwer, among others.

IPP and the UT Dallas Career Center also collaborate to work with companies around the country inviting them to come to UT Dallas and the Erik Jonsson School to recruit future employees. UT Dallas Computer Science, Software Engineering, Computer Engineering, as well as Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students prepare for these career fairs months in advance by taking part in resume building workshops offered by the Jonsson School Internship Program and the Career Center.

Jerry Alexander, Director of the Industrial Practice Programs (Intern and Co-op), notes, “participating in an internship is an important first step in a student’s career development process. An internship provides meaningful opportunities for the student to improve their technical skills under the mentorship of an industry professional while also developing an understanding of the corporate culture, norms, and expectations.” Mr. Alexander continued saying, “Having internship experience makes the student a more attractive candidate. Many companies hope to hire an intern so that they can develop a relationship with students that will motivate them to join the company after graduation. Since all internships are paid, students are able to earn money to defray the costs of living and educational expenses.”

To further help prepare and assist undergraduate and graduate students, the IPP office combines both classroom study and career-related work experience by holding workshops on subjects including developing a resume, building, and refining interview skills, contacting potential employers, and visiting prospective job sites. The UT Dallas CS Department, in conjunction with the IPP office, organizes a series of workshops titled, “Pathways to Internships.” These workshops teach skills that may be essential in the workplace but are not part of any specific offered course. IPP and the UT Dallas CS Department sponsored workshops include programming in PHP, JavaScript, .Net/C#, in addition to others. The CS Department leverages the relationships with tech companies by offering students workshops taught by industry professionals to help students become more marketable in their job search. Companies such as Microsoft, NetApp, Nokia, and a few other App development companies, have organized such workshops.

“We prepare our students well, both inside and outside the classroom, for internships and jobs, through a rigorous curriculum and various extracurricular activities including workshops, hackathons, programming competitions, information sessions, student club activities, etc,” added Dr. Gopal Gupta, Head of the Computer Science Department at UT Dallas.


ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT

The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 2,400 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,000 master’s students, 150 Ph.D. students,  53 tenure-track faculty members and 38 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2017. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.

iPerform I/UCRC Holds Its 8th Biannual Meeting at UT Dallas
Student Internship Success Series: Dhruva Pendharkar's Uber Technologies Internship