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This article was published on December 23, 2013

How to draw in the best computer science interns to your company

How to draw in the best computer science interns to your company
Nathan Parcells
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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is co-founder and CMO of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with N Nathan Parcells is co-founder and CMO of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Nathan and InternMatch on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Nathan Parcells is co-founder and CMO of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Nathan and InternMatch on Facebook,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter

It’s no secret that the field of computer science is booming. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 70 percent of all new jobs across STEM fields during this decade – which includes everything from engineering to the social sciences – will be in computer science. That means if your company isn’t pulling in an influx of young computer science interns, you may be in jeopardy.

You may be wondering what interns have to do with tomorrow’s hiring prospects. It’s important to know that nearly 60 percent of all interns receive full-time job offers upon internship completion. Today’s interns are tomorrow’s full-time professionals.

The National Association of College and Employers Job Outlook 2013 survey found that computer and information science degrees are among the most in-demand as of late, meaning it’s in your company’s best interest to nab talented computer science students before your competitors.

Drawing in the best computer science students to your internship program isn’t always an easy task. Here are a few ways give your employment brand a makeover and ensure you stand out as the demand for computer science talent increases:

1. Do more with your campus recruiting efforts

With better recruiting efforts comes better intern candidates. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting awesome computer science interns, but it often comes down to making the right connections.

Create strong, lasting connections with top computer science programs in colleges across the nation. Begin reaching out to professors, graduate assistants and career centers at these colleges and universities, and attend their career fairs.

You may even consider asking for referrals from current and previous employees and interns. They will be able to vouch for and put you in direct contact with great computer science students who fit your company’s culture, skill requirements and overall goals.

2. Lend a hand

Instead of actively selling your employer brand to potential computer science interns, offer to help out first. Reach out to on-campus connections and offer to speak directly to computer science classes about industry happenings or career advice, like how to land a great computer science-relatedinternship and what to expect when taking one.

Make a point to actually visit campuses to speak directly to students about your industry. Consider hosting a “tech talk” for computer science students.

If you can’t make it to the classroom, consider hosting a Q&A session via Skype or hosting an informative Google Hangout. You may even want to create a mentorship program between some of your current employees and computer science students at a local university.

3. Up the ante

Creating contests or competitions is a great way to drum up interest and add a new level of energy to your intern recruiting and hiring process. Consider hosting an online contest that allows candidates to showcase their skills. If set up properly, you will be able to both attract and assess a number of potential candidates vying for your attention and internship opportunities.

You may also want to consider holding a technical contest like a hackathon. Most large organizations are currently offering these competitions, partnering, or sponsoring them to ensure they are first in line for top contenders.

4. Competitive compensation rates

Pay’s a hot topic in the internship community in light of the recent lawsuits springing up across a variety of industries. Computer science is one area where you have to be willing to offer a competitive salary to ensure you’ll pull in top students. The current salary average for computer science and ITinterns comes in at just under $19 an hour, but can run as high as $30 an hour.

5. Top-notch experience

It takes a lot more than a fair salary to draw in and retain great computer science interns. According to a recent InternMatch survey, only 8.8 percent of students said pay was the most important part of their internship experience.

Ensure your internship program offers an incredibly immersive, hands-on environment that includes valuable projects, training and mentorship. If your interns aren’t walking away with a bursting portfolio, they probably won’t even consider returning. 

6. Cater to diversity

Nabbing the best computer science interns also means playing to the needs of diverse candidates. Whether this means offering more flexibility, higher pay or an unmatched diversity mentorship program, it’s your chance to make a difference in your field. You may even consider offering needs-based scholarships like Etsy did to support women in technology and narrow the gender gap.

Drawing in the best computer science interns for your internship program is essential to the future of your company. Going above and beyond to improve your internship program and recruiting process is certain to gain the attention of a number of worthy students.

What are you doing to draw in computer science students?

Image credit: Mila Supinskaya/Shutterstock

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