There's no better way for graduates to gain an insight into a sector than to undertake some kind of work experience. Here we take a peek at four great options for technology-focused internships.
The most obvious internship route is to find an opening at one of the major technology and telecoms companies - IBM and Cisco for example - which usually offer highly reputable, challenging and exciting internship opportunities.
There are also more diverse internship opportunities for undergraduates who want to combine an interest in a commercial sector (such as fashion) with a technology career.
2. Spring Programmes at Investment Banks & Trading Firms
Many investment banks and trading firms have a range of Summer, Winter and Spring technology internship programmes open to students in their penultimate or final year of study. Summer internship programmes are between 10 and 12 weeks long; Winter and Spring programmes vary from one week to six months depending on business requirements and the student's availability.
In these instances, internships start with a training course, equipping undergraduates with the skills and experience they need to succeed. Fully integrated into the relevant team, interns are given responsibility within real projects working alongside senior managers, associates and analysts.
All internships provide a deep insight into the role of technology in investment banking, and the potential career opportunities open to technology graduates.
Some banks also offer week-long Spring Programmes aimed at first-year undergraduates, or those in their second year of a four-year course. These provide an unparalleled insight to what life in a technology department may be like and the chance to be fast-tracked onto future opportunities.
3. Interning in a Small / Start-Up Business
It is always good to think beyond the obvious big players to the technology start-ups and other smaller businesses whose daily activities revolve around - and rely heavily on - technology: online retail, gaming or mobile app development for example.
Though you may not find a standardised internship programme, many of these firms are very keen to accept speculative applications and have interns working for the period of a university holiday or longer.
Interning within smaller businesses does not always mean the same level of access to formalised training, but can provide amazing exposure to the workings of the business and involve major responsibility from day one - the approach often being one of all-hands-on-deck.
4. Year-Long Industrial Placements
Year-long industrial placements are another option for interns looking to complete a year in industry as part of their degree. Technology consultancies, such as Accenture, and some banks, are an excellent place for undergraduates in computer science and related disciplines to start deepening their skills in a specialist area.
They also often serve as a spring board for entry into technology graduate training programmes aimed at final-year students and recent graduates in Computer Science and related disciplines.
Given that employers use internships as part of their recruitment pipeline, you have to remember that the employer could be using the period of an internship to consider you as a potential employee after you finish your studies.
Beyond this, any work experience you gain will give you something to talk about at subsequent interviews and perhaps confirm why you want to pursue a particular career.