The Value of an Internship
Navigating through college can be a tough endeavor for a lot of people. There is only so much that high school can do to prepare a student for what they can expect from college life and even less where career preparation is concerned. Luckily, in every college, exists the opportunity to gain real world experience and knowledge in whatever academic field a student chooses and often these opportunities can, when approached with the right attitude and with the right timing, lead to a potential career after college. I am talking of course about internships; often stereotyped as a position involving coffee runs, slave labor, underappreciated efforts and a general sense of hopelessness that the experience will lead to nothing but a few credits and a lot of wasted time. Fortunately for the most part, these stereotypes are nothing more than exaggerated tales from a few bad experiences and these days more and more students are realizing the importance of an internship, paid or unpaid in their respective field.
The benefit of an internship in the field of engineering is exceptional in what can be gained from it for the both the intern and the firm alike. Participating in an engineering internship allows the student to fully immerse themselves into their chosen career with real world applications through hands on projects that they may or may not be exposed to in their classes, as well as allowing them to explore other disciplines they may have never knew they were interested in. The firm on the other hand can not only gain additional manpower for arduous projects, but can benefit from a fresh mind with new ideas that is likely eager to learn and put classroom theories into practice.
We at Hoyle, Tanner believe in the value of an internship and what the experience can provide young and aspiring engineers. We regularly take on interns for summer positions as they near the end of their college career in an effort to prepare them for a long and successful career in civil engineering.
Hoyle, Tanner currently has two interns working in our Manchester headquarters this summer. Katelyn Welch, who is working with our bridge group and Amy Johnson, who is working with our environmental group. I recently talked with both of them to get a better understanding of what they feel are the benefits of an internship in the engineering field, and what I found out was that engineering students who seek out an internship have more than a few things in common; the main aspect being that they want to be challenged. The challenge seems to be the driving force behind the decision to pursue major in engineering in the first place as those in the field tend to have a curiosity in new ways to approach a problem as well as a desire for growth and continual education.
The value of the internship really shines through when they are given the opportunity to work in the field and experience what the job is really like. Both Katelyn and Amy noted that the work they have done so far has exceeded their expectations. Since engineering is very much a team effort, they have both been given the opportunity to collaborate with our full time staff on a wide variety of projects and have been fully involved throughout the process. Aside from their direct involvement with Hoyle, Tanner projects, both Katelyn and Amy are gaining insight into a lot of aspects of engineering in the real world that will surely give them a leg up in the future, such as countless terms, procedures, tasks and calculations that they feel they wouldn’t learn otherwise as well as gaining a better understanding of their chosen major/field is the right fit for them.
The other value they feel an internship provides is the anticipated ease of transition that comes when they enter the workforce after college. This much should be obviously evident, however, so many college graduates find out that they are either underqualified and need to take an entry level position at low pay when they need to actually make a paycheck, or that they are severely underprepared for what lies ahead of them. While many colleges have opted to make an internship mandatory to graduate, this is not always the case. With internships typically paying little to no money, many of them forego the opportunity to take on a low paying internship that would provide real world experience for a full time job on top of being a full time student. What we find with this recurring trend is a growing number of students who are graduating with little to no experience in their chosen field and without the connections that an internship provides, they are often left to fend for themselves in a sea of jobs with increasing standards and expectations for incoming applicants for entry level positions.
Fortunately, with this realization, many internships are either offering some form of pay or those who can’t afford to pay are working with local colleges to offer substantial credits towards the degree and in turn, more and more students are willing to take on an internship and more of these opportunities are leading to full time careers for the student at that company after graduation or it could lead to networking opportunities for those students that they may have not had before.
It is clear that the field of engineering is one that requires real immersion and involvement to really understand what to expect and can’t be mastered through books and classes alone. Internships like the ones we offer here at Hoyle, Tanner provide students with the real world knowledge and experience that is necessary to a successful career in the civil engineering world. If you are interested in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner visit our careers page or contact our Human Resources Department.