Computer Science students get industry experience with Wayne State C&IT
If you finish your undergraduate career without an internship, landing an interview for a full-time gig is going to be an uphill battle. Making sure Wayne State University computer science students graduate with hands-on experience is just one reason the Computing & Information Technology Internship Program was created.
The WSU division responsible for Wi-Fi, email, web hosting, campus IT support and more, C&IT has always employed student assistants — but as Detroit’s presence in the technology industry continues to grow, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer Daren Hubbard saw that C&IT could help students make the leap from class to career more than ever.
C&IT staff outlined the three-year program and hosted its first open house in spring 2018. From there, it launched the inaugural program at the beginning of the fall semester. A diverse group of 10 Wayne State students are working with departments across C&IT over the span of the three-year program to gain firsthand experience in IT and related fields.
These students work with C&IT mentors on a variety of real-world projects, such as wireless networking, smart devices and virtual reality. Each semester, they work on a new assignment in a different department; over the program’s three years, they will narrow down to one area of interest. They will also spend time at the C&IT Help Desk, learning customer service and support skills. This often happens before they have taken their first computer science class.
Senior Director of Academic, Core & Intelligence Applications Robert Thompson, who oversees the internship program, called it a “win for everybody.” The plan provides students with work experience and a sense that they are contributing to real projects, and it gives C&IT mentors the chance to learn management and leadership skills to enhance their career.
A newly designed office with workspaces for interns is being built in the Computing Services Center. The new space is designed to encourage collaboration with desks, armchairs, whiteboards and more. Students are even assigned their own C&IT DeskTech-supported laptop computers.
Applications for the 2019 internship program will open next year and representatives will be present at the College of Engineering winter open house. Visit tech.wayne.edu/interns for updates.