Students in the process of obtaining a web design degree often wonder what a web design internship is, and usually the second question or thought is how can it benefit them. First, let’s talk about what an internship is.
What is an Internship?
An internship is basically on-the-job training. It’s specifically for students who are trying to obtain real world experience. It provides a working education. Internships are commonly unpaid, but in some circumstances, interns can be paid for their contributions. Web design internships give students an inside look into a design company that they didn’t have previously.
Work Experience Internship
This is the most common type of internship. During the school year, or immediately after, the student is placed with a company to complete an internship that lasts a specific amount of time. Often, the school has a relationship with the company and routinely provides interns to the company. The intern is expected to use knowledge learned in their classes in their major. In the case of web design, the intern would be expected to use their design knowledge to complete beginner tasks for the company.
In some cases, students are required to provide research or a dissertation on a company within their chosen field. This kind of internship doesn’t often apply to web design. It’s for business or accounting students who will report on the health, management and accounting practices of a corporation.
Why is it Beneficial?
Students leave school with zero experience in their chosen field. They must compete against other students for positions, and an internship gives them a distinct advantage over the student who has no real world experience.
The student receives experience that can be extremely valuable as a tool of learning while in school. After an internship, a student may tweak his or her courses to reflect what was learned in the internship. Some students find that they are drawn to one facet of the work, they can change the remaining courses to hone in on that specialty.
How to Obtain One
When choosing a school, ask a school official about the companies with which they have an interning partnership. There is fierce competition between the students for the few internship spots, so be prepared to fight for the positions in the interview process or throughout the year with great grades and a professional attitude. A professional portfolio is a huge plus. A student should have a physical print portfolio as well as an online portfolio. The print portfolio is perfect for interviews while the online one is great for initial inquiries and directing interested companies. Behance and Coroflot are two free online portfolio sites.
Educational institutions are not the only way to obtain a web design internship. Students should be researching companies in their chosen field of design for the opportunity to intern. It’s important that students do not wait for these opportunities. Research early and make inquiries. Design Related has news related to design projects and information that could be extremely helpful to students. There are job boards that cater specifically to design like AIGA, which has a section exclusively for internships.
Web design internships are an important part of the process. Students should prepare early for finding the perfect internship for them.