College and university students will be heading back to school in the coming weeks, but it’s not too late to line up an amazing internship opportunity at one of Chicago’s many tech companies and startups.
Books and classrooms will only take you so far, but a choice internship at a thriving company can help you learn essential on-the-job skills, hone in on what you really want to do and help you network to make the leap once you have your degree in hand. And depending on where you intern, the takeaway could be very different.
“At a larger company, you might get very deep exposure into a specific area, whereas at a startup, you should look to get exposure to a variety of experiences,” says Kristin Barrett, a senior director at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. “When you’re looking at startup internships, you should ask if, and how, you can gain this exposure. For example, you might be able to join senior staff meetings, sit in on customer calls, or shadow the technical team to understand how products are built.”
It’s not just about what you take away from a company either—what you contribute can be just as important, and it can help set you up for a post-graduation career. “We’re looking to gain inspiration for what’s next from our interns,” explains Hank Ostholthoff, CEO of digital marketing agency Mabbly, which has hired past interns. “As we go to brand our new A.I. tool, the [summer] interns gave us inspiration and creative ideas, which are currently being implemented.”
Ready to inspire and be inspired? Here’s a look at some of the intriguing tech-related internships available with companies and positions of all sorts.
1. BallotReady Data Project Intern (Paid)
It’s the topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue: the 2016 presidential election. And you can help shape the information that’s out there with BallotReady, the digital voting booth advice app, which is seeking an intern to help turn its mass of candidate data into meaningful content.
2. Oranj Software Developer Intern (Paid)
Interested in how technology can improvement investment and have coding skills? Check out this internship with startup Oranj, which offers a digital financial advisor platform for firms large and small. Three internships are available with the possibility of it becoming a proper job.
3. Opternative Quality Assurance Intern (Paid)
Nobody likes going in for an eye exam, and Opternative has the solution: its digital exam can be done at home with a computer and smartphones. The QA intern will work with all teams on polishing the patient process from start to finish, and role is intended to prepare potential full-time employees.
4. Vibes Marketing Intern (Paid)
Vibes works with companies like Verizon and Gap to increase brand loyalty via mobile devices, whether it’s push notifications or integration with Apple’s Wallet on iPhone or Android Pay. As a marketing intern, you’ll support the team’s efforts while learning the wide-reaching platform.
Fancy a career in the public sector and want to help the city with your tech wizardry? The City of Chicago is looking for an intern to help process and convert geographic data, which allows the city to better serve citizens with its websites and services.
6. Mabbly Marketing Internship (Unpaid)
Mabbly goes big and bold for its internship program, called “Literally the Most Kick-Ass Internship Program Ever,” and interns work for a week at a time on a different client and have competitions for prizes. Sounds like a good way to get a lot of experience in a short amount of time.
7. BucketFeet Media Intern (Unpaid)
Chicago’s artist-driven footwear startup recently pivoted exclusively to its direct-to-consumer model, and wants a brilliant intern to help connect with those customers via social media and web platforms.
8. DialogTech Accounting Intern (Unpaid)
As an accounting intern for DialogTech, you’ll help the phone call analytics company with data entry and compliance work, as well as take on special projects from time to time.