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Just apply. Get into the mode of applying and interviewing. Fail interviews and move on. Don’t accept unpaid internships for experience otherwise you won’t know how much you’re worth.
Do projects you can talk about during the interview. We don’t judge too harshly on internship candidates. Be prepared to solve algorithm questions. Mostly easy to some medium on leetcode should be good enough.
But you must get an internship before you graduate otherwise you’re in the danger zone. We prefer one internship because it humbles you out. There are differences between industry and non-industry people.
What’s common knowledge between non-industry is vastly different from industry. Even QA understands asynchronous vs synchronous. Though it’s really masked from internship candidates. We’ll praise you for doing a “hello world” server project. But don’t let it get to your head. The industry is full of brilliant people. But you’ll also realize, they’re just people too. Even if you’re one of the few engineers who worked on Google Ads early on. You’ll still make mistakes!
Start applying. Get into the industry. After that you’ll be helping new grads as well. For me, it’s fresh in my mind to put myself into your shoes. I’ve just recently graduated. I had all these questions before my first internship: Are people really really good out there? How does software development actually look like? What if I can’t keep up?
Then it becomes a transition from your university days to professional life. It will all become natural soon.
Having just got through this myself I would agree with @growling,
If you need suggestions of where to start looking I would highly recommend:
1. Attending non-university events such as hackathons, these are normally sponsored by companies looking for skilled graduates or people looking for internships. These can work out great if you treat them as a way to show off your skills and not a competition. Chat to the sponsors, tell them about what you are making and see if they are hiring. I went to one hosted by a company and scored an internship sans interview and assessment centre. The student organised ones in league with MLH are also fun and you are more likely to find either more local people or people involved with startups if that is what you may prefer.
2. Attend Milk roundabouts, basically job fairs for startups/ small to medium companies. You can always be favoured if you can impress (but not oversell) yourself when meeting the tech lead for a small company for the first time but if you can make yourself memorable and get invited to an interview they may be more willing to give you a chance.
3. Attend user groups, find yourself a local usergroup for a topic you enjoy and chances are you will find people of similar mind who will be using that technology in their work, get to know them and see if their company is hiring!
On a final note, I have been talking about getting an internship/job in industry but there is another less trodden path into academia, this is more for the person who has found their calling in university on a specific specialty such as AI, quantum computing or functional programming. The idea there would be to identify which topic you would be interested doing a Master's/PHD in and find yourself a good lecturer to help you through it, that lecturer may be from another university and make sure you are studying at a university which is known for that subject. If this is the path you want to go I would recommend talking to your head of course or a friendly lecturer to see what they say, most lecturers like encouraging their best students into further academia, usually means there are more lecturers in the department meaning less teaching requirement on them :)
Hope this helped!
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