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Even though an internship may not technically be required in the engineering field, depending on your specific industry, it’s still a good idea to complete any engineering internship opportunities you are given during your academic career. Apart from allowing you to develop a feel for the engineering role and its applications on a day-to-basis, an internship may even open up new doors and opportunities that you never thought of. As you will see, there are a number of benefits in successfully completing an engineering internship before trying to take on a full-time role in the field.

Increased Networking Opportunities

Networking amongst peers, industry officials and community members is a great way to discover that dream job you’ve been looking for, and today’s internships, especially in the engineering field, can go a long way in creating and developing such networks while you are still in college. Furthermore, it’s not unheard of for internships to transition into immediate, full-time positions. In fact, approximately 50 percent of students with The Ohio State University accepted full-time positions with the same employer who gave them the internship opportunity in the first place. Even if you aren’t able to secure a job, you’ll still be able to make your presence known within the engineering community before even beginning down your chosen career path.

Understand the Horizon

Engineering is a profession/skillset that can be used to excel in a variety of roles in an organization – engineering graduates are recruited for: maintenance, design, development, testing, production control, project engineers, quality engineers, purchasing agents, Supply Chain Engineers, Operational Management, Program Management, Operational support and Sales.   A career path in engineering should begin with an understanding of the various roles that are filled by engineers in the workplace.  Understanding a given industry and how your role impacts the revenue stream should be key questions asked by engineers coming out of school.    A career in an industry that is a good fit for outsourcing to other regions of the world due to labor costs should be a part of any career planning discussion.

Build Your Skillset

As mentioned above, completing a college internship is a great way to start developing your reputation and skillset amongst your industry peers, colleagues and potential future employers. Using such experience as a launch pad to your career, you’ll benefit from greater industry exposure, increased areas of expertise and previous exposure to your chosen field.   As you begin to notice the company culture and how employees excel in that culture it will help you understand future company cultures and how to adapt your communication to that environment.

Employers Want to See Hands-On Experience

Highlighting academic success on your resume can go a long way in displaying your knowledge of a particular industry or profession, but it doesn’t make up for hands-on experience in the real world. Not only does an engineering internship convey such experience, but it also shows a strong sense of dedication, initiative and flexibility on your behalf.

Vice chancellor and dean of engineering with Texas A&M, Katherine Banks, PhD, spoke about the need for internship experience on the resume of a recent college graduate. She has been quoted as saying: “We highly recommend our students have internships on their resumes, and in engineering particularly, engineering companies expect A&M engineering grads to be prepared to make contributions immediately.” She continued by saying: “Engineering is a vibrant profession, and given our 1,200 postings for more than 8,000 internships, our students have numerous opportunities to work on a variety of projects.”

Increased Pay

Most engineering students who successfully complete a related internship prior to graduation tend to receive higher pay, including increased starting salaries and long-term benefits. In fact, according to some recent surveys, graduates from The Ohio State University reported up to nine percent higher pay rates as compared to those without prior internship experience. While obtaining a higher salary should not be the primary focus of your internship, there’s simply no denying the benefits of increased pay.

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