How to run a successful IT internship program

Internship programs give IT organizations an opportunity to identify and nurture tomorrow's talent. Here, three IT leaders share their best practices for running successful internship programs.

IT internships provide students hands-on experience and a chance to demonstrate their skills, and they provide IT organizations the opportunity to identify and attract high-potential talent. But the benefits for enterprises and students alike don't end there.

In addition to honing their technical skills on real-world business problems, interns also learn the soft skills needed to thrive in a corporate environment, including communications, presentation skills and teamwork. “These skills are important to the interns as they transition from the educational aspects of the program to the world of work – the interns need to be able to be self-sufficient, manage their time, take initiative, work well with others and continuously learn,” says Chris Drumgoole, CIO, GE.

While full-time employment is one potential outcome for interns, it’s not necessarily the only measure of success for these programs. “We strive to convert a larger percentage of our interns to careers at GE, but that alone does not dictate success," says Drumgoole. “We hope all of our interns gain professional and technical experience while here and feel the potential and excitement of starting their careers [in technology]. But it’s also important to note what digital technology leaders across GE take away from the programs that they can use to broaden their expertise and viewpoint across their projects and teams.” 

At E&J Gallo, the internship program also serves as a marketing vehicle for the winemaker. "[C]andidates act as Winery advocates when they return to school, which helps us with future recruitment,” says CIO Sanjay Shringarpure.

Read on to learn how to run an internship program that will keep your IT talent pipeline full and your university partnerships thriving.

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