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- BYU-I Catalog: Details
- Offered Online: Yes
- Course Website Details: Most details can be found here.
Prior to 2022, we had leveraged multiple program’s internship courses - CIT499R, CS499R, MATH499R, CSE499R. Starting in 2022, we ask that all students use DS499R.
The purpose of the internship is to give you a “dress rehearsal” for a full time job. This will show you:
- How to find a job. You will go through exactly the same process looking for an internship as you will looking for a full-time position. You will learn how to find job listings, work connections, create a resume to best represent what is unique about you, conduct an interview, and accept a position. Sure you will not get it right the first time, but hopefully you will when it matters (finding a full-time position).
- How to adjust to the workplace. You will get exposed to office politics, working with others, and getting the most of your worker-manager relationship. You will figure out how to work in one place for eight to ten hours a day and how to work on the same project for hundreds of hours. You will learn to cope with being overwhelmed with the things you do not know and learn how to get traction so you can be productive.
- What you still need to learn. Your strengths and weaknesses as a data scientist will become very apparent to you as you apply what you learned to a real-world task. Take careful stock of what skills you need to acquire to be successful in the workplace. When you finish the internship and come back to school, make sure you acquire those skills so you can be as effective as possible when you accept a full-time position.
- What you want to do with your career. Ideally your internship should be closely aligned with your desired employment upon graduation. This includes the role you play (database developer, analyst, program manager, etc.), the technology you use (R, Python, SQL, Excel, etc.), the industry of the company (e-commerce, games, industrial, productivity, etc.), and the type of company (large/small, formal/informal, start-up/established, etc.). When you are finished with your internship, you should have a much better idea of where you want your career to go. Ultimately, it is up to you what you get out of your internship. While it is typically only a single credit, your internship is perhaps the most important component of your academic experience at BYU-Idaho.
Completing BYU-I Requirements
For a job to count as an internship, it must meet the following requirements:
- Be full time for at least 3 months. It does not matter if your internship fits exactly over a semester, but it does matter that you work at least 300 hours over the course of your internship.
- Be similar to your target job in data science. Think about the job you want upon graduation. Your internship should be as similar to that job as possible.
- For example, doing a companies books in Excel would not qualify as an internship in data science.
- Have a mentor.
- Be face-to-face. No independent study or remote employment.
Once you have found an internship that meets the above requirements, you will need to get your internship approved by our data science program:
- Go to the I-plan and click on the link “internship approval form”
- “Create an internship request” and fill out the questionnaire that details the job you found. You will be asked to specify the number of credits you want.
- Choose 1 because only 1 is required for graduation and each extra credit will put you closer to the 140 credit limit.
- Choose 4 because if you tend to get an ‘A’ on your internship and it want to boost your GPA.
- The faculty mentor will either approve it or contact you for clarification. Please make yourself available to answer any questions that may come up.
- After your internship has been approved, you can register for Math 498R.
Finding an Internship
You are ultimately responsible for obtaining your internship. The Academic Discovery Center and the data science faculty have resources and connections to help you with this process. You should plan on
- submitting up to a hundred resumes.
- having quite a few phone interviews.
- completing 3-5 final interviews.
Do not get discouraged when you do not get accepted for a job; it is difficult for the employer to find a good fit for their position and it is difficult for you to find a good fit for your skills and interests.
It would be ideal if your internship fit nicely into your off-track semester. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You should start applying for internships during your sophomore year as you are taking DS 350 (Data Wrangling and Visualization). If you receive an acceptable offer, take it regardless of the timing. It is much easier to defer a semester than to find an internship that fits nicely into your schedule.
If your internship job spans two semesters (say February through May), then you can register for credit in either semester. That being said, most students register for the semester in which they spend the most time.
It is common for students to serve more than one internship. If you accept one before you have completed DS 350, than that is called a summer job and cannot count for internship credit. If you accept one after having completed DS 350, you have a choice: you could sign up for credit, or you could just work the internship without getting school credit. Remember, the main benefit of an internship is the learning you receive and the experiences you are able to relate on your resume. School credit is a secondary consideration.
Tips for a Successful Internship
The following tips have been passed down by those who went before you.
- Be friendly. Manage your relations with every one of your co-workers very carefully. Treat everyone with respect and make them feel like you value their opinions. Networking is an important part of the internship experience; try to leave a positive impression on everyone you meet.
- Be cautious with e-mail. Re-read every email you send. Check for the tone. Is the recipient likely to take the message the way you intended? Can anyone be offended by what you say? Does it appear professional?
- Be courageous. Do not be afraid to try hard things or to “put yourself out there.” Several people report in their journals how they wish they asked to participate in something or had the courage to try something. They feel their lack of courage cost them opportunity.
- Be deliberate. It takes a long time to establish a reputation and only a single careless moment to destroy it. On a test in school, if you don’t know an answer you “wing it.” Do not do that in the workplace! If you don’t know an answer, be clear on that point.
- Be patient. It will take almost week to get your computer set up and hooked into the project, and another couple weeks to learn the technology. This is par for the course! Find ways to be productive even when you are waiting to be set up. Talk with people, shadow co-workers, attend meetings, and read documentation.
- Internships missionaries! In many areas, there are service missionaries whose entire job is to find affordable housing for BYU-Idaho interns. Look for them!
- Reach out. Don’t be affraid to reach out to your faculty contacts to get advice.
Links to Job Postings
- internships.com data science
- BYU-I DS Slack Channel (#internships-and-jobs)
- SOCHEIntern.org: Wright Patterson Air Force Base, AFIT, and local Ohio defense contractors use this website to recruit student interns.
- Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships: The Department of Energy national lab complex uses this program to recruit undergraduate interns. BYU-I has had great success placing interns through this program. Contact Larry Chilton, J. Hathaway, or Brett Amidan if you are interested.
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory National Security Internship: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offers national security internships to undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields.
Internship Course Information
All assessed items will be done using I-learn. In an effort to help you get the most out of your internship, the following will be asked of you:
Keep a bi-weekly journal wherein you record details of what you are learning and what you are contributing. Some guidelines:
- Get in the habit of jotting down a few notes at the end of the day. This should just take a couple minutes. The act of writing things down helps you reflect on what happened.
- Record major events as a point of reference. This will come in handy when you write your final report. It is also very interesting to read at the end.
- Make a note about what you learned, still need to learn, and wish you had already learned.
Your journal will account for an even 50% of your overall grade. Please keep it in a notebook (which you will need to submit in I-learn), create a Word document or create a BLOG (provide the link). You will be graded on the abundant evidence of introspection and the many events that are described in detail.
Near the end of your internship, please create a presentation summarizing your work experience. This should not be a rehashing of your journal (though you may wish to cite events in your journal). Instead, it should address these five questions:
- How did my time at BYU-Idaho prepare me for this internship? Be as specific as possible.
- What do I wish I had learned in school before my internship?
- How could I have done the internship itself better? Are there any mistakes that I would avoid?
- Is there another role or company that I would prefer to work for as a full-time position?
- What will I do when I return to school to prepare myself for a full-time position? Imagine having a younger sibling following in your footsteps. In many ways, this report should be written to him/her.
- How could this employer be a good fit for future BYU-I data science students?
Your final presentation will constitute the remaining 50% of your grade and must be submitted as a presentation (PowerPoint, Prezi, RevealJS). You will be graded on:
- Presentation. It is an “easy and enjoyable” follow.
- 5 Questions: The degree in which the five above questions are answered. Evidence of reflection will be the most important factor here.
You will need to complete the surveys at the end of the semester as well.
As with any other course, the material needs to be submitted before the semester ends. Our internship TAs will keep in contact on due dates.