The Best IT Internships For 2014

The Best IT Internships For 2014

The 50 undergraduate interns in Capital One bank’s IT internship program do everything from coding new systems to trouble shooting to debugging to quality assurance.  So integral is IT to Capital One’s business these days, the IT interns are arguably the most vital among the company’s seven internship programs. (Altogether Capital One hires 200 summer interns; other programs include finance and business and operations analyst.)

“Getting raw IT talent is a priority for us,” says Capital One spokesman Mark Andrews. “Technology is core to Capital One’s business.” The interns also work as platform engineers, developing the platforms that run the bank’s card authorization systems and the other essential technologies that keep Capital One afloat.

The bank pairs all interns with a manager who oversees their progress and helps them integrate into teams of five to as many as 20 people. Sometimes multiple interns work within the same group. One perk of the job: Capital One University, an internal training and development center where bank managers or outside experts come in and teach skills like Java or Python programming. Interns can train for a single day or as much as a week. There is also an executive speaker series with Capital One staff like the chief technology officer. The IT interns work either in the company’s headquarters in McLean, VA, or in Richmond, Wilmington, New York or Plano, TX, outside Dallas. In hiring interns, says Andrews, Capital One looks for students who are studying computer science and already know several computer languages such as Java, Python, C++ amd XML.

Andrews won’t say how much the summer internships pay, except that they are “very competitive.” Other IT internships pay roughly $2,500 a month. The bank offers full-time jobs to more than half the summer interns after they graduate. Of those, three-fourths accept.

The hands-on work, on-the-job training, post-internship job options and competitive pay all put Capital One at the top of a new ranking of IT internships, released this week by career website Vault. Capital One also ranks in 15th place on Vault’s list of overall internships. For the top ten IT internships, see our slideshow below. For our story on the 10 best overall internships, click here.

The Best IT Internships For 2014

Vault has been publishing an annual internship directory since 1993. What used to be available in hard copy is now all online. To compile this year’s list of the top ten in various categories, it sent surveys to 500 of the 1,000 programs in its directory. This year, 140 companies responded. Vault also collected surveys from some 7,700 interns. It only evaluated programs where at least 10 interns returned questionnaires. Roughly 100 internships made that cut. In IT, Vault didn’t get responses from some of the most vaunted programs, like Google, Apple and Microsoft. But while Vault’s list isn’t comprehensive, we think that the programs it picked are all great ones worth considering.

Vault asked interns to rate their experience, on a scale of 1-10, in five areas: quality of life, compensation and benefits, interview process, career development and full-time employment prospects.

In second place in the IT category: PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It calls its internship program PwC  Internship Experience, which ranks 12th in Vault’s overall category. The larger program has 3,700 interns, who do everything from consulting to tax work. It has roughly 125 interns who work exclusively on IT. They’re located in some 50 cities across the U.S., from New York and Chicago to Los Angeles. They also do a lot of traveling during the internship.

PwC’s IT interns work on helping clients improve their systems. For instance, a company looking to merge with another firm has to figure out how to meld its computer operations. A team from PwC will give them guidance. Interns also work on IT security, on expanding infrastructure and improving systems  so that clients can be on a par with or ahead of their competitors.

The eight-week summer program starts with classroom training. Interns quickly move onto client teams. They get coaching from senior staff at three levels—associate, manager and partner. “We have a formalized feedback process for any job where they work 25 hours or more,” says Alexa Hamill, PwC’s head of campus recruiting.”The interns receive written feedback on how they did.” PwC also encourages “shadowing,” where interns tag along with senior staff while they work on projects. The company offers a striking 95%of interns full-time jobs. Of that group, more than 90% accept their offers. Hamill won’t reveal how much the internship pays except to say that it’s “competitive,” that it varies by geographic region and that interns get time-and-a-half when they work overtime.

Unlike Capital One, which wants interns who are studying computer science and already know several computer languages, PwC looks for what Hamill calls “strategic thinkers” who can demonstrate business acumen, who are good at communicating and building relationships. “We want people who have a client service mindset,” she says.

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