Completing a certificate is just the first step in a lifetime of education. In most high-skill and high-pay professions, you will continue to increase your knowledge and abilities for your entire career.
What’s the next step? Well, in many industries, it’s an internship.
An internship can act as a form of free practical schooling. You will learn valuable skills and industry knowledge, making you ready to compete with professionals in your field.
Benefits of an internship include:
Earning Course Credit
Many programs offer course credit for internship work. Elective course credit allows practical-minded students to study at a workplace rather than a classroom. This means your program will finish in the same amount of time, but you will have real-life experience to put on your résumé.
Standing out compared to other students
Many industries are very competitive. All candidates fresh out of college are on near-equal footing, with only their grades to differentiate themselves. A candidate with practical experience, in addition to certification, holds an immediate advantage over all candidates without practical experience. An internship could be considered a secondary certificate that increases your employability.
Some internships even pay! If you need extra money, you might as well learn while you make it.
Depending on your desired job, networking with others will range from being ‘pretty important’ to being ‘basically the only thing that matters.’
It’s always a good idea to have allies in the industry who can let you know about job openings and application strategies.
Once you have a career, good relationships with more senior professionals can still help you learn and succeed.
Have you heard of “Imposter syndrome”, a psychological condition where someone thinks that they are not really qualified for their classes or job? It turns out that about half of all students suffer from it.
These students worry constantly that they will not be up to the task once they get a real job. Does this sound like you? An internship will allow you to put these misconceptions to the test. Once you do the job, you will feel much more confident about your future career.
Developing New Skills
Every company runs a little differently. Odds are good that you will learn things at an internship that you were not taught in classes. This broadens your skill base and increases your chances of finding a great job.