9 strategic ways to get computer science work experience

4 mins
June 14, 2022

1. Sign up for Springpod’s Technology Virtual Work Experience

Our technology work experience programme is a budding computer scientist’s dream, with modules covering everything from the basics of computer science and programming to web development and design. Taking part in a virtual programme is a hassle-free, relaxed approach to crafting your CV. In a Springpod programme, you’ll get to question leading industry professionals in live webinars, and complete activities and quizzes that mimic the working environment. To top it all off, once you’ve completed the programme you’ll receive a recognised certificate. Register your interest here to be alerted when the programme opens for applications! What are you waiting for?

2. Research career paths and companies on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great place to look for work experience for many reasons. You can use it to reach out to inspiring tech professionals who might be able to offer valuable career advice. You can also use it as a research tool to inform your next steps, look at a professional’s career history and see if they list any internships or work experience they did when they were getting started, it’s an easy (and smart) way to explore relevant opportunities for you.

You can also use LinkedIn to join industry groups so you can be up to date with the latest news. A lot of tech firms employ subject matter experts to write about significant events going on the industry and thought-leadership articles for their LinkedIn pages. Reading a couple of articles a week is a great way to improve your understanding of your sector, try to find ways to evidence this knowledge in your job applications and interviews. Trust us, it will help you stand out! 

3. Speak to your teachers

One of the most overlooked (and easiest!) way to get useful work experience is to speak to the existing contacts in your network. You may find that a teacher has a contact that could offer you a placement. Remember it’s a careers advisor's job to build a list of contacts that can help their students, so it’s a better place to start than you think!
If you’re serious about making a career in computer science a reality, consider doing a Digital Production, Design & Development T-Level. If you’ve already missed the boat to do T-Levels, ask to speak to the T-Level placement coordinator and ask if they would be willing to reach out to the companies that worked with the students for the employer placement part of their course, they might be able to help! 

4. Look at university course modules for inspiration

Try searching for Computer Science courses on UCAS, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of the course module by module - have a look at these modules for inspiration on where to look next on your search. We’ve highlighted what an example of your search could look like below: 

  • Search computer science in the UCAS search bar
  • Loads of universities and associated courses will pop up below 
  • Click on a couple of universities that you might like to go to
  • You’ll be shown a course summary with module overviews, if you can’t find these on UCAS you may need to go directly to the university’s site, (but at least you now know what universities offer the course!)
  • One of the modules might be ‘Comparative programming languages’ - have a look at the breakdown of the module including its aims and learning outcomes
  • Learning outcomes could be:
    1. recognise the various styles of programming language

2. describe the differences between them

3. choose the right programming style and language for the task in hand.

  • You can then use this guidance to direct your studies or free online courses you apply to.

5. Take an online course

There are loads of online courses available that will give you a great overview of careers within computer science. The best courses to choose are ones where you can get a recognised certificate upon completion -  Google and Apple are some of the biggest providers of tech-forward courses and they often offer recognised certificates and qualifications. If you’re unable to find a course that suits you, have a look at YouTube for information that you can’t find in a classroom!

6. Create an app

An app is a great way to showcase your technical skills, make it really impressive by reconfiguring it to keep up with the latest software updates to iPhones and androids. Start documenting your build process with a portfolio, you can then demonstrate the scope of your knowledge to future employers, portfolios are also a great way to cement your learning. So what are you waiting for? Start adding your techy projects into a portfolio today! 
7. Build your own computer

If you can, why not start building your own hardware! Use a computer kit from an online provider or start buying old computer pieces from eBay, they usually go for pretty cheap. Building, maintaining and fixing your own PC is a super satisfying project and once you're familiar with your own computer components, learning about others isn’t too big a jump. We spoke about the importance of maintaining an up to date portfolio (in our point above) and if you have built or are building your own PC you should document your journey and include it in the portfolio (you could even start a blog!), you’ve got to admit it does sound like an impressive project!

8. Contribute to an open-source project

Open source projects are shared online and are available for anyone to view,  use, study and modify, meaning that scientists, designers and developers from all experience levels can contribute. Open source projects are typically designed, coded, and maintained by people around the world. We bet you didn’t know that some of the most well-known and used applications have originated from open source work - have you ever used WordPress or Firefox? If so, you’ve got open source to thank!

9. Look for a summer internship

You might be thinking ‘if I had a summer internship I wouldn’t be reading this article!’ - We hear you, we know that securing an internship involves a lot of time and effort. If you’ve got a list of companies you want to work for, you’re already halfway there and we can help you with the rest! We’ve put together an email template that you can use to reach out to your favourite technology companies. Take some time to add your own personal experience (and passion!) and then start sending it out. Remember persistence is key, so if you don’t hear back - keep trying, your persistence will pay off!

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