An engineering intern is either a student or recent graduate in an engineering discipline at a university. As part of a temporary employment agreement, companies hire interns in engineering and place them in departments that typically require engineering degrees and experience. The engineering intern then works alongside regular engineering employees to learn about their day-to-day job responsibilities, and assists them on a variety of projects and tasks as the senior engineers and supervisors see fit.
Normally this relationship has a twofold benefit for those involved: Companies are able to perform long-term recruitment of the brightest students in engineering at colleges and universities. They may enlist student interns for summer work and then invite them back on subsequent summers before deciding to extend a job offer upon graduation. Recent graduates may work as an engineering intern for a year before a company decides whether or not to hire them full time. Interns get to learn about the company and determine whether they would want to work with the company as a future employer. Interns are also able to get a good grasp on how their studies are applied to the field itself, which can assist them in school with cognition and retention.
The engineering intern will normally perform a variety of tasks, many of which may be administrative in nature: they will often assist with documentation and organization. They will help facilitate the completions of projects they’re assigned to, and will perform job duties and give progress updates as needed. In civil engineering, the intern may do computer-related diagramming or drawing of non-mission-critical components. In other engineering disciplines, they may work in computer coding, statistical analysis or some combination of those duties.
The engineering intern will normally work regular business hours. He or she will generally be required to be majoring in or a recent graduate of an engineering program at a four-year university. Internships can be competitive, and any extracurricular or relevant job experience related to one’s engineering studies can help to set one's application apart.
Engineering Intern Tasks
Perform limited data collection and analysis, including modeling.
Run tests and validity checks on data, equipment, or software.
Clean, move, and maintain equipment and supplies.
Assist team with administrative tasks and project documentation.