A mom recently asked my opinion about tech internships for her college aged daughter who is interested in Silicon Valley.
I can think of three great options:
1. Go for an internship with a VC firm like True’s TEC program. You’ll work solo with an up and running startup and as a group of interns with True, getting exposed to tech experts and companies from across the Valley. It’s the best of both worlds – hands-on at a startup and learning about the Valley – and perfect for people thinking about making a career somewhere in tech. I’ve seen True’s program hands-on and it’s great, going strong and into its 6th year. Similar programs have started up, for example Kleiner’s Fellows. I’ve no experience with those, but given the caliber of firm behind them I’d definitely check them out. Best for aspiring technologists.
2. Start a company with one of the incubators like Y Combinator. There’s nothing like learning about being an entrepreneur than actually doing it. This is perfect for groups of students who know that they want to focus on being startup founders. Y Combinator originated this idea and is a great program. Others like 500 Startups and Tech Stars have created great reputations as well. There are lots and lots of incubators nowadays (not all of them take student teams). Do your research before applying to one of the lesser known ones. Best for aspiring founders.
3. Join Google’s Summer of Code to get paid for contributing to an open source project. It’s been around for years and continues to attract strong students and mentors. It’s a great hands-on experience in developing real software with the help of someone guiding you through. We’ve participated through WordPress. You can also skip the Google part and just jump directly into an open source project, helping out for a summer and making a name for yourself by contributing real bug fixes and code into a shipping product. Best for aspiring coders.
Please add other suggestions in the comments.