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I am a senior in college going for a CS degree. I have an internship that works with a variety of languages and gives me a pretty good amount of responsibility. The only problem is that it is the only job experience I've had.

My question is whether or not it might be a good idea to work another internship, keep the same internship, or in addition to the previous options, to get a masters degree so that i can extend my education and time to gather the usually necessary 2-3 years of industry experience.

Obviously there's no outright correct way, but i just want to know if it is more accepted to get experience with different companies or to stick with one to show commitment.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Byte56 Oct 28 '13 at 20:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
The accepted answer in the following question might be useful to your situation: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/4684/… –  Cypher Sep 10 '12 at 16:03
    
thanks! but i did look at that question before i posted mine, its helpful but different in the sense that i want to know if a variety of experience is better than just one –  TMP Sep 10 '12 at 16:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I had a similar situation as you and you can find some pretty decent companies that contract out their programmers to other companies, so a lot of language experience is a plus. In my experience as a contract programmer, I had to do work on C#, VB, PHP, ColdFusion, MSSQL, MySQL, PostGres, etc. Having experience in many languages at first, put me as the go to guy for some project others didnt know much about.

Ultimately, I think having lots of language experience can make you a little better off as far as ranges of where you can go, but at the same time some companies see the wide range of languages and think "Jack of all trades, master of none." So if they are looking for someone that has a lot of experience in one language, they may look past your resume towards someone that focused on one.

Another thing I noticed is that there are a TON of consulting companies that look for programmers to hire somewhere. That was where i started and got a lot of experience in a very short amount of time.

Really, i think having many languages under your belt allows you to tailor your resume towards the job you are applying for. This way, if they are looking for C++ experience, you can focus most of your bullet points on what you have done with that language.

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i really like that last point. it really makes sense to do that but i just hadn't thought of it –  TMP Sep 11 '12 at 3:38

I have been in the software industry for a very long time. Even for an entry level position companies tend to look to filling specific needs. For example, if a company generally does development in C++, they may still hire you if you know Java, but in comparing a resume with Java and a resume with C++, the one with C++ has an advantage. This is not as critical at an entry level, as we usually assume you will work for really cheap while you are learning. It may be better, then, to have broad experience at first. That way you will have better odds of matching the employer's needs.

Interning is not just a way to gain experience, the company you intern with can be your first job. If you like them and want to work there you should continue with them. Otherwise look for an internship where you might have a future job opportunity with a company you like.

If you plan to get your masters, it might be better to stay in school and finish it, if you can afford to. Once you start a professional career, you may find you do not have as much time as you would like to pursue a masters. Anything beyond a masters, you will want to find a job first. You can explain in an interview that you wanted to stay in school to complete your masters. Beyond that, and a potential boss might assume you HAD to stay in school because you couldn't get a job.

While you weigh your options one thing to keep in mind is that ANY job experience is better than a thick resume. Even after reading resumes and conducting interviews, hiring is a guessing game. Job experience gives the employer more confidence you will show up and do your job. Companies tend to hire and keep that guy over any other.

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I like everything you said, but can you clarify something on the last paragraph, on a resume would it look nicer to have had two internships instead of one. Because seeing just one looks nice, but two might look better because it's a whole other opportunity to learn –  TMP Sep 11 '12 at 3:36
    
OR two might not look good if you seem to be skipping around a lot. Companies value continuity. Most recent grads in their first real job are barely worth their salary in their first year. So do you look like you are just milking the experience, then taking it with you to the next company? Do you see what I mean? –  Donald Sivori Sep 11 '12 at 14:38
    
Don't worry too much about it. No one expects a recent grad to have a steady work record. Internships are often short term. Don't take a second, different internship just to add an extra line to the resume. DO take that second one if it gives you an extra advantage, such as specific technical experience, or the opportunity to move from an intern to a starting job in that company. –  Donald Sivori Sep 11 '12 at 14:46
    
hmm alright, i think i'll just keep applying just to see if there's anything out there that'll give me a better technical experience, but i'll probably just stay put. thanks –  TMP Sep 11 '12 at 18:57

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