7 Things You Should Get Out Of An Engineering Intern Experience

Kevin Wanke
9 min readOct 1, 2021
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Go get me my coffee!

That is right, you, intern, are here to make my life easier and do all of the grunt work that I don’t want to do.

But you can start by bringing me my coffee.

Two sugars and 1 cream.

This sounds like the opposite of fun, doesn’t it?

Whatever perceptions and expectations that exist in society, whether from a badly scripted movie or tv show or from horror stories from really bad places to work, an Engineering Co-op or Intern experience should not be lumped in with all of that.

A good intern experience should give you just that: experience.

You should be able to see and observe, work and contribute just like any other member of the team.

Sure, your knowledge and skills won’t match those of a senior Engineer.

You should also know that nobody is expecting that out of you.

The best co-op experiences give people the room to grow, experiment, and learn both the technology being used and the workplace experience.

These are the things that will result in the best outcomes for both the team and the intern.

Therefore, having had the privilege of working with and mentoring many co-ops through a program in conjunction with a local Engineering college, here are seven things that any co-op or intern should look to get out of this time and experience.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

You Should Get Paid

This one should be a no-brainer, but society always finds a way to screw people over.

It doesn’t take much google-fu to go find examples of people asking for help in the workplace from unpaid labor. Or to find influencers who are making it by getting free stuff for their personal brand of exposure.

Let’s be clear here — you should not be providing your time and talent to an organization simply for the “experience” that you will gain.

Kevin Wanke

Engineer. Manager. Dadmin. Wanna-be Writer. Editor-In-Chief & Grand Poobah of www.kevinwanke.com