This past summer, I had the opportunity to work as a software engineering intern in San Francisco. I have been trying to get out and visit the west coast for a while now since I had never been, and wanted to see if all of the Bay Area hype lived up to expectations.
My work was located in the Financial District of SF, the center of downtown near the piers and Embarcadero. Perhaps the most unique aspect of San Francisco is the wild diversity inherent in the city. Every race and ethnicity is represented, which can be most notably seen in the food selection! As an east coast native from New York, wild hills, colorful brownstones, and vibrant culture was refreshing. I also traveled to the valley a few times to visit friends by taking the Caltrain. On the train, I found that every other person was either on their laptop working on an app for their portfolio, or talking about some new technology that had just been released. Never in my life had I been surrounded by so many people that lived and breathed technology!
Outside of work, there was always something to do – especially for interns. Given that the summer is a hot time for students from all around the country to come in and work, companies frequently hold open houses where you can learn more about their organization and get connected with recruiters. Towards the end of my summer, I was attending these events two times a week, getting free dinner and meeting incredibly intelligent and motivated students was a blast.
I was not the only one from my school in the area, so I made sure to connect up with friends and see how their companies were treating them. This involved seeing the offices of Airbnb, Google, Twitter, and a few others. After visiting these places, I had a newfound motivation to “make it”. It is one thing to hear and read about organizations online, and entirely different to experience the phenomenon with your own eyes. Most would not apply and attend a college that they had not toured, so why would you blindly enter an internship of full time position with an organization that you are not sure you’d feel comfortable in? Make sure to scope out the places that you are most interested in!
If you are hoping to pursue a career in software, or are at all interested in technology, I highly recommend figuring out a way to make it to San Francisco for a few weeks/months – internships are the perfect mid-length commitment! Being surrounded by passionate engineers and getting a feel for the work culture will be sure to inspire you towards a job in tech. At the very least, you can grab some great food and get a new profile picture with the Golden Gate!