Some companies offer positions specifically for first-year students, or students in introductory CS courses. Usually, they focus on teaching you CS skills in addition to doing work. And while there may still be technical interviews, the application process often also involves essays or other less technical components, in recognition of the fact that you’re still beginning your CS education. Examples include:

  • Facebook University—8 week program, freshmen and sophomores only
  • Google Engineering Practicum—12 week program, freshmen and sophomores only
  • Explore Microsoft—12 week program, freshmen and sophomores only
  • Twitter Academy

Note that these are not the be-all-end-all of freshmen opportunities. You can definitely be hired for a regular internship position, do research, or work on open source projects too! These are just the ones targeted towards you.

Open Source

Generally, open source is not so structured like the other opportunities listed. The big program is Google Summer of Code, where, if chosen, you work with an open source project all summer to implement specific features, while Google pays you. If you’re interested, the best course of action is to research the projects, find one you like, reach out to the core developers on their IRC channel or mailing list and discuss what you could offer them.

There is also Rails Girls Summer of Code, which is similar to Google Summer of Code, but explicitly aims to help more women get involved in open source.


In general: don’t get discouraged! Especially if you’re a freshman or sophomore, recognize that many companies simply aren’t looking to take people for internships that they can’t hire soon after.

Career Fair

Cornell runs two major career fairs relevant to us, one in the fall and one in the spring. These are always hectic, even more so in some years, and you can really only give up and go to grad school be patient. Yes, you might have to ditch a class or two to make enough time.

Some advice:

  • The big, popular companies like Google are going to be swamped at the career fairs. However, they often run events beforehand and afterwards, that may or may not be as crowded, especially if you go earlier.
  • Small/not famous companies might be lonely, and may be receptive if you go talk to them. And you never know, they could turn out to be great places to work.1
  • If you’re an underclassman, companies generally get more receptive to the idea of hiring you the later it gets in the year, as they run out of juniors to court and they realize they have spots to fill still.

Online Resources

Sites like intern.supply, Indeed, and others list internship opportunities.

Cornell Handshake

Handshake is like one of the above online job boards, except for Cornellians only.


TODO: are there specific programs at Cornell? Other universities have this


Full-time positions are found similarly to internships, with an additional route: you may get return offers from places that you’ve interned at previously. Generally, you’ll be notified about this towards the end of or soon after the internship.

Where are Cornellians going?

Cornell compiles two career reports relevant to us: the College of Engineering report and the CS department placement report. The College of Engineering report is especially interesting, as it reports how people found their opportunities. In 2015, for instance, 28% found their job through a previous internship, whereas 22% did so through a career fair. 18% simply found theirs online, and 16% were referred or had a personal contact.

International Students

(TODO: visas and sponsorship and all that)

  1. Personal anecdote: I found my freshman internship by talking to a random 500-person company in the spring career fair. I was the last intern hired, didn’t finalize things until April, and ended up in a position that paid as much as Google or other big company would have. So don’t discount companies that you’ve never heard of or who don’t seem to be doing something “cool”—they can still be great opportunities! 

Edit this page on Github: careers/opportunities.md

Edit me on GitHub