Electrical Engineering Internship Advice

Electrical engineering internships include an interesting range of roles for advanced electrical engineering students. They offer a significant variation in types of work, and are particularly useful for gaining practical experience in preferred specializations.

This practical experience is valuable, because it includes current commercial applications of skills. One of the problems in any technology related field of study is that studies are normally behind industry practice. Employers have to look at training needs in these areas, and naturally prefer experienced people. At entry level, the experience of up to date technology and industrial methods provided by internships is a real advantage.

Finding an internship

The degree of variation in available internships means you'll also need to shop around to find appropriate roles for your career. That can be a time consuming, frustrating, process.  If you want to become a systems electrical engineer, you need to locate local internship providers in that field.

The internet job boards aren't necessarily the best option for finding actual internships. A search of electrical engineering firms in your area will definitely help locate employers. Even if an employer doesn't offer what you need, professional trades people have excellent networks, and can always advise. Professional associations are also good sources of current information.

Interview preparation- research

You'll need to research the internship in considerable detail:

To research the internship:

  • Go through the position description step by step, including any OHS requirements like lifting weights.

  • Discuss the internship role with the provider.

  • Get as much information as you can about the position and skills requirements.

  • Revise your studies on the specific areas covered by the internship in depth.

Interview questions and answers

In the electrical trades, accuracy and clarity of interview answers are important. Your questions will all be practical issues, testing your knowledge base and skill levels. Answers should be as direct and clear as possible, spelled out if necessary, giving specific answers to technical questions.

Question: We test hardware and software qualifications. What experience have you had in software in this area?

Answer: I did basic testing in last semester's course, monitoring data loads for new server software on a mainframe. We had to qualify data loads against the existing hardware. 

Question: What wireless hardware systems have you worked with, and what work did you do?

Answer: I've worked with commercial wireless broadband towers and hardware doing basic maintenance, as a part time job. My work was mainly testing and replacing faulty components.

Question: We do a lot of system design, using CAD, and modeling circuitry. What level of study have you done on CAD in this area?

Answer: I've been using CAD for three years. All our circuitry studies are done on CAD, 2D and 3D modeling. In last year's assignments I had to do CAD circuitry designs for both components and full product designs. 

Question: What work have you done with mobile terminals?

Answer: We studied mobile terminals as part of our wireless training. I've done component testing, assembly, performance monitoring, and setting up commercial LAN systems using the terminals.

Short questions can produce long answers. Stick to the context of the question.