As workforce demand increases for graduates with information technology skills, UCSB IT kicked off the first year of their newly-implemented internship program in June 2020. With the end of year one approaching, the interns reflect on the practical skills gained throughout this program, shaping them into desirable candidates for post-grad career opportunities. 

Various departments throughout campus IT selected a cohort of six undergraduates from a pool of 275 applicants, with one intern assigned to each participating department. The program does not require any previous technical background, just a willingness to learn; in fact, most students from this year’s cohort had zero experience with the platform project to which they were assigned. Projects involve exposure to a variety of relevant software such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce, JupyterHub, Power BI, and more. Last month, students presented their projects to IT leadership, showcasing how their knowledge and skills have progressed through the duration of their individual project assignments.

“When interviewing for summer 2021 internships, many interviewers were surprised with how much I know about AWS as an undergraduate, so there’s a lot of value in getting experience with a high demand software before entering a full-time career,” said Cindy Zhao, cloud solutions AWS intern. Cindy, who is now fully AWS certified, accepted an internship at popular software company Splunk for the upcoming summer. 

Interns gain experience collaborating across departments with a wide range of goals and are regularly brought together to engage in training and networking opportunities. Through this synergistic environment, students build skills that will stick with them through future endeavors, like public speaking, leadership, relationship building, and more. A key idea emphasized by program supervisors is the ability to explain a technical concept to someone without a technical background, a skill that is highly sought after in many fields - especially in today’s remote work environment.

“One of the most powerful skills to have in my desired career path is being able to communicate raw data, and utilizing trends and maps so that people can understand the true impact of the data. Through my Power BI project, I was able to create reports for COVID-19 in our community, and it was really special to be a part of something that is impacting our campus so deeply,” said Isiah Fimbrez, data systems analyst intern. Isiah’s work with Power BI allowed him to practice communicating important technical information to a wide audience, adding more capabilities to his toolkit while sharpening the skills he already developed over the course of his UCSB education.

Interning with UCSB IT provides more than just another way to make money or strengthen your resume. Students work on initiatives that directly impact campus technology services, and prepare for a full-time career in a field that is constantly expanding as our world becomes increasingly virtual. 

Applications for the 2021-2022 program open via Handshake in March 2021. Follow UCSB Information Technology on LinkedIn or @UCSBIT on Twitter for more updates about this opportunity.

If you would like additional information or have any questions regarding the IT internship, please contact project manager Rebecca Carroll at