Home to almost two million people within its metro area and proclaiming itself the capital of the tech hotbed known as Silicon Valley, San Jose is ground zero for those seeking internships in America's high tech sector. Located in the Bay Area of Northern California, it is also conveniently close to San Francisco, which consistently ranks as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States.
Starting out as a farming community that supplied food to military garrisons in San Fran and Monterrey, this city actually served as the first capital of the newly formed state of California in 1850, which was an honor that was eventually shifted inland to Sacramento.
While the exponential growth of computers, software and the internet have contributed to ever escalating costs of living in the San Jose area, the salaries offered at tech firm internships here do much to balance out this drawback. Combine this with the addictive west coast lifestyle that many indulge in here with gusto, and San Jose is one of the more attractive centers to relocate to in search of an internship in America.
What’s San Jose like?
Unlike many places in the Bay Area, San Jose is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by the Santa Cruz Mountains, protecting from the fog that plagues the city of San Francisco, while granting the center of Silicon Valley just over 300 days of sunshine per year.
These highlands come with a price however, as a pair of active earthquake faults (San Andreas being one of them) rattle the city with about two tremors exceeding 4.0 on the Richter Scale per year. Those that abhor the colder months of the year will quickly get used to the periodic shaking though, as this city is a place where snow has not accumulated in almost forty years, though it does coat the mountain tops come winter, making San Jose a pretty place to be at this time of year.
As alluded to in the intro, San Jose is at the heart of Silicon Valley, making it the place to be for all the brightest tech students seeking an internship with industry leaders such as Adobe, Cisco Systems and eBay.
While not located in San Jose, Google, Facebook, and Apple are located in nearby Mountain View, Menlo Park and Cupertino respectively, making San Jose a great option for those seeking lower rents. Studios in the low $1,000's can be found here relatively easily, whereas finding rental prices in areas closer to these employers in the under $2,000 range is often an impossible task.
What kinds of internships are available in San Jose?
Tech internships with some of the nation's most prestigious employers can be had here, with the list of companies with available spots reads like a Who's Who of influencers (Cisco, eBay, HP, IBM, Adobe, Facebook, Google, Apple and the list goes on and on and on...) in the internet-driven economy of the present day.
All of these companies require software engineers, but there are also opportunities for those looking for roles in sales, project management, business strategy and in other functions that a business needs to operate effectively, so if you want to partake in the ongoing tech boom that has produced the highest disposable incomes in the nation despite having some of the highest living costs at the same time, don't be put off by the fact that you are not a CS or engineering student.
How to find internships in San Jose
While the thought of getting an internship in the heart of Silicon Valley is a highly attractive prospect, know that this is not an easy process to execute successfully from start to finish. First of all, you are competing against local college students from prestigious institutions like Stanford and UC Berkeley, so don't think that you can simply walk into a position here without having a sterling track record of academic and extracurricular achievement.
While you shouldn't shrink away from your keyboard and give up your dreams at this thought, simply realize that you will need to work very hard to make your desire to get an internship in San Jose a reality. Now that we have woken you up, start searching for opportunities to donate your tech skills to non-profit organizations.
Aside from looking good on your CV, let's face it – most non-profit websites are horribly designed and managed. Turning around how they conduct their online operations and presence will move your application to the front of the line for many San Jose area tech companies.
Secondly, know that many companies in the Valley employ interview techniques that evaluate your problem solving skills. Trouble is, most of what you have had hammered into you during all your years of schooling has to do with rote memorization, which won't help you when you are faced with a problem that has no clear answer for it at the outset. Strengthen those creative muscles, because companies like Google will put them to the ultimate test during their interview process with you.