Summer internships and research experiences are nearly essential parts of a CS education, particularly if one's goal is to become a professional computer scientist. They not only give one a chance to gain experience as a practicing computer scientist, but they also provide insights for subsequent courses and project work at Brown. CS interns and ugrad researchers do work that engages them as computer scientists and have real responsibilities. They learn a lot about the practice of computer science and are better able to make career choices. Students without such experiences are at a disadvantage with respect to their peers when they graduate.
While we do not give course credit for internships, we officially recognize their importance via the optional Professional Track.
The requirements for the professional tracks include all those of the standard tracks, as well as the following:
Students must complete two two-to-four-month full-time professional experiences, doing work that is related to their concentration programs. Such work is normally done within an industrial organization, but may also be at a university under the supervision of a faculty member.
On completion of each professional experience, the student must write and upload to ASK a reflective essay about the experience addressing the following prompts, to be approved by the student's concentration advisor:
- Which courses were put to use in your summer's work? Which topics, in particular, were important?
- In retrospect, which courses should you have taken before embarking on your summer experience? What are the topics from these courses that would have helped you over the summer if you had been more familiar with them?
- Are there topics you should have been familiar with in preparation for your summer experience, but are not taught at Brown? What are these topics?
- What did you learn from the experience that probably could not have been picked up from course work?
- Is the sort of work you did over the summer something you would like to continue doing once you graduate? Explain.
- Would you recommend your summer experience to other Brown students? Explain.