The changing dynamics of today’s work environment requires much more than just a degree from students. Before stepping foot in the real world, students are expected to have some sort of experience or certification to show where their skills lie. One might ask how is this even possible? A recent graduate has been focusing on studying, with no time to think about anything else except grades. But that scenario is changing, and quickly. Internships, training programs, summer projects etc are all different ways to gain some experience before you put go for your first entry level job interview.
The internship can be paid or unpaid. The duration is usually between 3 to 6 months, depending on the college’s expectations, student’s willingness to work and company’s program. An internship is an opportunity to explore your career path. An advertising student interning at an ad agency might be encountering the world of advertising up close for the first time. This is the right time for them to explore whether they want to work in the client servicing, copywriting or graphic designing department.
A training program, on the other hand, is very different. The first kind of training program is one where already hired employees are trained for the first few months. This kind of training program involves familiarizing new recruits with the company’s systems, policies and departments. Employees receive their salaries during this period.
Other training programs include paying to attend classes and receiving certification in return. These programs can be anything from honing your development language skills, SAP skills or taking an external certification course on Oracle. These programs require you to pay to gain access to resources. On successful completion of the program, usually followed by a short exam, the student receives a record of their coursework.
The advantage that internships have overpaid training programs is that companies conduct internships. They hire students, who work for a short period of time before resuming their studies. The benefit for students is that they have officially put their foot in the door when it comes to working in an actual company. Training programs, by comparison, are paid for by students themselves. These certifications might or might not be recognized by companies. Unless the certification obtained is comparable to a national or international standard, there is no guarantee that it will hold in front of your interviewer for a job.
Given the choice between an internship and a training program, a student should definitely opt for an internship. Real world experience is extremely valuable as compared to an extra certificate. While the chance to hone your skills will be present at every point, the chance to intern will not.
Internships are extremely competitive, with more and more students opting to do one. A second or third-year student must actively apply for internships for summer and winter breaks, to make the most of the opportunities they have. Most companies hire interns during these periods. An internship ahs the added benefit of helping a student build a network of connections within the company that will be helpful during the process of looking for a job. Certain interns are also offered full-time jobs once they finish their internship successfully.
Extra certifications can be obtained with free time on the weekend or by putting extra hours after work or classes. Looking at the advantages of both objectively, an internship will rank higher than a training program that the student has to pay for. If in doubt, it is always advisable to talk to a career counselor in your college or a family member with experience in the field.
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