In June, 2020, a 12 question survey was distributed to ICS Students through a combination of a RadGrad newsletter, a posting to the ACM Manoa discord server, and an email to the ICS student mailing lists. Here is a summary of the results:
Demographics of respondents
There were 28 responses to the request. Given there are approximately 400 undergraduate ICS students, that represents about 7% of the undergraduate population.
Out of the 28 responses, approximately 20 (71%) had completed both ICS 314 and ICS 311. Over 60% identified themselves as either a first semester senior or a senior graduating this semester.
So, on the one hand, these results mostly do not reflect the experience of lower-level undergraduates, who are a main target for InternBit. On the other hand, the results do reflect what end-stage undergraduates are currently experiencing, which is valuable for identifying ways that InternBit can address gaps in the current internship search process.
Internship search experience
90% of the respondents indicated that they intend to get an internship prior to graduation. This is great: it indicates that the importance of internships is evident to our students (at least by the time they are seniors!)
44% of respondents said they were only able to find 1-5 relevant internship opportunities in the past 12 months. An additional 12% said they could not find any. Full results here (the "About 25%" answer is an error in the survey):
This indicates that there is a clear opportunity for InternBit to add value. I think it is extremely unlikely that, for over half of ICS undergraduates, there are less than 6 relevant internship opportunities.
Almost 40% of our undergraduates felt that they were not qualified for any of the internships they were interested in!
This is an opportunity for InternBit, as well as an opportunity for RadGrad. We need to use the combination to help students figure out how to become qualified (or at least have the self-representation as qualified.)
About 44% of our undergrads found the Internship search experience to be "Difficult" or "Very Difficult":
Once again, that shows a clear need for InternBit, if it can actually make the process more simple.
Here are issues that students identified as problematic:
- Finding relevant, qualified, opportunities (10)
- Application process: applying, getting interest, etc. (5)
- Finding local opportunities (3)
When asking about the effectiveness of various sources, the responses were literally all over the map:
This indicates to me that a consolidated, one-stop location for searching would be really useful to students.
Here are skills that students said they wished they had more experience with, along with the counts of respondents:
- Python (10)
- Networking (4)
- Databases/MySQL/Oracle (3)
- .NET/C# (3)
- Mobile/iOS (3)
- DevOps/Docker (3)
- Cloud computing (2)
- C/C++ (2)
- Security (2)
- Ruby on Rails (2)
- Parallel Programming (2)
- Data Visualization
- Machine Learning/AI
This indicates gaps in our curriculum (Python, .NET) as well as opportunities to encourage/improve certain courses (Networking, Databases).
This needs assessment survey has accomplished two important purposes:
It provides data that supports our hypothesis that a service like InternBit, if effectively implemented, could provide a valuable service to our students by addressing problems (finding internships, getting qualified) that are associated with an activity that 90% of them deem important.
It provides a baseline for what upper level ICS students think about the internship process. After InternBit is implemented, we could use a survey with many of the same questions to provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of InternBit.
Note that this survey has not been effective in gathering evidence about the issues of lower level ICS students.