November 2, 2009 at 3:27 am #172468SamuelParticipant
So, I’m a second year student studying Landscape Architecture.
I was wandering what internship are offered, and what sort of position I should expect.
Thanks for the help!November 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm #172473ncaParticipant
I was accepted into the Design Workshop Summer internship program in 2007. I liken my experience that summer to a semester in grad school.
I recommend applying for ‘programs’ like DW’s or EDAW’s (not even sure if it exists anymore) as you’ll get a lot more out of it than experience sitting behind a desk making pretty drawings all day. If you go for a more traditional internship working in an office you’ll likely be expected to work at a production capacity making sections, doing cad red lines, an occasional sketchup/rhino model, etc and if your veratile and the office wants to help you get experience you’ll work between teams on different project types.
I got so far as being involved in the design process in a few pinches and developed a strong professional relationship woth one of the principals.
We were not required to do an internship while in school. I did it for my own experience and because I needed a job. According to my school this arrangement would not count for an ‘internship’ anyway because I got paid and didn’t pay tuition. I’m not sure if that’s true everywhere or just at CSU.November 2, 2009 at 8:51 pm #172472Wes Arola, RLAParticipant
make sure you know AutoCAD,Sketchup and Adobe Suite because thats really all that matters in most casesNovember 3, 2009 at 12:05 am #172471Chris WhittedParticipant
First considerations are what (if any) requirements does your school have? Mine allowed for paid or unpaid internships, both for credit, one was required, and it was generally done in the fourth year. There were also requirements as to the type of things you had to be exposed to for it to count. I only did the one, but after that I wished I’d gone after one (or construction/nursery work) every summer instead of working for the university. They can be incredibly intensive learning experiences that teach a lot of things your program might not even hint at.
There are a couple of general approaches to internships, and what to expect depends on which you end up with.
Some firms run a dedicated internship program. They keep a regular schedule that doesn’t always line up with the academic one, but they have a set program that’s fairly well outlined. I’ve seen some that are very structured (Valley Crest comes to mind, where they have you for x weeks in several different departments focusing on different things), and others that are looser and just promise a broad exposure to office tasks. These programs are usually limited as far as number of people accepted and when their dates are. They can also be very competitive.
Then there are the internships where the company doesn’t really have a program, but if you contact them they might be interested. This is how mine went. I knew where I wanted to work after graduating, so I sent letters of inquiry to firms in that area and ended up in a small (5 person) firm that didn’t really serve a national market and I’d never heard of before starting my search. This type usually tries to give you some exposure to different aspects of the business, but your primary purpose is production and other low-level work. You’re as much there to work as learn.
The last type I would categorize is where a company is short-handed and wants some cheap labor. You will be doing production work. You may or may not get exposed to much of the business, as they primarily need a CAD monkey or someone to crank out graphics. It’s more like a part-time or entry-level job than an internship; rare, but they are out there.
Finding an internship may be tough in the current market, but start by asking yourself a few questions. Is there a place/region you want to work? Is there a type of practice or project you want exposure to? Is there a size of firm you think you’d like to work at? Then start looking up firms that fit your criteria. Do they already have an internship program, and if so what’s it like or is required? If there’s a firm you like that doesn’t specifically mention a program, contact them anyway. Should they show interest, be sure to ask questions if you haven’t already outlined what you’re looking for (or your school requires) in your initial letter. Will you focus on one area or be given a broad range of experience? What types of projects are they currently working on? Will you only see conceptual planning, or also construction detailing or even some fieldwork? It’s unlikely you’d see anything start to finish, but there may be different projects at various stages.
Good luck!November 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm #172470SamuelParticipant
Hiya! I would certainly look for those things.
Our school doesn’t require me to do an internship until my 3rd or 4th year without the payment distinction as far as I know. I just wanted somewhat of a feel with the job experience.
I just started learning Auto CAD and Sketchup, along with adobe suite, so I don’t know how qualified I would be by the upcoming summer.
Thanks for all the suggestions, it’s so kind of you guys!
Cheers!November 5, 2009 at 9:39 pm #172469Chris WhittedParticipant
The landscape (metaphorically speaking and no pun intended) is a bit different today than when I did mine back in ’98, but I had a six week training course in AutoCAD prior to doing my internship. Granted, tech generally comes easy to me and I had extensive MicroStation background before that, but they’re very different schools of thought in many ways. That six weeks just learning the basics was enough for me to function and learn on the job at an acceptable rate. My first professional year taught me as much yet again (at an engineering firm I should point out). Also, many firms don’t have ANYONE who can run SketchUp at all, and still more want people with hand graphics skills more than Adobe.
Short version, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Be honest in describing your abilities (and knowing them) and you’ll find the right fit.
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