Year 2013 and again a new semester. This time I took up EG3601 Industrial Attachment Programme.
EG3601 Industrial Attachment Programme (IAP)
This is a 12 MC, 6 month programme where you go to work everyday (full-time) at a company of your choice out of the offerings on the online IAP system as an intern.
Companies needing interns put up their project scopes on the system and during a time period announced by the University (usually in September), students can enter the system and select projects of their choice. Once your 8 choices ranked in your order has been registered, the University will send your resume that you uploaded to the system to only one of the companies of your choice. If no one is competing with your selected project, then your resume will be sent to the company for that particular project. If someone competes for your selected project, I guess it would be randomly balloted and they will select your next choice for you if your name did not win the ballot. Since IAP is no longer compulsory for engineering students, there should be more offerings than students since most students are not willing to take on a 6 month full-time internship that would potentially disrupt their study schedule. Most prefer the 3 month VIP but from the company’s perspective, 3 months is considered too short to completely train and finish a project. Therefore there is a wider project selection for the 6 month IAP as compared to VIP. Also, VIP would have more students competing for fewer projects.
IAP is Pass/Fail only. No grading. However to ‘pass’ there are certain fulfillment requirements. Namely, you must liaise with your academic mentor who will be the one ‘grading’ your internship. If you followed my advice and did contact your mentor at least back in year 2, then it would be somewhat less awkward to ask your mentor for help. Every 6 weeks from the start of the internship period, you must submit reports according to the guidelines on the IAP website with a 4th and final larger end report after the internship.
Project and Company Selection
Most projects would come across uninteresting or unknown to you lest you are very familiar with the industry. So not much comment on that. Just pick what sounds good to you. However company wise, there are factors to consider.
1. Company culture. Granted, you might not know the company culture off the bat but it pays to try and do as much research as you can on each potential company to find out what suits you. If the company has a website with corporate information, read that. If you have peers or seniors who have gone to those companies, ask them. If you know of coffee-talk shop forums online that talks about the working life, visit them. See which country the company originated from and read up about that country’s culture to get a vague idea of the potential working culture. Start ups and large corporations have different resources and management styles. Asian corporations usually work its employees very hard with a very hierarchical management. Western corporations may have a flatter management structure and give its employees more working independence but may still expect alot from your skill and ability. What ever the case, the more technical jobs are not as highly regarded by both society and the individual. We have thousands of engineering graudates every year but still find a shortage of engineers taking up technical engineering jobs partially because of the low regard for such jobs due to lower pay and lower prestige. Anyway, if you really want a technical engineering job so that you won’t waste all that technical core modules you took, try looking for a company that puts emphasis on technical R&D and continually develops new hardware.
2. Location. A very obvious factor one that some people take for granted. If you live in Woodlands, and want to work in Changi and still want to take evening modules, good luck. You’ll probably be spending half your day on commute.
3. Compensation. Please don’t use compensation as the number 1 metric in project selection. You’ll be paid between 600 to a recommended 800 to 1200 or 1400 depending on the company. Banks usually are willing to pay more. If you did NS, you know this kind of pay for technical knowledge and ability is considered cheap labour. You are there to soak in the experience not collect money unless you really need that money.
The reason for having internships by a company could be for 1. cheap labour (although this is strongly discouraged and ethically wrong) 2. injection of new ideas by young to be graduates or 3. to test out and train potential employees. From a company’s perspective a 4000 dollar expenditure on an unsuitable intern over 6 months is still cheaper than an unsuitable employee over half the period. Although we can say that companies are willing to share experience and work closely with universities, it would be realistic to say that their finance departments would have considered any of the above 3 points.
The reason for you having an internship is to gain much needed experience that every hiring department asks for on their advertisements.
This is different from the 3 month EG3602 Vacation Internship Programme (VIP) worth 6 MCs. You cannot do both IAP and VIP and claim modular credits for both. You also cannot do the ATAP/SIP and claim credits in this manner.
You can take evening modules on the FoE side. Notable modules that CEG students on IA should take are HR2002 and EE3001. If you want, you can also hop into the equivalent elective modules for the BTech course with the pre-requisite three step company -> home department -> OUP approvals.
For us CEG students, we can pick from the IAP/VIP system from the FoE or the equivalent ATAP/SIP programmes from SOC.