NAB Internship or finish UNI Computer Science Degree

POLL ENDS TONIGHT - DECISION HAS TO BE GIVEN TO NAB. Thanks to all those that commented and voted.

Second year computer science student who has been offered a 12mth internship with NAB in the software development department on a small pay. Money isn't the issue. He still has this year and next to complete the degree. He has already accepted a summer break internship for 4weeks at a top world accounting firm.

So should he take the NAB job or just keep studying and just do the 4week internship.

Whats do we all think is more important? The degree or the work experience. Internship doesn't guarantee any future employment other then the name on a CV.

UPDATE: Thanks so far for all the comments. NAB have told him they need a decision as soon as possible. What kind of management team are these guys when they don't answer his question. Its meant to start in July.

Please keep the thread going if you haven't already commented as No.1 Son is now reading the posts and getting some good things to think about. The thread is helping him alot.

Poll Options

  • 62
    Take NAB job?
  • 10
    Dont take NAB job?
  • 11
    Re-Negogiate term to 6weeks so can work in with studies and other internship

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National Australia Bank Group (NAB)
National Australia Bank Group (NAB)

Comments

  • +1 vote

    Does the internship count as uni credit?

    I’d take it either way and study part time

    •  

      The 4 week 1 counts for uni credit so its already covered. There's no part time option at NAB. Only offered 12 months. There was a 6 month option. But will get him to ask them. Unlikely I guess.

  •  

    Take the internship near the end of the degree or at the end, that way skills/tech is relevant and able to be headhunted right after internship.

    •  

      That's what we are thinking. He lives at home so money is not the issue. Although he would like the money as you do. He already has another part time job on line writing tech articles and managing the same tech pages web site.

  • +6 votes

    Work experience > Degree for me. He can always finish the degree later.

    If I am hiring I actually do not even look at the degree or which uni.

    •  

      Are you in the field he is looking going into? I have the feeling he may not go back to study if he takes the 12mth internship. Good opportunity. I think if he's offered the internship now he may still get it when he finishes the degree in the future.

      •  

        I'm in IT, but not a dev myself. 10+ years in a (different) Big 4 across 7 or 8 various roles.

        The best guy I hired for a Network Security role had a Biomed degree. Two of the three best exec mentors I've had do not even have degrees (the other was a teacher). I personally have an Accounting/Finance degree but somehow ended up in Cyber Security. My observation is that not having qualifications does not limit you until you get into senior management (exec and above) at which points a lot of it is about politics anyway.

        For me to comes down to the fact that it is a good opportunity available now. How many interns does NAB take in vs how many people just go and get degrees from uni? It's much rarer to have a candidate who already has work experience compared to all the thousands of people who just got degrees and have no corporate work experience. I say this as someone who did not do any work or extracurricular activities during uni as well.

        Who knows what will happen in the future? He might get an opportunity again later but this one is available right now.

      •  

        After graduating and getting a job in industry, I can easily say that most of what I learned/did at uni didn't prepare me for what I do.

        Sure, it's a nice introduction to programming languages and data structures. But it was too broad and tried to give us a small bit of everything.

        If I were offered a 1yr internship before I graduated I would. I would continue studying from distance or part time (I didn't go to lectures anyway) and complete my degree while working.

        The job will give him more experience and value than Uni will.

  •  

    Taking a step back. What does this guy want to do for a living?

    Does he want to write software in a Big 4 bank? If so take the internship.

    Otherwise to be honest, it doesn't take an elite level programmer to go work at a bank in the future, sounds like he is already a good look on the resume with the other internships noted, so he won't have a problem getting a job later.

    But if he wants to dream big, do that while you are young. Jobs at a bank or other large Corporates can always come later.

    •  

      He's our son. He's yet to know exactly what he wants to do when he finishes, hence why he is trying to get these jobs. To see what they are like. The Apple Microsoft ones are very competitive and didn't get a look in for those.

      •  

        Anyway, point was here that if he wants to explore anything start-up/entrepreneur wise he should try to get on that path while at uni.

  • +3 votes

    Take the NAB job every day of the week. I took a job at the end of my second year at uni, just did the last 2 years part time online.

  • +1 vote

    Nowadays, it's not what you know, it's who you know.

  • +2 votes

    I think he should take the internship. He will get real work experience. It's crucial for future employers. Worst case scenario: he doesn't get any offer at the end of the internship and can finish his degree. His subjects are still valid no?

    •  

      @Yoo The issue for us is that the NAB one is during his course year. The other one will give him some contacts as well, but during the break so doesn't effect completing his degree.

      •  

        I see. Still think the 12 month internship is the best option. He will learn the corporate culture, team work, guidelines… if he is serious he is guaranteed a job at the end

  •  

    @rambutann His course doesn't offer part time study. Once he completes the internship. He's either going to go back to full time study to finish the degree. Or would they offer him further full employment at NAB?

    •  

      From my experiences with banks and internships, if you do a good job while you are on internship you are pretty much guaranteed to get accepted to interview for a grad position. Most of those internship kids go on to get grad positions.

      If you are really good however, you may have the ability to be hired directly into a team. However graduate programs allow you to meet a lot of people and rotate through the businesses so it can be very beneficial in this respect.

    •  

      What do you mean they don't offer part time study? Most degrees do to be inclusive to everyone and all that.

    • +1 vote

      How can his course not offer part time study? All he has to do is enrol in only 1 or 2 subjects instead of 3 or 4.

  • +1 vote

    I assume if he's getting offers of 12 month internships and other opportunities in big companies at this stage i'm sure there'd be no issue getting work or doing a similar internship at the end of his degree. The part time job you mentioned he has already will stand to him too.

    I agree with some of the sentiment that a degree isn't the most important thing but there are a lot of places that won't hire somebody inexperienced without one particularly for grad programs etc. I'd blast through the degree, particularly when there's no money pressure.

    •  

      Yes some valid points. Its really 50/50 as he really hasn't got anything to lose. Good for him to have such good options so early. He deserves it as he works very hard with all his studies. If he can get work over the break with NAB that may be the best thing.

  •  

    Internship for sure I reckon, he'll likely go back to uni afterwards I don't think they'll just give him a job, theres some companies that do year long internships on the 2nd or 3rd year then expect you to go back to uni, and then join them later. I have no idea why, as most companies just run the end of year internship stuff (Like 12 weeks like the other one).

    But I reckon in terms of employment it will place him first in trying to apply for a job later, I also think he'll get to see if this is something he likes, and hopefully that extra year will give him a better understanding of himself and future (whether he's happy with this job/degree etc). One issue I see people trip up on is that they worry too much at uni about graduating a year longer or something, but I've never seen an employer that cares, just putting it out there incase its something he's worried about. Also it may mean he's no longer in the same classes with his friends.

    •  

      Yes the last point was brought up, but he will still be friends with them. Just not seeing them everyday. If it was a simple question I wouldn't have posted it, but thought it may also be helpful for others with similar scenarios. Your points are great. He's already asked us what we thought, but don't want to advise without looking outside of the bubble. At the end of the day he's a young adult and he can make up his own descision and we will support him.

  • +3 votes

    Working at NAB was my first job out of uni. My advice, DON'T DO IT. It was the worst workplace culture I've ever experienced.

    •  

      @sparkles. Was that like in the software development department. If he totally doesn't like it maybe he can just leave after 6months and go back to study.

    •  

      I started in IT in NAB in the ‘80s, and there were some shockers on the staff, but I still have a bunch of mates I know from back then. All large workplaces have various levels of suckiness but a lot of NAB people I know are terrific and go out of their way to help. Personally, I would find out what he will actually be doing on the internship and then see if it will be compatible with what he wants to do going forward. Real world experience, especially something substantial, is always better than just a degree. The secret is to make sure he finishes his degree afterwards and isn’t seduced by the money. If he had 6 months left I would say finish it but this could act as a sabbatical to get him refocused.

  • +1 vote

    Take the internship. NAB is bringing it's software dev back in house. He'll probably be able to jump straight into a decent role after 12 months. Or at worst get a chance to interview for the grad roles.

    •  

      @knick007 You are correct. NAB needs a lot of help. Their software is way old from what he is telling me. Also the coding is what they are offering him which is what he is interested in as well. Its just where he want do it at the end is what he is telling us.

    •  

      That does sound like a not always available fast track opportunity, I would take it, high reward low risk.

  • +1 vote

    Work experience is wayyyyyy more important than the degree (which you aren't even abandoning; at worst you are delaying graduation).

    Think of it this way, work experience isn't always available whereas you can always do your degree 'later'.

    •  

      The question also is does the NAB internship hold up any value against the other companies in the IT field he is getting into. Someone has already mentioned some internships aren't that valued as its just like a work experience scheme the company put out for student. When he was in year 10 he had a 2 week work experience job at a web designer company. The boss thought he was a lot smarter than the interns that were there already.

      • +2 votes

        I have no experience with NAB internships but I would think they're a lot more reputable than random web design firm.

      •  

        There is a lot of difference between short term, often unpaid, internships and a substantial 12 month stint. Being told by the boss he is “smarter” is not the same as having some really juicy development achievements under his belt. He really needs to find out what they intend him to work on and how this would look on the resume under relevant work experience. If nothing else he will see what it is like to be part of a development team and the delivery processes and procedures. We used to have a saying when I was at NAB - “don’t let your change appear on the front of the newspaper”. It gives you perspective on not only what to do/not do, but why ensuring all the right boxes are ticked is also important. TL;DR is double check what they intend him to work on and see if it is resume worthy.

      •  

        Nope it doesn’t.

        The problem with the Bank is that, a lot of the times it will be the contractors doing all the hard work and the bank employees will be micro-managing. He will most likely be a BA or Project Manager. This experience is useless.

        But all said, NAB is not too shabby for software development (they do a lot of cloud work). In terms of software development this is how I would rate: CBA (miles ahead) > NAB > ANZ > Westpac. I did a summer internship with ANZ and it was a waste of time.

        It’s actually quite hard to get interviews with top IT companies. I have three internship experiences and wasn’t even able to land a interview with Google, Atlassian and Amazon.

        Whenever, I go to AC I am the guy with a lot of experience but I still get rejected 9/10. There are people with no exp that get the offers. So I feel that doing an internship is a waste of time. Just graduate uni ASAP, exployers don’t care about experience.

        I am currently working at one of the largest technology companies in the world, and the work is much more satisfying than my previous internships.

  •  

    do both at the same time

    •  

      He has to take a year off uni to do the NAB internship.

      •  

        do it online.

        •  

          Don't believe they offer the degree online if a full time student.

          •  

            @Dedbny: Then change unis to one which offers the course online. The point of uni is to get a job. Your son now has a foot in the door and all he need ps to do is to perform. The degree is largely irrelevant now.

            Experience > Degree

      •  

        He should talk to NAB. Most employers offer study leave for exams.

        I did a CS/IT degree. They had late tutes and lectures online to allow people to work.

        I’d be a bit surprised if NAB expected him to put his degree on hold. I would be doing part time study while working if I were him.

  • +4 votes

    No one has asked the question - what technology are they using?

    They could easily be wanting someone to learn mainframe programming in which case, unless you want to work for a bank or the department of human services with 60 year old colleagues for the rest of your life that experience will get you nowhere.

    If they're using modern technology then by all means go for it.

    Just make sure to continue studying while working or you'll forget how to study and will find it very difficult to get back into it, and may never graduate.

  •  

    defer for a year and do the internship. come back and finish degree afterwards (alternatively, do part time 1-2 subjects per semester in the evenings while he works at the bank).

    There are degrees where you need to work for a year in between your course - there is value in it. He will be in a better position than most grads when he finishes.

  •  

    The bank will treat you like a whore. Finish Uni and then get a job with a bank that will still treat you like a whore.

    In all seriousness, drop everything and travel the world.

  •  

    Work full time and study full time. If you need to study for more than a week before the exam to do well then you're doing uni wrong.

  •  

    I worked with (not for, but inside) NAB in the Y2K era and also separately with one of the big accountancies. The fulltime NAB staff were pretty much 9-5 drones just paying their mortgages whilst external contractors did most of the work. It's not the most fulfilling work as computer science goes. Personally I would finish the degree.

    Is he a 9-5 corporate type company, cubicle(OK that info might be dated) and time sheet loving yes-man? There's a time and a place for that stage in life. Straight out of uni it might be a bit dull.

  • +1 vote

    Me personally I would Finish university and just do the 4 week job offer stint.

  • +3 votes

    I'm well qualified to help answer this question I think.

    My career in IT started with a 12 month software development internship with a big 4 bank. I took it up after finishing 3 of the 4 years of my computer systems engineering degree.

    After the year was over, they kept me on and I worked full nearly full time while studying half time for the next 2 years to finish off my degree. By then I was pretty good at passing a degree without needing to turn up to absolutely everything.

    The bank was very flexible in terms of allowing me to come and go from my workplace in the CBD and the campus in the CBD to attend lectures. They also paid my HECS for the final year worth of study.

    I spent 7 years at the bank in the end, before going on to various other roles and organisations within enterprise IT and making my way up to being an experienced Solution Architecture consultant 16 years later. I've had a good career so far that started with a bank internship as a software developer.

    Bank IT is big and mature. Even now I draw on my experience operating in a mature IT department as an intern and apply that experience in that maturity, when required, to new organisations, projects and situations.

    My thoughts:
    * Make no mistake, if you are any good they will want to keep you on. Thats the whole point.
    * As a "young" person in the IT department you are going to have fresh skills from uni, energy and a fresh attitude. You will be fairly quickly contributing the same amount as senior colleagues that are on triple your salary. Thats just how it is with coding. Salary doesn't necessarily equate to skills, particularly for graduates and interns.
    * If you stay, the bank will do what it can to manage pay rises beyond your low starting internship pay, but the incremental increases each year will struggle to get you anywhere near your colleagues who didn't start on such a low base. My manager knew this and made up for it with flexibility to attend lectures as well as getting me on the "on call" gravy train.

    If you want a career in enterprise IT, starting with a banking internship is a great way to go.

  •  

    If anyone here tells you not to take a job at the bank, don't listen to them. They either never worked a day in their lives or they don't anything other than study.

    You will learn much more at work than at study. If you can get a job without a degree then that's the way to go. Job experience is more important than a degree. It's not about the money either, but what will give him the best opportunity. You can take computer science online at all the good universities anyway.

    •  

      @pentanol From speaking with him he is justifying himself to likely stay at Uni and just do the 4 week internship during the summer break. Looking at seeing if he can get the NAB experience within his free time, rather than take the time out of degree. He's a very level headed person. We discussed about what another poster mentioned. Once you in there at such low base its harder to move up for pay. Not that pay is important at this stage. If he grads he can likely get a grad position with higher starting salary.

      By the way NAB to him isn't cool enough, so hoping for a better offer elsewhere, but offers are running thin for coming internships.

      • +2 votes

        He doesn't have to stay at NAB, just use it as a stepping stone for a better offer elsewhere.

        I'm doing a computer science course from a reputable US University online whilst working full time. I wish this option was available when I was at uni.

        It's a matter of distinguishing yourself from the other students applying for grad positions as many would only have done summer internships. Also as many are doing computer science courses your son will face a major uphill battle when he graduates if he doesn't jump now as he will be competing against people lik me who already have a decade of job experience and doing the same course.

        I can understand your kid is level headed, but some things you can't predict fully or fully appreciated unless youve been working awhile.

        All the best whatever the decision is!

  •  

    Hi,

    Similarly in my second year I took a cadetship at NAB/MLC as a software engineer while still doing 1 or 2 subjects. It was a great decision and after finishing I shortly returned for another two years still full time while also doing full time study as they were flexible. All big banks pay well after the first year especially if you can leave and return.

    I found the culture great as the place was full of other cadets or grads. Many people in senior positions were only in their cadetship a few years prior so career progression definitely exists. While of course banks are very process driven and behind technology wise, the "department" I was in was quite ahead for a bank.

    Everything about culture and the technology used is dependant on which area of the business the position is for as varying business units can be entirely different.

    I highly recommend pursuing the intersnhip and trying to do one subject at uni at least during nights. I worked in North Sydney office.

    •  

      Did you end up completing your degree? Have you since moved on from NAB and do you think the degree helped at all in the future job prospects. Also was there anything that made you think not to take the year internship. My son has to make a decision on Monday. He's swinging towards declining.

      •  

        Internship in the bank seem one in a life time. Always can study after but once the offer decline it may not come back.

        Certification can always pursuit later but experience is always unique

      •  

        Sorry for the late response,

        Yes, I did complete the degree on time. I have moved on from NAB and having previously worked at a big bank was a big positive to potential employers. The degree was never talked about and I think it only matters for your first job so irrelevant really after the internship. A high gpa might be noticed by some but was never a deciding factor.

        I think the biggest advantage of an internship (especially a 12 month one at a big bank) is how much easier it will be for him to get a job upon graduation. He will ahead of other graduates competing for similar roles. The degree itself is not so relevant especially in IT, I know a few others who started what they thought would be just an internship and have gone into different senior/managerial roles in the years following and still haven't graduated 6-8 years on as they are only doing one or two subjects at a time.

        It's your son's choice of course and if he would rather focus on finishing his degree that is fine too!

  •  

    join the cult of the death star and be miserable like everyone else

  •  

    Complete the degree. The job may be better now, and even for10 years, but withouta good degree you will hit a ceiling and regret your decision. As your life progresses it will be harder to go back to study

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