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I'm currently a second year undergraduate Computer Science student. I'm having a hard time deciding to either apply for an internship or spend the summer back home, working on some fields I feel I haven't yet got a good grasp of (OOP, algorithms) + working on one or two open source projects I found really attractive.

I don't really care about getting paid from doing the internship, I'm only looking for experience. I'll still do an internship next year since it's mandatory (University rules) and most probably the year after.

What weighs more for an employer and what would benefit me most in the long run?

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Why "vs" instead of "and"? This is a false dichotomy. –  Caleb May 3 '12 at 17:59
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closed as not constructive by gnat, Walter, Caleb, Yannis Rizos May 4 '12 at 3:40

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Internship. You'll learn how to work with people and get references when looking for a job later.

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+1 for learn how to work with people –  Philip May 3 '12 at 17:15
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Internship. You can always hack for open source.

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At least if you have no other hobbys/projects... –  Philip May 3 '12 at 17:16
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Oh, but we engineers have no personal life dilbert.com/strips/comic/2012-04-22. –  gruszczy May 3 '12 at 17:43
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Internship shows you can work with people in an office setting and have an idea how offices work, a good recommendation from the company you intern for can show that you have programming skills and other important soft skills. Internships also have the potential to lead to a full time position within the company. Contributing to open source projects really just shows you can program. Basically working on open source projects is similar to community service, its helpful and can make you feel good, but its not the most efficient/best way to improve a resume.

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