Gaining industry experience has significant benefits whether you are in high school, college or entering into the workforce. Regardless of your current education level or desired career path, an internship can encourage your professional growth.
Why is an internship important?
An internship is important because it can present you with new skills and opportunities that you would not receive otherwise. Interns not only gain technical knowledge within the industry of their choice, but they also learn how to interact with professionals in a workplace setting, and develop essential soft skills like time management, organization, adaptability, problem-solving and teamwork.
A virtual internship is a work experience program where the participant (intern) gains experience while working in a remote professional setting and is not physically present at the job location.
Virtual interns communicate with their employer online through various means including email, Skype, Whatsapp, instant messaging, phone conversations, webinars, project management tools, SMS messaging, etc.
Virtual internships are undertaken by both students and graduates, usually some form of white-collar work, often within fields suitable to remote work such as information technology, media, creative arts, or public relations.
According to career experts, although virtual internships are currently rare, they are growing in popularity due to improving technology and the growth of social media. A rise has been reported in virtual internships — most of which are unpaid — especially from small ventures and start ups seeking additional help. Larger companies are also starting to explore offering these types of internships. They are presently most popular among small to midsize companies and online businesses.
Virtual internships have been criticized for not providing the supervision and guidance that internships are meant to provide. Despite this, virtual or remote internships are a viable option amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, where travel options are limited. They may rival and sometimes exceede what traditional internships offer.