I have sometimes been asked how to get a job or internship in the Silicon Valley from my Japanese friends. I answered that question with the same answer. I summarize my thought here.
How to get an internship in Cisco?
I joined CIIP Cisco International Internship program, one-year internship in Cisco HQ in the valley. However, unfortunately, only Keio university student is eligible for this program currently(2014/08). There are marketing position and engineering position in this internship. If you are a Keio student, go for it! There is no reason why you miss the greatest opportunity. This program offers VISA, residence, salary, insurance and so on. Literally, you just worry about food and leisure expenses.
How was the internship?
This definitely helps to rethink what you are. Though the valley is the best place for technology, what you should learn is philosophy behind guys in the valley not technology. Why they come to the valley?
It was an awesome experience which I never experience in Japan. I worked for development of a infrastructure for APIC-EM, SDN application.
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module - Products & Services - Cisco I got a great team member in Cisco.
I researched about distributed search for network management. In addition, I took Python classes in which Python committer teaches Python. Cisco offers many great classes:) This one of the biggest advantage in the Valley. I become a distinguished Python engineer within a year.
Other interns who came from top university all over the world are skillful and humoral. It is hard to feel such a diversity in Japan. You may get some culture shock. Of course, I am the one. This is a good opportunity to rethink my principle. This internship is a first time to stay abroad for long time. As a result, my strong stereotype was broken.
Other than work, I joined many tech events to expand my network and know the latest trend of technology. I discussed many awesome engineers which arouse my tech curiosity. I start to contribute to OSS. I am mainly contributing to Apache Spark.
Apache Spark™ - Lightning-Fast Cluster Computing
I believe that practical work and theory are important. If you are learning Computer Science, you should start your own projects or do an internship to make outputs. I think they prefer practical experience to select internship candidates. Internship is definitely plus.
Try to find your interest that you want to pursue for life.
Is it first time to go abroad? You are not confident with your skill? It doesn't matter. Let's take a shoot. Otherwise you will be regret in the future.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
How to get a job in the Valley?
(for Japanese) Please see the below links:
アメリカで働く為のパス - シリコンバレーで働く文系のBlog
海外での転職を考えているエンジニアに読んでほしい、シチューさんの話【連載:上杉周作④】 - エンジニアtype