The University of Southampton

ECS student spends a year in the world's start-up capital

Published: 28 October 2013

ECS Computer Science student Mike Howell is one of a small group of UK students spending a year in California as part of the Silicon Valley Internship Program (SVIP).

As the high-tech start-up capital of the world, Silicon Valley is an interconnected ecosystem of entrepreneurs, companies, universities and venture capital, with a pervasive attitude of ‘the possible’ that provides the underlying connective tissue that makes it all work.

The Programme provides a unique experience for UK software engineering students, enabling them to spend a year working with hot start-ups in Silicon Valley through a one-year internship. ‘The aim is that through this experience, SVIP interns will bring a little of the Silicon Valley attitude back to the entrepreneurial community in the UK’, says Mike.

The SVIP Interns are matched with Silicon Valley start-ups and work as an integral part of their engineering teams. During the year, the interns attend a variety of conferences and events, as well as regular half-day learning sessions on the entrepreneurial process.

‘I have been based with Nimble Storage, a disruptive data storage company based in San Jose’, says Mike. ‘After a year of rapid expansion Nimble is one of the more mature companies in the program. Hopefully I will soon see first-hand the IPO process as an insider. Nimble has around 500 employees, but most of the start-ups are a lot smaller - some even only have six employees including the three founders.

‘The culture for high tech is great,’ he continues. ‘Interns have meet with Elon Musk, toured Facebook and Google HQ. There are few barriers between the interns, CEO’s, CTO’s and tech super-stars. I feel I can make real lasting networks and connections!’

Mike is also enjoying the Bay Area: ‘This is one of the best play natural grounds I have ever been,’ he says, ‘with ocean to the west and big mountains to the east. There are water and snow sports, and we have already been surfing, sky diving and will be going skiing very soon. The bar and nightlife in San Francisco are also exceptional.’

Applications for the Silicon Valley Internship Program have just opened. More information is available at: Silicon Valley Internship Program (SVIP).

Apply here:

The Programme is only available to EU students.

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