It’s hard to overestimate the significance of part-time jobs for international IT students studying in the USA. They help with money and provide chances to learn new (and improve already existing) skills. But, finding them can be hard for non-U.S. learners. They have limited permission to work and may not know about the local job market.
In this article, we will discuss the difficulties you may face as an international IT student studying in the USA and looking for part-time jobs. We will also provide you with helpful suggestions to overcome these challenges.
Part-time Job Opportunities for Students: Where You Should Start Your Search
For a student seeking a workplace with flexible hours, there are several effective ways to kickstart a job op search. Here are some helpful tips to guide you:
- Utilize your university’s career center. Your university’s career center is a great place to start your IT job search. They offer listings of available jobs, organize career fairs, and run other valuable student programs to make the path to your dream part-time job easier and shorter.
- Explore on-campus IT positions. Universities have IT departments that hire scholars for various roles such as IT support staff, IT technicians, help desk assistants, or computer lab assistants. Working in such positions will not only provide practical experience but also allow you to advance your student career while earning a salary.
- Attend networking events. Networking events, meetups, and conferences within the IT field are excellent opportunities to connect with industry professionals and uncover potential job openings. Keep an eye out for local events or participate in virtual gatherings, such as LinkedIn for College Students, Sierra College Information Technology, or Women in Data Science (WiDS), to expand your network and discover job prospects.
- Apply for internships. Internships are a fantastic way to gain practical experience in the IT sector and can often lead to full-time employment opportunities upon graduation. Contact your university’s career center or search online platforms specifically designed for internships to find suitable options.
Here are the top 5 internship programs according to the Firsthand platform:
- The Infosys InStep Internship Program
- The Grant Thornton Internship
- The Discover Internship Program
- The Ellucian Internship Program
- The Home Depot Summer 2023 Internship Program
- Online job portals. These are helpful platforms that present excellent opportunities for a student searching for a part-time IT job. Websites such as JobstoCareers, for instance, offer a vast range of employment options in various industries, including the IT sector. These portals allow you to filter job opportunities based on location, job type, and specific skill requirements, making it easier to find positions that suit your needs.
Legal Considerations and Work Limitations
According to a report by NAFSA, for every seven international students, there are approximately three job opportunities within the United States. This translates to a substantial number of jobs, around 458,290 positions, open specifically to foreign learners.
While the job market offers promising possibilities, non-native IT students must be familiar with the legal aspects and limitations surrounding their employment. As an international learner, you may be required to obtain work authorization, either through your university or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is essential to follow all regulations and requirements to ensure that you maintain your visa status while working in the United States. Violating the F1 work authorization can lead to severe consequences, including the loss of visa status and deportation.
Typically, as an F1 student, your work permit allows you to have flexible work, with a maximum limit of 20 hours per week during the academic year. However, during your summer or winter vacations, you may work full-time. International students with an F-1 visa typically receive $7.25 per hour, a compensation rate that aligns with the federal minimum wage.
International Student Opportunities to Work Flexible Hours
There are two types of work authorization (permits) available for international students: on-site student work and off-site student work.
Foreign scholars who are full-time students and have valid F-1 visas may work on campus without obtaining an additional work permit. However, they must have a job offer from a qualifying employer and maintain their full-time student status while working.
Universities offer a range of on-site student job options in the IT field for non-U.S. learners. These positions can provide valuable experience and skill development for a student. Here are some examples:
- IT Support Staff. As part of the IT support team, you’ll assist students, faculty, and staff with technical issues and troubleshooting. You’ll gain hands-on experience in diagnosing and resolving common computer and software problems.
- IT Technicians. In this role, you’ll work closely with the IT department to set up and maintain computer systems, networks, and hardware. You may also assist in student program software installations, upgrades, and system backups.
- Help Desk Assistants. As a help desk assistant, you’ll be the first point of contact for individuals seeking IT assistance. You’ll provide guidance and troubleshoot issues via phone, email, or in person. This position hones your communication and problem-solving skills.
- Computer Lab Assistants. In computer labs, you’ll assist learners with software applications, provide technical support, and ensure the proper functioning of equipment. This role allows you to interact with your friends while gaining knowledge in software utilization.
- Network Administrators. Working closely with the IT team, network administrators are responsible for managing and maintaining the university’s computer networks. You’ll ensure network security, troubleshoot connectivity issues, and implement network upgrades for student programs.
- Software Developers. Some universities offer software development positions within their IT departments. As a software developer, you’ll participate in coding, testing, and debugging software applications used within the university.
- Data Analysts. Universities often require data analysts to manage and analyze student and administrative data. In this role, you’ll work with large datasets, perform statistical analysis, and generate reports to support decision-making processes.
Work beyond the campus
Qualifying employers may hire students for jobs outside the campus premises. There are two specific opportunities for educands to gain real-world experience in their chosen field outside the campus. These are Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- CPT is permission to work outside the university in a job associated with the student’s major. It is typically available to students who need to complete an internship, cooperative education program, or any other type of work experience as a required component of their degree program. Under the terms of this permit, if a student is engaged in temporary work, there is no specified period of work duration. CPT provides beneficial opportunities for students to apply their academic knowledge in a professional setting, gain hands-on experience, and further enhance their knowledge of their chosen field.
- OPT is a work permit suitable for international scholars currently studying or having completed their degree program. It allows young minds to engage in temporary employment that is directly related to their major area of study. Under OPT, enrollees can work for up to 12 months. For students in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), an additional 24-month extension is available, totaling up to 36 months of work authorization.
In summary, part-time jobs are essential for international IT educands studying in the USA, as they provide financial support and learning opportunities. To find student work, other country-of-origin learners can use their university’s career center, explore on-campus positions, attend networking events, apply for internships, and use online job portals. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements and obtain the necessary work authorization to comply with visa regulations.
With determination and the right approach, overseas IT students can have a rewarding hourly job experience in the USA.