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I’m a current freshman studying data science at UC davis and I was wondering what is the best time to get an internship. I have been applying to a lot of internships but I haven’t been hearing back. I don’t have a lot of experience (I know some r and python in a ML context) and I’m wondering if I should wait until I learn more before applying.
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As soon as you can get one.

Some employers are slower to hire people before completion of sophomore year, at least in my experience. But you should still try because plenty will still hire you, and internships are among the best ways to gain experience while in school.
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The goal for them is to get interns to accept a return offer for a full-time role with the company after they graduate, so they prefer students who are graduating sooner rather than later. Usually seniors get the most preference, followed by juniors. Etc.

In the meantime, there is no harm in applying, but you’ll probably have better luck later on.
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