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What Can I Expect As an IT Intern? 325

Posted by kdawson
from the here's-a-hint-it-flows-downhill dept.
p3np8p3r writes "I'm in college and working towards my Bachelors in Computer Science. Last year I passed both my CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications and now have been offered (via a staffing company) a full-time Internship at a wireless lab of a major laptop manufacturer. The pay is going to be around $8 an hour full-time but that is not my primary motivator. I'm considering this significant decrease in pay from my previous (non-IT) job to be counterbalanced by what valuable knowledge I may gain both in the technical aspects and industry insight while I finish school. This field is all new to me and I don't personally know anyone who has worked in it before who will give me their honest opinions on it. Although I know circumstances differ greatly, in general, what can I expect as an IT Intern? What have been your experiences?"
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What Can I Expect As an IT Intern?

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  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:33AM (#30363326) Homepage

    I developed some software on my own when I was in school which allowed to get known. I then did my internship at full salary (20$ an hour back then) for a small company. A "major laptop manufacturer" might seem a little cheap at 8$ an hour even for an internship.

    Have you looked for company to do your internship by yourself? It could be important to do your internship in a place that will fit to your career plan, ask questions and talk to the company representatives. In short, don't view your internship as just another academical formality in order to get your bachelor degree. Don't go work there as a governmental clerk just doing another day ;-))

    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:29AM (#30363570) Journal

      Have you looked for company to do your internship by yourself? It could be important to do your internship in a place that will fit to your career plan, ask questions and talk to the company representatives.

      I agree. Submitter doesn't really tell what his career plan is or what the "IT work" means.

      In my teen years (and a some after) I enjoyed coding and creating my own gaming projects. It was fun to code them and test out things and I honestly spend maybe way way too many hours with them. That lead me to look for universities and jobs for a game coder and I though I'd be happy doing so always - After all I did enjoy doing it myself as a hobby.

      The thing is, I would had not enjoy doing it as work. Even if it still interests me and I'm happy doing game coding as a hobby, I don't know if I wanted to do that as a work. You would ultimately get instructions from the game developers to do what they want - no your own vision, no your ideas, you're just coding what they tell you to. This was different in 80's and first half of 90's, but it's like that today. Today the projects are huge, which means that usual IT and coding and so on works are quite different what you might have though.

      Something that sounds fine and interesting right now probably will not be so in the long run (or even small). This is why you should try to get a complete view to things and learn as widely as possible. Doing something less nicer will help to get there, but one shouldn't keep his view just on it.

      Now that IT is getting more and more daily part of the world too, don't just view it as IT work as it probably contains things from other areas. Get to know media. Get to know marketing. Get to know designing. Something more upper level, and get to know peoples experience.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm currently doing work-study for a company as an IT guy. Basically it's just an "every other semeseter" intern instead of the typical "summer intern."

      I wish someone told me this advice at the time -- you can always hold out for another job. If you don't land an internship this summer then who the hell cares? Grab a book, program something, learn shell scripting, work a job as a computer tech (not necessarily as an "intern"). Do something. My friend programs websites & iphone apps, and has sold
    • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@emaELIOT.il minus poet> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:08AM (#30363756) Journal

      I can second the OP's statement. Every co-op that I've had, including the one that eventually turned into my full-time position, has paid at least $18/hr, with the average holding at around $20/hr. $8/hr for an IT internship is close to minimum wage here in New York, so that makes me question what kind of internship this is.

      What's the description of your internship? If you're getting paid this little, I'm going to assume that you're taking a help desk role (I hope you're not). In that case, at the very worst, expect to be answering phone calls all day and reading from a script, performing the most rudimentary of technical support tasks almost monotonously. You'll probably have to assemble reports as well, which isn't terribly exciting, nor is it contributional to your goal (ref: Office Space).

      Additionally, a description of your work would be helpful for us because IT is an extremely diverse field. Most people assume IT to mean computer support, but there are so many non-technical roles that coalesce with these support roles that appropriately belong in IT (Project Management being one of them). For instance, one of my co-ops, which was also one of the ones I enjoyed least, was as a business analyst, where I was responsible for assisting in getting software projects off the ground from conception to "go live." I was intrigued by the fact that I never had a role like this, but was quickly turned off to it when I realized that while I was discussing technology, I couldn't touch it. Having to work on boring HTML all day didn't help either.

      Nonetheless, in most good internships or co-ops where your manager actually lets you play with stuff and, even better, allows you to possibly break things (which hardly ever happens, especially in critical IT roles), you'll be expected to assist in low-risk projects that should be educational to you, but not be a terribly significant contribution to the company or division overall. I know that might sound discouraging, but you really do learn in some of these projects, and they give you a chance to show your managers what you're capable of IF you like what you'll be doing. I've done projects that were so dull (to me) that sleeping on the job and/or reading Slashdot OFF lunch-hours (that's when you know it's bad) was preferable to actually working on my assigned tasks. However, I've had projects that I really enjoyed and ran with them, with excellent results at the end.

      As an aside, if you find that you're not enjoying your gig, try your best to finish on a good note. It really helps make you look more professional in the end, even though most managers expect the worst from their interns (i.e. wasted space). I know I've ended on sour terms with some of my previous managers, and looking back to it, I wish I hadn't. It didn't affect me too much in the grand scheme of things, but it still sucks to look back at those experiences and realize how undesirably they've ended.

      Good luck, and enjoy! (Unless you're gonna be help desk; that's a lost cause. :-p)

      • by xaxa (988988)

        you'll be expected to assist in low-risk projects that should be educational to you, but not be a terribly significant contribution to the company or division overall.

        That's what I did, more or less. In 2007 was paid £18000/year (37.5hr/week, 28 days holiday [inc. public holidays] if anyone cares to work out the hourly rate).

        I worked for a major electronics company. The main project was adding some functionality to a demonstration IPTV set-top box. I learnt loads, not least because the project was far larger than anything I'd done up to that point at university. I was implementing an "open" specification (TV-Anytime) as it was being developed, and the conversations

    • by panaceaa (205396)

      +1 on $8/hour just being strange. I started out at a $10/hour internship doing computer graphics and Perl programming 12 years ago, then $15/hour doing coding for a GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR two years later. Now that I work for a "major software company", we'd be caught dead paying interns less than $25/hour because we want them to by happy and come back! This economy is a huge stumbling block, though, so maybe you're lucky with what you get. But at $8/hour I think you're not actually getting an IT position

      • 12 years ago people were paid $80k a year to do Microsoft front page work and call them selfs computer programmers.

        Second location location location.

        $25 an hour is a good rate for people with 5-6 years experience in upstate NY While just 2 hours south in NYC the rate is closer to $50 an hour. But the cost of living is much different too For $25 an hour in upstate NY you can buy yourself a 3 bedroom about 2000 sq/ft house with a good amount of land which is in extremely good condition. In NYC for the sam

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      For what it's worth, I was making more than that ($9/hr) during an internship with the local university in high school (my junior year). IBM has a standard formula for interns that should get you around $15-$25/hr or so.
  • by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:40AM (#30363350)

    And have worked here about 2.5 years now, including my year as an intern. It was alot of fun, and I learned an immense amount.

    Plain and simple, kiss your bosses ass. If your lucky enough to be liked, you may end up getting a job offer when your hired, and in this economy, you'd be considered lucky.

    Expect to be doing alot of grunt work. Your coworkers are going to use you as a "gopher". Don't take it personally, but also be insistant on wanting to learn their jobs, not just get their coffee. Alot of people are going to be afraid to give you an indepth look at what they do, their afraid if someone else knows their job, they'll be fired. This not much you can really do about it, besides just pick up what you can from the sidelines.

    Be outgoing, and don't slack. If that means working through lunch everyday, it'll be worth it in the end when you come away with a better knowledge of whats going on.

    Try to ask intelligent questions. You'll catch people off guard and look alot more intelligent by asking "How could I use cat and grep in order to do..." instead of "Whats grep?"

    • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:07AM (#30363478) Homepage
      I would broadly agree, but I would personally advise against kissing the bosses ass. Any boss you have to kiss the ass of to succeed isn't a boss worth working for.
      A good boss will be happy if you (or any employee) work diligently for the COMPANY, not just the boss personally. This means sometimes professionally disagreeing with the boss, and letting him know that (politely!). This has worked very well for me before, but of course YMMV.
      As for paying attention and learning what you can. thats excellent advice. I have turned a year working in warehouses (forklift driving, general box shifting) into valuable career experience just by looking around, asking questions and taking everything in. Good bosses will recognise when you are doing this, and appreciate evidence of you having done this before in any job.
      I know theres a lot of "a good boss.." in this post and I am aware that there are thousands of abysmal bosses out there, but the bad ones are the ones to avoid working for whenever possible. IMO Its better for your career (in the long run) and sanity to work in some hypothetical burger joint on $6/hr for a GOOD boss than somewhere on $60,000 for an asshole who won't let you get any useful experience under your belt or otherwise let you progress.
      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        A good boss will be happy if you (or any employee) work diligently for the COMPANY, not just the boss personally. This means sometimes professionally disagreeing with the boss, and letting him know that (politely!). This has worked very well for me before, but of course YMMV.

        Agreed. A good boss won't care, as long as you make something better.

        During my (engineering) internship, I was building and troubleshooting a new-technology demonstration board. My boss had created the schematic and board artwork already, I was in charge of turning that into a working circuit (manufactured, assembled, and working).

        Because he expected me to do the work, he had missed several things that I needed to fix. About two months in, I was having significant issues with the power supply (the impo

      • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @09:52AM (#30364432) Homepage

        IMO Its better for your career (in the long run) and sanity to work in some hypothetical burger joint on $6/hr for a GOOD boss than somewhere on $60,000 for an asshole who won't let you get any useful experience under your belt or otherwise let you progress.

        If the latter is per year. If it's per hour you can paint me in lipstick and call me Sue if that makes you happy.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:14AM (#30363508)

      I disagree with most of this guy's advice.

      First off, if you want to be outgoing and "kiss your boss's ass", for goodness' sake don't work through lunch. Lunch with your coworkers is your most valuable tool in getting to know them and, more importantly, making sure they get to know you.

      If people keep using you as a "gopher" and keep fighting you while you're trying to learn, report this to your advisor and ask him what to do about it. If it keeps up, leave and get a decent internship elsewhere. The best way to prevent this is to make sure, in advance, it's clear what your responsibilities are. If you don't get any responsibilities of your own, that's a big red flag right there.

      Don't worry too much about not asking dumb questions, or making your questions sound more intelligent than they really are (whatever that means). You're an intern, nobody expects you to know everything. Do some research on your own if your question is about general tools like cat and grep, but if you need to ask a question, just go ahead and ask it. Chances are it's not as dumb as you think it is.

      Finally, I'd say you should probably determine in advance which is your primary goal: learn stuff, or get a job offer. If all you're interested in is the latter, then sure, kiss your boss's ass. I'd say your primary goal should be the former; if you actually learn something from your internship and perform well, people will notice and the job offer will arrive on its own without too much ass-kissing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nine-times (778537)

        I agree with you to an extent, but I think the grandparent post had a good sense of "don't be a a crybaby" that I agree with. Here's what you have to keep in mind: yes, you're there to learn, but everyone else there is trying to get things done. As the intern, you're pretty unimportant and you're low man on the totem, so be prepared to put up with some kind of crap work. It's not an insult if people expect you to show up on time and work. Be friendly, sociable, eager to work, adaptable. Don't be afraid

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      "Plain and simple, kiss your bosses ass. If your lucky enough to be liked..."

      Rubbish, be yourself. If you're an arse kisser then kiss arse, if not then don't.
      • Ok, maybe I should rephrase what I was trying to say.

        I'm not necessarily saying he should brownnose. But try to get on his good side, and if this means picking a crap job over a cake job, then do it. Make yourself visible. The majority of managers don't see the guy that sits in the corner and makes beautiful code, but the guy sweating and working they think is working his butt off.

        • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:44AM (#30363660) Journal

          But try to get on his good side, and if this means picking a crap job over a cake job, then do it. Make yourself visible. The majority of managers don't see the guy that sits in the corner and makes beautiful code, but the guy sweating and working they think is working his butt off.

          But never ever leave doing that once you've got the place in. It's not just about visibility and working your ass off. It's about making your management know you're the man and actually intelligent, can contribute in better ways and are more suitable for more intelligent jobs. Many times taking the crap jobs and kissing ass will do just the opposite, it will show you're not really that. And if you were intelligent and worth the good jobs, why would you be taking the crap non-intelligent jobs all the time?

        • I was a boss for many years, I was the one who picked who got cake and who got the shit sandwich. Most of all I appreciated people who cheerfully and efficiently did either, I didn't care half as much as to how they did it.
        • Make yourself visible. The majority of managers don't see the guy that sits in the corner and makes beautiful code, but the guy sweating and working they think is working his butt off.

          Again, this is one of those pieces of advice that applies differently in different places. I didn't do an internship, but a lot of people here did. I'm one of those who sat in the corner writing beautiful code rather than making a big song-and-dance about what they were doing. When it came to put all the software components through acceptance testing, it was noticed that my component was the only one that went through testing first time with only a couple of minor fixes to be made - every other component f

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dzafez (897002)
      Oh yes and make yourself a list on how everybody likes his coffee.

      First thing in the morning make sure everyone et a cup before asking.

      It might help to be there a little early.

      Get a little rolling bolster, so delivering coffee will be easier.

      It might be funny for your co-workers, if you get a little starbucks cap.
    • by MrCrassic (994046)

      Plain and simple, kiss your bosses ass. If your lucky enough to be liked, you may end up getting a job offer when your hired, and in this economy, you'd be considered lucky.

      So basically your advocacy is that this kid acts desperate on the job because the economy sucks and he's already hopeless? If you don't enjoy your job, then why help another person join your boat?

      Don't ever "kiss ass." Ask the stupid questions (trust me; the team you'll be working with is expecting them by the dozen. They only hope that you'll get it eventually...). Have lunch with your coworkers AT LEAST ONCE to see if they're a good fit for you. Having a good set of coworkers can make bad jobs good and go

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:44AM (#30363374) Homepage Journal
    The reason why payment is important for IT people is because your pay is proportional to how interesting your job is. Academia excepted. If you are only paid $8/hour, expect to keep doing $8/hour tasks. Like brewing coffee, boring testing work and stuff like that. On the other hand if you were paid $80/hour, you wouldn't have to do any of that because your time would be way to expensive to be wasted on such menial tasks.
    • by EEDAm (808004) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:04AM (#30363462)
      It is for IT people but it's not really relevant here. He's going in for an internship in the middle of a huge recession so he's gonna make $8 an hour. Fairly meh but so what - there are plenty of people doing 'internships' for free just to get the xp. When you're an intern - be bright, enthusiastic and don't mind mucking in menial tasks ALL THE TIME. The attitude of the intern is a huge consideration of how we see our interns and whether we feel like having them back in full time employ. Everyone will be bright(ish) but you have no practical xp to trade yet so attitude and approach count for an awful lot. It may sound trite but if I had one piece of advice to any intern and anyone in their first 5, hell for the *rest* of their careers, it would be this.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MrCrassic (994046)

        Counterpoint: Most of the folks in my school that are going into IT are still getting the $18+/hour salaries I got before the economy really tanked, with some making $25+/hour. Depends on your network and who's helping you.

    • by mark99 (459508) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:12AM (#30363498) Journal

      Not completely true. The most interesting jobs (high tech dev) don't pay anywhere as well as commerical dev crap.

      Sigh.

    • Nope. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jotaeleemeese (303437)

      Sys Admin jobs in banks are very boring. But you earn more than most IT people.

      Research jobs are very interesting (I was tangentially involved in some in my early years) but you are paid peanuts.

      At the end you have to use common sense, be realistic about what you want and be willing to compromise in some aspects in order to achieve what you want (if you want money don't whine about a well paid albeit boring job).

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      I'll be completely honest, I'd be happy that I was getting anything for an internship. In a good internship situation, you're getting paid by the knowledge of the paid employees. In most cases, it's costing the company money to have their employees sit down and train you and you're more than likely getting in their way when you're shadowing them. $8/h is a nice "thank you, quit your part time college job and just stay here." Never expect to make real money with an internship because, until you've been i

  • You made the right choice. What can you expect? Fun And Games, Every Day [ntk.net].
    • I started reading these before I got into IT. In fact, I blame them for my interest.

      The reality is much different. My boss is a woman, I don't have access to a bulk eraser conveniently small enough to fit on my desk, let alone within a Yellow Pages, and that remote control wheelchair thing ended badly when I realised I'd used the 2.4GHz spectrum for the command codes; Apparently, the local 3G mobile (2100MHz) handshake initiation packet is also the control for "Increase speed 4%, left 40 degrees." That sou
  • Expect to be told to stop all that substituting letters for numbers crap.

    P.S. What is pateper?

  • by dzafez (897002) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:50AM (#30363412) Homepage
    Dude,

    read Dilbert [dilbert.com] to get more insight into the Industry then you ever wanted.
    Also you may want do have a look at Userfriendly [userfriendly.org], Hackles [hackles.org] and early Reallifecomics [reallifecomics.com].

    Maybe all this wisdom can help you picture, where you are going.

    For your Internship, be ready to be the *** of the Company.

    Do not stop looking for more internship opportunities.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:58AM (#30363432) Journal
    ...is that typical? Here in Oz the federally mandated minimum hourly rate for any worker is roughly $12.50US/hr.
    • Florida (Orlando) here, $7.25/hr.

      That being said, an $8/hr intership is right next to a face slap. I made $10 doing dishes, and $12-$13 (underpaid, friends made 18) at my first internship.

      • by WCMI92 (592436)

        Florida (Orlando) here, $7.25/hr.

        That being said, an $8/hr intership is right next to a face slap. I made $10 doing dishes, and $12-$13 (underpaid, friends made 18) at my first internship.

        It's this sort of attitude that I've found common as the "millennials" apply for internships. I've been an IT professional for 16 years now, and I started at the bottom, raw, and learned from experienced people when I started. I didn't make $10/hr, nor even $8. Expect to be "underpaid" as an intern because most of your compensation isn't in money, it's in invaluable experience. You will learn more in a month on a real job than you will in years in a classroom.

        Back when I started, they didn't have IT deg

        • I'm sorry if I've given you the impression that I didn't like the job that I had, or would have rather quit. You take what you can get, of course. The 'underpaid' comment was just to show I was below the median for undergraduates at the time. I had to start at the bottom as well (writing buttonology code for gui apps, doing/restoring backups, and version management), and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

          I still feel as though $8/hour is low, however. Current fliers on campus advertise (to IT and Enginee

    • In this economy employers can pay whatever they want because there are more than enough unemployed professionals of every variety to immediately fill any gaps left by disgruntled employees.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:58AM (#30363436)

    That's what happened to me. I eventually quit and went into health care; still do IT work on a volunteer basis. I now make good money but seeing misery all the time is beginning to have an effect on me.

    Folks, you never know there is tons of suffering till you are working in a hospital. At that point you praise God for what you have.

  • I've had friends who interned at a lot of different companies. I know someone who interned at IBM and got treated like a clerical temp, despite being two years into his masters. I know a couple of people who interned at Apple and said they learned more in six months than they had in four years of college.

    -jcr

    • by Nursie (632944)

      I've heard of graduate software folks at big blue not being allowed to touch code for years also. I'd recommend starting out in a smaller company without so many rules and procedures, then later finding more money at a large corp (if you're not going to start your own venture), when you've proven yourself.

      • by jcr (53032)

        Hmm. I had assumed it was just the particular group that the person who told me about it happened to join. I didn't know that was a company-wide problem at IBM.

        -jcr

        • by Nursie (632944)

          Maybe we've heard from the same group? Who knows.

          Either way, I'd recommend (if you think you're a hot-shot) going to a smaller place where you can play fast and loose with hierarchy and roles for a while, the rigid structure of the big players is not, IMHO, a good way to get ahead fast.

  • I really have to wonder about the pay level. I can still remember what my first intership paid: $7.37 an hour -- in 1986.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @09:43AM (#30364350) Homepage

      Actually, thanks to the recession, you have thousands of young people paying search firms to get into internship programs that pay $0 an hour (for instance, this story [nytimes.com]).

      As I wrote in to a magazine recently, the interesting thing about the recession is that it started for young people long before the housing crash in 2008. Wages were dropping like a rock for our parents too, but they could keep afloat with home equity loans until the entire system unravelled. 20-somethings, on the other hand, almost never have a home of their own and thus no home equity. The best the new BA grads could manage was to use grad school as a way to delay entering the real world, and a strikingly high percentage of them have done just that, running up massive student loans in the process.

  • Enjoy getting coffee and moving heavy equipment.

  • by acehole (174372) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:12AM (#30363494) Homepage

    ...and you're tied to that post in the middle of the office with everyone baying for blood about their lack of access to youtube or joke emails and you're about to receive the cat 'o nine tails, make sure you take up the offer of hard leather or wood to bite down on.

  • Minimum pay here is €8.65 (=$10-$12) per hour. It's a bit like a football apprentice. Hundreds start, but few make the top team. Use whatever chances you get to shine, and learn stuff. Some come through, most go away. Learn to lick ass. Try not to have the breakdown before you're 30. Keep your eye on job ads.
  • Learn! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:15AM (#30363514)

    I had an internship at one of the National Labs (think Los Alamos/Laurance Livermoor). I was exposed to more in my first week on the job than I had been with two years of schooling. If you work in a data center, your main job will be running cables. That is just how it is going to be. When you aren't running cables, talk to people, find out if there is anything you can help with. Make informed comments, google what your peers are talking about, and if you can find papers that they've written....READ THEM. Soak up as much as you can, that is why you personally are there is to learn. On their end, yes you are are the lowest paid member of their staff and will be doing the dirty jobs.

  • You will start with resetting tripped fuses. If you are lucky they will permit you to refill paper trays in printers.... 5 years after... you will switch from OSPF configuration to BGP, you will have a cubicle that is closer to younger generation of engineers, who are members of your preferred opposite gender... another five years after that... you will switch to marketing or sales, probably under the pretense of a technical advisor, than it would stuck....
    my suggestions:
    1) read some a.s.r. (unfortunately
  • In-n-Out (California burger place) pays more than that for entry level restaurant staff!

    There better be some spectacular benefits in what you get to work on, opposite sex (whichever that is) opportunities, something ... at your place.

  • $8/hr !?!!?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DiSKiLLeR (17651) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:28AM (#30363564) Homepage Journal

    $8/hr !?!!?!

    Have things really gotten THAT BAD in the US??? Wow...

    • Re:$8/hr !?!!?! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:44AM (#30363662)

      Interships really vary in pay.

      I applied for several a few years ago when I was a junior in college.

      Many payed 10-12$ an hour doing crap work. Others payed the better part of $20 and were still crap work.
      Really depends on the company and the level of student they expect to get in.

      I was 2.5 years in my college degree when I applied at a computer shop as an intern, this was in 2007. They offered me $4 an hour, UNDER THE TABLE. I laughed, grabbed my resume back out of the bosses hands and walked out. That was half of what minimum wage was.

      • Interships really vary in pay.

        I applied for several a few years ago when I was a junior in college.

        Many payed 10-12$ an hour doing crap work. Others payed the better part of $20 and were still crap work.
        Really depends on the company and the level of student they expect to get in.

        I was 2.5 years in my college degree when I applied at a computer shop as an intern, this was in 2007. They offered me $4 an hour, UNDER THE TABLE. I laughed, grabbed my resume back out of the bosses hands and walked out. That was half of what minimum wage was.

        That's because internships are similar to slave labor. Yes, you may gain experience or at the very least can list job experience on your resume, but the reality is that company A or University B is really paying on the cheap. If you don't think your time is more valuable, no one else will either. Even for an internship or starting position.

    • by Ma8thew (861741)
      Bear in mind that a lot of internships are unpaid.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The way I see it, if your time is worth no more than $8 an hour, then knock yourself out. Just another reason I'm getting out of this field, there's just too many people in it who do not value their own time.

  • by anerki (169995)

    In Belgium all Bachelor IT studies have an intership in the last half year or year before graduating.

    They're unpaid, though included in your schooling so no harm done there. In most of the cases the interns are hired as full employees. For companies this just is common sense. They shorten the official trial period a new employee has to go through by the duration of the intership.

    The company where I work now I was able to get promoted a year before schedule, and since I worked here 3 interns were hired as em

  • Well, at minimum you can expect to learn how to make a damn good cup of tea or coffee.

  • Ok, the subject is cheesy, but if my point were not to be assimilated, would that be fair?

    Anyway, it's not really my point. I had my question published a few weeks ago under a "Leaving the IT field" and there were more responses in that post than in the week preceding it...

    I've been doing some thinking that maybe a huge chunk of us unhappy IT workers are in need of a drastic lifestyle overhaul or at the very least some anti-anxiety or anti-depressant prescription.

    Poster: figure out what you want out of IT f

  • - Doing your boss' daily quests on WoW
    - Leveling his/her level 80 characters
    - Pre-raid time prep (getting required pots, enchants, et)c
    - Tanking his/her wife/husband while he/she is raiding

  • by snaz555 (903274)

    As a CS student I think you should focus on product development, not IT. You absolutely should intern at a technology company whose main focus is products - and whose _customers_ may include IT departments. You won't be paid a whole lot, but the tasks you get will also be very simple, relatively speaking, and while they may be important, once taken care of you'll have plenty of time to poke around with whatever interests you. You may be asked to say add an option to a compiler, tweak a kernel build, or a

    • by elnyka (803306)

      As a CS student I think you should focus on product development, not IT. You absolutely should intern at a technology company whose main focus is products - and whose _customers_ may include IT departments. You won't be paid a whole lot, but the tasks you get will also be very simple, relatively speaking, and while they may be important, once taken care of you'll have plenty of time to poke around with whatever interests you. You may be asked to say add an option to a compiler, tweak a kernel build, or add data gathering and instrumentation - things that the other developers would like to have but don't find time to do themselves. If in the process you find something you think might make an interesting project by all means suggest it, chances are you'll get to go do it, unless it seems overly ambitious to the extreme.

      ^^^ Yes, yes and yes to this.

  • Though I worked throughout college, my sole internship was very well paid. I made approximately $30/hour plus housing stipend. This was working in technology at a financial firm. Companies who value technology are willing to pay for it. Never forget that.

  • by pcardno (450934) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:30AM (#30363862) Homepage

    At my work (3M - number 7 on here: http://www.ratemyplacement.co.uk/ [ratemyplacement.co.uk]), we get our IT interns to generally come in and do support / content management related activities to begin with, but with the expectation that they'll move beyond that after 2-3 months and then spend 20-40% of their time doing project work equivalent to what a new graduate / any other employee would do. In recent years we've had interns working on developing website translation software that they proposed themselves (saving us several hundred thousand dollars per year), software license management / reduction and loads of other things.

    Find out from the company at the start whether they're expecting you to have an open-ended project activity or whether you really are just the tea boy / doing incident management / desktop support. Emphasise to them that the internship you're looking for is a key part of your education and also your decision as to whether you would consider a graduate position with them. Companies spend a fortune on recruiting grads, so if we can just hire the interns we've had once they've graduated, it saves us time, money and potentially the disaster of hiring an unknown who turns out to be useless.

  • I'm not writing this just to take a contrary position.

    I've been around and while, and around the IT scene a while. (understatements)

    Internship is just a way to get some loser for peanuts, while not being bound by any of the regular employment Law.

    If you work for 8 bucks and hour then 8 bucks an hour is all you are worth.

    Go to Burger King, the money is better, and you will at least have some hope of persuading a future employer that...

    a/ you have some self respect.

    b/ you will work hard for money, you will no

    • Go to Burger King, the money is better, and you will at least have some hope of persuading a future employer that...

      a/ you have some self respect.

      b/ you will work hard for money, you will not eat shit for money.

      As someone who hires professional people, seeing Burger King (or practically any fast food experience) on a resume gets put in the circular file for anything but the most special cases. Working as an intern for a recognizable name in business is far more valuable. I don't know about you, but I rarely see salaries/wages listed on resumes, and any summer job before you graduate is going to be some kind of internship. People who look at resumes know this, whether it's listed as "intern" or not. I sure as hel

      • I let a senior engineer go last year because - after six months on the job - he'd brought in a grand total of $2000 in new business.

        What is this business model you operate, where Senior Engineers are expected to function as salespersons?

  • ...to shut up and get me my coffee.
  • the most valuable learning experiences i had starting out were when someone took me under their wing. my first job was a contract for a major sporting goods company. a hired gun who also contracted but had his project delayed said, "we are going to take every case in the problem queue and work them together." this was not his job - he was happy to teach me, and boy did i learn.

    at my next job, a guru who seemed to know everything from midrange to programming, netware, microsoft and telephony taught me occasi

  • "...You'll do shitwork, scan, crack copyrights..."

    Sorry, this post screamed for a bad quote from a bad movie.

  • "I'm in college and working towards my Bachelors in Computer Science. Last year I passed both my CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications and now have been offered (via a staffing company) a full-time Internship at a wireless lab of a major laptop manufacturer. The pay is going to be around $8 an hour full-time but that is not my primary motivator. I'm considering this significant decrease in pay from my previous (non-IT) job to be counterbalanced by what valuable knowledge I may gain both in the technical aspects and industry insight while I finish school. This field is all new to me and I don't personally know anyone who has worked in it before who will give me their honest opinions on it. Although I know circumstances differ greatly, in general, what can I expect as an IT Intern? What have been your experiences?"

    $8/hr is still kinda low, even for an intern doing IT work, but still. Learn as much as you can, even if it means devoting more hours to learning after your daily work is done. Having said that, this is all assuming that there is a chance to learn the nitty gritty details of Unix/Windows administration, laying out networks, troubleshooting production problems (and if you are lucky, learning shell/perl/powershell programming and setting up cron/database jobs, schedule remote user/software updates, setting up

  • I don't know anyone who's had an internship lately for under $15/hr in the computer science field. Most internships are looking for long-term hires and they shell out more money than you're really worth to get you interested in them. 8/hr sounds like those slave labor campus painting jobs were they call it an internship so naive chumps will work them.

    How much have you looked around? I've never (in the past 3 years) had trouble finding an internship and see plenty of job prospects. I'm sure you could fi
  • I think $8 per hour puts you in the category of "working poor", and I expect that you can do better. I was making > $13 as an intern doing Windows Client->Server setups in 1996-1997. We basically created a "test" network with some data and application servers and a few clients. Then, when everything was working, we created a production environment and went around standardizing the software and settings on all of the clients. At the time I had no credentials or certifications other than good grade

  • We have non-certified help desk technicians making twice that. My god have things gotten that bad?
  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @09:55AM (#30364468) Homepage Journal

    Day 1 you'll likely have to spend several hours scrubbing an executive's PDA to ensure that his wife doesn't find out he's banging two fo the gals in accounting and marketing. He'll then berate you on how slow and useless you are.

    Day 2 you'll likely spend 4 hours in a vendor meeting listening to your boss and the sales rep talk about where they want to go golfing and setting up a "tech demo" in that city. He'll promptly buy whatever nonsense the sales rep is hawking with a wink and a "Happy Ending" to the deal.

    Day 3 you'll sit in a meeting with senior management bitching about costs and how worthless the IT\MIS department is and how they need to outsource to cut costs.

    Day 4 You'll either start drinking or smoking to cope with the sheer amount of bullshit.

    Day 5 if your smart you quit, if you are an idiot you'll spend 10 years doing IT work then finally quit.

    Day 6 You've joined the dumb-ass catagory and decided to stick with it. You'll be asked to set up a Squid proxy solution so a smarmy ass-hat of a manager can try and find reasons to fire the three people that actually work so her neice can get one of the three now vacant jobs. You'll spend hours pouring through log files after hours trying to find a single inapporpriate web site so they can fire some people.

    Day 7 You'll notice there isn't a mention of a weekend. That is because you will be stuck in a telco-closet tone testing wires and labeling thousands of connections because the wiring contractors never labeled anything because it is one of the executives cousins business that got the job so at Christmas Mr. Exec get 1/2 the profits from the job in his stocking...

    Only an idiot or someone into S&M gets into IT anymore. Go work at Burger King, the co-workers are nicer, the manager are at least honest when it comes to treating you like cattle, and there is better career advancement.

    Otherwise get ready to be treated like a fucking pesant, at least that's the general feel here in MN.

  • The only smart thing you said is that pay is not your primary motivator for an internship. I made very little as an intern, but if it were not for my wife and my son, I would gladly go back to the same pay for the work I was doing.

    Though before you think about acting on that, you should know that it sounds like you're getting a really raw deal. At my position, I started at $10/hour in 2004 ($12 in 2005), and I got to do some really fun projects. The entire time I was there, I would work about 3 hour
  • By me, that is.

    All the interns under my command have been treated extraordinarily well. If you are a nerd/geek and are willing to pitch in and have an open ear to my/our advice you'll have the time of your life working on the crew. Our current intern is just across the hall right now sitting with our two server programmers and enjoys treatment as an equal by all. Up to the point that the team requested he join in on the Sprint Retrospective, which I, Scrum Master, actually didn't think necessary. It wasn't

  • Keep looking! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot@@@danielthompson...net> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:01AM (#30364532) Homepage
    You're getting a bachelor's in CS, so why in the world would you want to work IT? There is a huge difference between programming and IT work. IT guys administer servers, troubleshoot workstations, fix network issues, replace busted hardware, and so on. Programmers create the software that the company sells to make money. Think about that and what it implies for a second. You're not going to use your CS degree in an IT job. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on IT; both IT guys and programmers are invaluable to a company... I just don't understand why you would waste a CS degree doing what amounts to grunt work for nothing. Given that you've invested the time, money, and mental effort to get a CS degree, I think you'll find something with the words "software", "programmer", "coder", and/or "architect" in the job title/description to be much more rewarding for you financially, professionally, and creatively.
  • lol when I started there were no interns. If you knew how to load a driver with config.sys and connect DOS/Win 3.11 to a network, you had a full time job. If you didn't you got someone to show you how. That being said, I was earning 32k at my first "IT" job and my salary went up drastically every year and I didn't know squat. However, I knew more than most others they could find. My previous job before my IT job, as a OS/2-powered controls tech, paid 24k, which is ~$12 an hour and I walked in knowing Commod

  • by sarkeizen (106737) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:12AM (#30364638) Journal
    Look I'm going to be frank here...lots of places put CS people on helpdesk, or on tickets - which is just the programmers helpdesk ;-).

    If you want to impress me, come up with an idea that will improve something in a noticeable way. i.e. A script that avoids one of the more time consuming problems we have. Write a proof of concept on your own time. Then show it to me. On my team this would easily earn you a written recommendation and I would certainly give preference to you on subsequent work-terms. If I had an entry-level position - you'd also be a first round candidate. Even if your boss *does* none of those things - at least you have something with tangible results that you've done for a IT firm which you can put on your resume.
  • Your making 8$ and hour, but I wouldn't be surprised if the staffing company was charging 20$ for you.

    Like anything, the money is made by the middle man - avoid them at all costs.. (or become one)

  • Abuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Avatar8 (748465) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:55AM (#30365230)
    As an intern you will be asked to do numerous, trivial, non-IT related tasks by customers, managers and your peers/leads. You will undoubtedly be the victim of several jokes at your lack of knowledge. ("Go find the token ring that fell out of the ethernet." "Go download the internet to her computer.")

    My suggestions, other than seek another industry, is to read, read, read, shoulder surf your leads and build your own test box(es) to play with.

    I've been in IT nearly 26 years. I started as "the computer guy" at an optometry in my home town. It consisted of one PC and three dumb terminals running off that. I then sold electronics at Sears while I was in college (not for IT degree) and played with computers on the side. I then worked at a computer rental shop where we simply loaded OSes and wiped computers as they came and went. Finally I landed a desktop support job, tailed/helped the server guys in my spare time and then had enough experience to become a server administrator. Now I've specialized in Windows and VMware. I like where I work, but I hate the lack of satisfaction of my job. I came into IT for the technical work, the challenge of figuring out problems and to not deal with people. Now my job is 90% administrative - planning changes, talking with 12 different teams/managers to get approvals, documentation so managers understand what is happening - about 2 weeks' of clerical work, all so I can do 1hour of actual work late at night or on the weekend as I miss time with my family.

    Point is you are starting down a long road. If you are willing to take on extra work constantly, continually read current and new technology, constantly study and test for certifications, you might be in a comfortable position in 5-7 years.

    If you have any family or social life, add 5 years to this as IT is designed for single people with no lives. It helps if you can pack light and depart for travel quickly. It also helps if you can survive on 2 hours of sleep a day.

    If I had it to do all over again, I'd go into carpentry, cooking or health care. Anything but IT.

  • by Eskarel (565631) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:33AM (#30365748)
    they're too short term.

    Back when I was in university, the engineering department used to offer their students(and some of the CS students as well) the ability to take a semester at 1 credit and still maintain full time status(so you didn't lose health insurance or start having to pay back student loans). I think they were called co-ops or something like that. Essentially you'd work a summer and one semester for a company. That meant you weren't buggering off by the time you actually learned how to do the job and so you got paid fairly reasonably and actually learned something. They were actually a graduation requirement for the engineering students. I didn't do any personally, but I know a lot of people who did and found a lot of value in it.

    There are some fairly decent internships, but you've got to be fairly careful. Companies generally won't get any real value out of an intern(which is why interns in most disciplines work for free), and so only a company which is really serious about investing in students will give you anything worthwhile to do(since it'll cost them money and productivity).

    Add to that the fact that A+, Network+ and CompTIA are basically meaningless certs that a monkey could pass(no offfense), and you've probably just landed yourself an underpaid stint on the help desk. Maybe you've been lucky, but an internship will only help your future if you do something interesting and real with it, or if you can make some contacts for post graduation. If it's not going to do either of those things, enjoy your summer or work at a job which will actually pay you.

  • by crovira (10242) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @11:48AM (#30365970) Homepage

    Abuse?

    Long hours doing the impossible for the unappreciative?

    A view of corporate life from the bottom?

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