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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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by business_kid (973043) <business.kid@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:12AM (#30363500)
    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.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:25AM (#30363550) Journal
    "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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:59AM (#30363724)
    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 over 15,000 apps.

    With regard to your job responsibilities as an intern, it depends a lot on your place of work. You could be running cables, you could be doing support tickets, crawling under desks, in the ceiling tiles, or just doing random ass work with power tools since somehow people think if it deals with electricity and at some point has a computer plugged in IT should do it. At my job the students manage all infrastructure and computational equipment. Basically my company believes students are cheap labor, but if you pay them well enough and give them enough learning opportunities they'll work as hard as a professional and just get paid less. For my most recent work term I was earning ~$20/hr, but with no fringe benefits. When I started work 2 years ago (at a different place) I was getting $14 but had a 401k with employer match, (optional) health insurance, and paid vacation. I think my lowest offer was $10 and that was for a small real estate agent. At $8/hr consider whether you really would like this job, whether you're taking it just because they're offering it to you, or whether you just want their name on your resume and you couldn't care less what the wage is. All 3 are perfectly valid reasons to take a job, but if it's the second I'd personally tend towards finding another place.

    See if your school doesn't have a co-op/internship office that will help you find jobs in your field. Our school has a website where you can search jobs and internships for particular semesters and in particular fields. It's incredibly useful when job hunting.
  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@[ ].il ['ema' in gap]> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:18AM (#30363806) Journal

    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 nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @10:39AM (#30365008) Homepage

    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 to get your hands dirty. Don't be an entitled brat.

    But aside from that, yes, get a clear idea of what your responsibilities are, and if people are treating you unreasonably, talk to your supervisor about it. And I also particularly like your thing about "don't worry too much about asking dumb questions." You aren't supposed to know everything yet. If you don't know something and you ask, you'll get an answer and then you'll know. Not-asking just means you'll keep not-knowing.

    And that advice isn't just good for internships. I've seen it happen, even with fairly senior workers, where a good and obvious solution gets ignored because everyone is too afraid to suggest it or ask about it. They assume that, if the obvious solution would work, someone else would have suggested it.

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