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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Who gets tech internships?

"Big tech" internships offer excellent pay, challenging work and valuable networking opportunities, writes Natasha Singer in the New York Times. Many lead to full-time job offers. However, "with sometimes more than 100,000 students applying for just thousands of slots, securing an elite tech internship can be as cutthroat as getting into Harvard."


The story focuses on inequity: Tech firms tend to hire from top-ranked computer science programs and consider recommendations from current employees, writes Singer.


In addition, the selection process is "biased toward students who have more free time to devote to side projects, hackathons and studying for technical interviews — characteristics that conflate privilege with student potential.” said Ruthe Farmer, the founder and chief executive of the Last Mile Education Fund, which helps lower-income students in technical fields complete college degrees.


However, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, Meta, Amazon and other large tech companies have "set up a variety of introductory internship or mentorship programs" usually aimed at "female, Black, Latino and lower-income students," who are under-represented in tech, writes Singer.


Bowie State, a historically black college in Maryland, created its own internship placement service, writes Singer, and now partners with Adobe to place cybersecurity interns.


Unpaid internships, which often provide valuable experience and contacts, do raise equity issues: Lower-income students can't afford to work for nothing, so they miss out. But the fact that the best-prepared candidates are the most likely to get highly sought-after jobs doesn't strike me as inequity, except in the sense that life is unfair.

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5 Comments


Guest
Apr 11, 2023

Many FAANG companies didn't give out raises to staff even if they were in the top performer, exceeds the bar, etc...Interns will find lean pickings in the tech area in 2023

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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Apr 11, 2023

I have worked most of my working like developing FINSEC software and most of internships go to kids from Technical schools- the company I work for now has a steady supply of interns all from 1 school- and those kid are looking for a job there after graduation - One little dispute though- most of the actual work is kind of make work. The internships are 3 months- take a week away while they’re looking for the bathroom and 2 weeks at the end when they’re doing nothing and getting paid for it and there’s not really much time for minimal training plus some of the clients won’t allow them to access their account. But it is a feeder system…

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Guest
Apr 11, 2023

From the article: "Highly coveted software engineering internships at firms like Amazon or Google have been known to pay $24,000 or more for the summer, not including housing stipends. They can also offer compelling intellectual challenges, foster invaluable networking connections and lead to full-time job offers.

With sometimes more than 100,000 students applying for just thousands of slots, securing an elite tech internship can be as cutthroat as getting into Harvard."


I'll note that technical internships at non-FAANG companies often pay their interns well, too. My employer, an equipment vendor in the semiconductor industry, paid our interns around $15,000 for the summer plus money for housing.


Part of the trick here it to realize that with 100,000 students applying for…


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Guest
Apr 11, 2023

Let me understand. Do you imply that private companies have a duty to hire incompetent interns in the name of equity?

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Guest
Apr 11, 2023

With all the tech layoffs happening, the buzz is that there are fewer internships this year to get.


Ann in L.A.

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