The shortage of skilled tech workers has driven recruiters to college campuses, not only for recent graduates, but interns still working on their degrees. High-tech companies are relying more on these interns to help with their day-to-day workload, and are also recruiting them to work full-time after graduation. In addition to gaining valuable work experience, high-tech interns are also pulling down some substantial paychecks.
John Greenagel, AMD's director of strategic communications, said, "Internships are a great way to identify people, and let them get to know us and let us have a chance to evaluate them." A good percentage of AMD's interns stay with the company full-time after they graduate, said Greenagel.
Linda Getting, director of development at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)'s Jack Baskin School of Engineering, works closely with nearby Silicon Valley companies to provide opportunities for students. "We get lots of calls," said Getting. "Many of our students end up working full-time at a company where they've done an internship." One of the biggest advantages of internships, said Getting, is that students "have the opportunity to see a problem through from start to finish, and to work with seasoned, professional engineers. They have an opportunity to learn what it's like in the workplace, to be a member of a team."
One company that makes use of UCSC's interns is Unix vendor Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) -- soon to be renamed Tarantella. At SCO, interns are fully integrated into software development groups and work on the same projects as the rest of the group. SCO spokesperson Jean Brubeck said, "It's a great opportunity for the interns to get a real look into what really goes on in the software development cycle."
What you'll get -- and what you won't
Depending on your field, interning may or may not be financially rewarding, but technology interns bring in some fairly substantial paychecks. "We do not look at interns as a cheap source of part-time work," said Greenagel.
Cisco's internship program pays a competitive salary to both interns and co-op students. Students also accrue paid time off like any other employee, and receive paid company holidays. They aren't eligible for other benefits, however.
SOC pays highly skilled interns between $40,000 to $45,000. Says Brubeck: "The days of unpaid internships or very low-paid internships are long gone."
In addition to your college's placement office and major companies' job listings, check out Career.com's internship page for links to opportunities and other internship information.