Facebook: The Best Internships?

Jun 11, 2012 by

Facebook: The Best Internships?

Most of us have probably experienced the internship from hell. Mine was at the very beginning of my studies, in a magazine published by my university. Nervous and excited, I had been looking forward to being involved in the editorial teamwork, and while I knew that I would probably not see my own byline underneath a headline, I hoped to learn a lot from research assignments or assisting the senior writers.

Instead a big part of my summer was spent in a windowless back room with three copy machines, xeroxing diverse information like crazy in preparation for editorial meetings, which I observed from a chair in a faraway corner. My boss seemed to be obsessed with copies, and her perfectionism in this area had to be admired. After spending two hours one day at the copy machine and then hearing from her that she couldn’t read the print on the copies as it was too small, I quit. Needless to say, the pay wasn’t too impressive.

Indeed, the media industry seems to be a particularly hard one to crack in terms of finding a decent internship. OK, so in my case it was just a university magazine and it doesn’t speak for the overall situation. But according to online internship ratings from the US, you should give a wide berth to Signature Direct Magazine and Cosmopolitan Magazine, to name a few.

These days it looks like if you want a well-paid internship, you need to have a degree in computer science or engineering. Because many companies in these fields are the ones that offer better money. According to a recent report from abcNEWS, Facebook interns receive an average monthly salary of $6,000 or more. The figures were posted on Glassdoor.com, an online career and information-sharing community. Impressive, eh? For comparison, standard internship salaries in Germany revolve around $600 – $750  a month. And you’re lucky if you get that.

Slater Tow, Facebook’s spokesperson, said that the company also has other attractive features for its interns. Facebook “provides them with all the same benefits as normal employees – iPhone, laptop, gym access, three meals a day, all the amenities”. It sounds so good, one almost gets suspicious. But interns at Facebook also talk about their monthly salaries on question and answer forums, such as Quora.com. According to their posts on the site, payment is based on their year in university. In 2012 an anonymous user claimed to be earning $6,200 while being an undergraduate senior. Another post said the user was earning as much as $8,000 a month. The general rule seems to be that the closer a student is to graduating, the higher the salary. Based on other posts on Quora.com, in addition to nice salaries, interns also received a monthly housing stipend of $1,000.

Facebook isn’t the only Internet company offering top salaries. Google interns aren’t doing too bad either. According to the article, the average monthly pay for software engineer interns is $7,000.

The economy isn’t experiencing its best times both in Europe and the US. Not only are long-term jobs hard to find – internships are being battled for by young people in desperate attempts to get a foot in the door and find a secure financial future. Competition is fierce and most students have to prepare themselves for it from the minute they set foot in university. Indeed, sometimes one spends more time mulling over being accepted for an internship than actually enjoying the university years. The situation is such that even unpaid internships, which today aren’t uncommon in various industries, are in demand.

This blogger had the latter experience as well and once was enough. But I took care to get an internship at a concert venue where I got any number of free tickets for any shows of my choice. Those were a fun few months. My friends were a bit sad when that internship ended.

Social media and internet companies will definitely be booming in the future, if statistics about Facebook are any indication, so the demand for engineers and online specialist will most likely only be rising. But take heart, non-computer nerds, hopeful scribblers and everyone who has to turn their laptops off and on again several times a day. All those internet giants will need social media and marketing managers, to name just a few positions, not to mention in-house psychiatrists to help employees deal with the pressure.

Image note: © Giorgio Magini/ istockphoto

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