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(Orlando Sentinel)   Apparently, some companies are just now realizing interns are stupid   (orlandosentinel.com) divider line 113
    More: Florida, Full Sail University, game development, Central Florida, interpersonal skills, University of Central Florida  
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14285 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Aug 2012 at 12:08 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-16 12:12:48 AM
Um, interns are supposed to be trained. That's why they're interns. If they already knew how to do the job, they would be called 'staff', and you would need to pay them to do it.
 
2012-08-16 12:13:51 AM
No shiat, Sherlock

Why do you think they are interns to begin with?

Because they have no experience
 
2012-08-16 12:14:17 AM
You get what you pay for.
 
2012-08-16 12:14:30 AM
Of course interns are stupid; the whole point is to let them be stupid for less money and without any expectation of long term employment.

The less-stupid interns you give them some real-world humility to encourage them to grow into competent workers, who you now have the inside track on. The more-stupid interns you say goodbye to forever.
 
2012-08-16 12:15:14 AM
Stop hiring interns and offer benefits and you might get a better pool.
 
2012-08-16 12:16:15 AM
Stupid interns. How do they expect to get by? My company only hires interns with doctor in computer science degrees with all relevant certifications and 10 years experience in MYSQL and java.
 
2012-08-16 12:16:23 AM
Full Sail officials said their students must complete 30 to 40 hours a week of lab time working with current technology and software.

That should read Full of Shiate officials...30 to 40 hours A WEEK of lab time? I doubt that.
 
2012-08-16 12:20:00 AM
Well we can't all be born with infinite job experience, now can we.
 
2012-08-16 12:23:37 AM
Magnus

What it means to say is they're scheduled lab time every week where the TA doesn't pay attention to the students who are all screwing around with the same stuff they spend 30 to 40 hours a week doing outside of class anyways so it averages out that way.
 
2012-08-16 12:24:02 AM
They're not saying they expect the interns to walk in and be able to do the job.

They're saying that they can't tell that the interns have learned anything relevant to the career path. That's vastly different.
 
2012-08-16 12:24:59 AM
I work for a large tech company. We budget and hire a large significant number of interns and recent college graduates. Our expectations for interns is that we train them do do productive work. We train them to be successful in a rapidly evolving environment. We see interns as an investment int the future, not a profit center. We, as management, take time to train and mentor, provide a comfortable environment, and low stress. By the end of their one year internship, they are prepared to be productive employees, and not necessarily for my company.
 
2012-08-16 12:25:59 AM
Modern corporations seem to hate paying a cent for employee training, even on proprietary systems or methods that only their employees use. There used to be a good amount of money in doing corporate training, either as an in-house instructor or an outside consultant; it's dried up pretty bad since the 90s.

Just another side effect of the short-sighted fixation on this quarter's numbers.
 
2012-08-16 12:27:20 AM
If you paid them a living wage with health care... where am I going with this?
 
2012-08-16 12:29:23 AM

Harry_Seldon: I work for a large tech company. We budget and hire a large significant number of interns and recent college graduates. Our expectations for interns is that we train them do do productive work. We train them to be successful in a rapidly evolving environment. We see interns as an investment int the future, not a profit center. We, as management, take time to train and mentor, provide a comfortable environment, and low stress. By the end of their one year internship, they are prepared to be productive employees, and not necessarily for my company.


That's pretty cool. I'd love to see more companies take (or restart) that approach.
 
2012-08-16 12:29:59 AM
"I don't think a lot of students know what the expectations are of a company, but UCF has given me the skills to teach myself new programming languages and other tools so I can adapt to what I find in the workplace."

That kid isn't a student, he's a an advertising pamphlet.
 
2012-08-16 12:29:59 AM

Lochsteppe: Modern corporations seem to hate paying a cent for employee training, even on proprietary systems or methods that only their employees use. There used to be a good amount of money in doing corporate training, either as an in-house instructor or an outside consultant; it's dried up pretty bad since the 90s.

Just another side effect of the short-sighted fixation on this quarter's numbers.


Oddly, Starbucks is the place that still champions this effort. Internet reports about how there was even a big argument over getting themselves into Disney theme parks because they insisted that Disney's cast members go through it all and Disney, which used to be gung ho about long training programs, didn't want to waste the training time :P
 
2012-08-16 12:30:55 AM

RollingThunder: They're not saying they expect the interns to walk in and be able to do the job.

They're saying that they can't tell that the interns have learned anything relevant to the career path. That's vastly different.



While you're right, I'd thought that's what a generalist education is supposed to be for. The interns don't spend four years being trained on a lathe press; they learn the mathematical/analytical/scientific background and the basic reasoning tools for thir discipline. Artists learn form and perspective, engineers learn calculus and diffy Q, Scientists learn laboratory work, and programmers learn how a computer works and operates. Anyone with the proper background can then go on to learn photoshop, or AutoCAD, or a spectrum analyzer, or a new programming language, once they learn the basics of how such things are supposed to work.
 
2012-08-16 12:31:39 AM

Sim Tree: Um, interns are supposed to be trained. That's why they're interns. If they already knew how to do the job, they would be called 'staff', and you would need to pay them to do it.


If only companies knew this. It's more like:

Oh shiat job opening, just hire an intern
This guy's pretty good I guess but he doesn't know everything. Eh I guess teach him a little bit. WTF he asked to be paid after 6 months of free work? LOL offer minimum wage. WTF HE LEFT? LOL NO RECOMMENDATION next intern please.
 
2012-08-16 12:32:04 AM
This article doesn't really evaluate interns; it shows the disconnect that has existed for years between academia and business.

Every student who has pursued a computer science education knows the professors take pride in teaching students nothing they need to know in order to work in the field. They cannot do so, as there are too many languages and platforms, and technology changes so fast. Comp Sci professors instead give students a strong foundation to quickly learn whatever they need to learn.

Business, on the other hand, says: "We want students fully trained for years on technology that was released to the public four months ago, and if they don't have three years of experience in technologies less than a year old, then academia is failing students."
 
2012-08-16 12:32:17 AM

almandot: Lochsteppe: Modern corporations seem to hate paying a cent for employee training, even on proprietary systems or methods that only their employees use. There used to be a good amount of money in doing corporate training, either as an in-house instructor or an outside consultant; it's dried up pretty bad since the 90s.

Just another side effect of the short-sighted fixation on this quarter's numbers.

Oddly, Starbucks is the place that still champions this effort. Internet reports about how there was even a big argument over getting themselves into Disney theme parks because they insisted that Disney's cast members go through it all and Disney, which used to be gung ho about long training programs, didn't want to waste the training time :P


How much training does it take to pickup trash off the ground anyhow?
 
2012-08-16 12:32:42 AM

Sim Tree: Um, interns are supposed to be trained. That's why they're interns. If they already knew how to do the job, they would be called 'staff', and you would need to pay them to do it.


Yep - that's a company missing the friggin' point. But, I'm not surprised. The idea of internships has changed from "business working hand-in-hand with education to improve students" to "business working hand-in-hand with education to exploit students." Once schools figured out that they could require internships for graduation, and steer their students towards businesses willing to exploit those students for cheap labor, the system broke.

To their credit, some businesses still treat internships as an educational experience, instead of an exploitational experience, but more and more businesses have cast that kind of long-term thinking aside.

RollingThunder: They're not saying they expect the interns to walk in and be able to do the job.

They're saying that they can't tell that the interns have learned anything relevant to the career path. That's vastly different.


FTA: "We want interns that we can roll into full-time positions, but they're not coming out prepared," Bonaccorso said. "We're an entertainment-based website that's expanding, and local colleges should love to work on our stuff, as we need more tech and social-media people."

Actually, that's exactly what they're saying - the "out" in that sentence refers to the school supplying the interns. They're saying that they want interns that can walk in and be able to do a full-time job.
 
2012-08-16 12:35:18 AM
So...
A guy from some fly-by-night tech company that is too insignificant to off-shore code work is complaining about the quality free labor.

well, you get what you pay for.
 
2012-08-16 12:36:54 AM
Internships are how kids with zero experience or skills get in the door of cool companies.

They are also known as "lucky breaks" or "chances of a lifetime".
 
2012-08-16 12:38:11 AM
As a coder I found these two statements from the same guy kinda curious:

"You can go to class and soak up the information, but getting down to coding is how you will really get how it works."

"The interns who don't make it realize this is not like building a website"


Believe it or not, building a website requires...well...coding. If it does any kind of dynamic presentation, it can require quite a bit of coding. He wants his free labor to know how to code but then when they fail he castigates them by saying it's not like coding a website.

I've mentored one intern once upon a time. Pretty much everything they learned in school during the year was a total waste (at least insofar as the work we were doing). You know what a modulus is and can do Fibonacci sequences? That's nice. How about something useful like writing a conditional database stored procedure insert statement along with a trigger to update another table for certain events? No? Damn, that's a shame.

About the only useful skill I observed from any intern ever was a demonstrated ability to think logically and apply deductive reasoning to business issues that can be solved by electronic automation. Turns out, they functioned better as business analysts than actual coders.
 
2012-08-16 12:40:45 AM

Lochsteppe: Harry_Seldon: I work for a large tech company. We budget and hire a large significant number of interns and recent college graduates. Our expectations for interns is that we train them do do productive work. We train them to be successful in a rapidly evolving environment. We see interns as an investment int the future, not a profit center. We, as management, take time to train and mentor, provide a comfortable environment, and low stress. By the end of their one year internship, they are prepared to be productive employees, and not necessarily for my company.

That's pretty cool. I'd love to see more companies take (or restart) that approach.


I have two interns working on a summer project right now to add some features to a an open source software application we are extending for internal use. I have no expectations that they actually complete anything, but I do expect them to learn how to work, take initiative, and tell me how they are going to attack their problems. I think we pay them $20/hr.

One thing that never gets mentioned about intern value, they provide a situation for us to give management opportunities for our junior level permanent staff, and grow their skills. It is all a process. Our employees really are our most valuable resource.

BTW, I work for one of the top ten tech firms. Think Google, Microsoft.
 
2012-08-16 12:44:47 AM
My interns will totally kick your interns asses at beer pong.
 
2012-08-16 12:47:28 AM

Mensan: Business, on the other hand, says: "We want students fully trained for years on technology that was released to the public four months ago, and if they don't have three years of experience in technologies less than a year old, then academia is failing students."


Coincidentally, I turned down a contract opportunity just this afternoon because of this kind of mindset. They were insisting that I be proficient in a framework I, from the outset, said I had never used (but would be willing to pick up) and that was around a year old. I actually know one of the guys that contributes to the framework project and asked him how long it had been out. The contract wanted 2-3 years...he released it from beta about 12 months ago. Because I lacked a "core skill" the prospective contract was insisting I reduce my rate to compensate for my lack of experience.

My email was professional and polite and declined to take the contract. They emailed back asking me to reconsider. I didn't bother answering.

Point is: too many businesses demand skillsets that sometimes cannot even exist. I have flogged this horse for years on a few tech forums I frequent. It will never change.
 
2012-08-16 12:53:06 AM

studebaker hoch: Internships are how kids with zero experience or skills get in the door of cool companies.

They are also known as "lucky breaks" or "chances of a lifetime".


If the intern is not getting paid and replacing the labor done by an actual employee, it's called "illegal."
 
2012-08-16 12:53:45 AM
I grant that the tech sector is far better at paying interns than other industries, but they are still new at this so don't expect a full prgrammer.

Also, the liberal arts college model might not work for tech. Not that the kids shouldn't learn about the broader world (it aids creativity) but most colleges and universities have layers of administration that make adapting to new technolgoies slower.

That said here is my solution: Apprenticeships

If you want a coder, get a stream lined system of coding training. Don't expect the next Mark Zuckerberg to want to be and intern for you, those people will already be launching their own ventures. Sink some money into coding people, build them up, and hey, maybe they'll appreciate it enough to stick around with the company.
 
2012-08-16 01:01:39 AM
Greedy companies gonna greed.

They want all the money, all the workers, and they don't want to have to pay taxes or salary.
 
2012-08-16 01:03:19 AM

craig328: Mensan: Business, on the other hand, says: "We want students fully trained for years on technology that was released to the public four months ago, and if they don't have three years of experience in technologies less than a year old, then academia is failing students."

Coincidentally, I turned down a contract opportunity just this afternoon because of this kind of mindset. They were insisting that I be proficient in a framework I, from the outset, said I had never used (but would be willing to pick up) and that was around a year old. I actually know one of the guys that contributes to the framework project and asked him how long it had been out. The contract wanted 2-3 years...he released it from beta about 12 months ago. Because I lacked a "core skill" the prospective contract was insisting I reduce my rate to compensate for my lack of experience.

My email was professional and polite and declined to take the contract. They emailed back asking me to reconsider. I didn't bother answering.

Point is: too many businesses demand skillsets that sometimes cannot even exist. I have flogged this horse for years on a few tech forums I frequent. It will never change.


Pointless skillsets, too.

If you have a solid education, you can pick up any of that stuff in a couple of weeks in your free time. I've had formal instruction in exactly one programming language, and that was in high school. Since then, I've learned half a dozen more as I've needed them. Same for laboratory procedures and appllied math techniques (though the math stuff requires a much deeper background to keep it from being nonsense rote learning).

I did some of this while making $7/hour as a undergrad. (Side note: Employers need to stop pretendng that they do people favors when they offer jobs that pay under poverty level with no benefits. I have a nice job now, but these days, it's amazing how many places think $25k is a "fair" salary for someone with an MS.)

Choose an employee with solid experience in a narrow field and you might get someone who can do one thing only. Choose someone who is good at learning and you get someone who effectively has all of the skills the company might need in the future.

Expecting MBAs to get this is probably too optimistic.
 
2012-08-16 01:07:49 AM
you guys are taking this article way too seriously. let me break it down for you: lazy-ass report faces deadline, remembers how a buddy who works for a tech company told him recently that their interns suck, makes a few calls until the anecdote is "corroborated." here's your clue: "some business leaders."no studies cited, no statistics, etc.
 
2012-08-16 01:10:03 AM

NetOwl: Expecting MBAs to get this is probably too optimistic.


Expecting them to get anything but personal profit maximization is a little beyond them.
y.
 
2012-08-16 01:12:33 AM

FormlessOne: Sim Tree: Um, interns are supposed to be trained. That's why they're interns. If they already knew how to do the job, they would be called 'staff', and you would need to pay them to do it.

Yep - that's a company missing the friggin' point. But, I'm not surprised. The idea of internships has changed from "business working hand-in-hand with education to improve students" to "business working hand-in-hand with education to exploit students." Once schools figured out that they could require internships for graduation, and steer their students towards businesses willing to exploit those students for cheap labor, the system broke.

To their credit, some businesses still treat internships as an educational experience, instead of an exploitational experience, but more and more businesses have cast that kind of long-term thinking aside.

RollingThunder: They're not saying they expect the interns to walk in and be able to do the job.

They're saying that they can't tell that the interns have learned anything relevant to the career path. That's vastly different.

FTA: "We want interns that we can roll into full-time positions, but they're not coming out prepared," Bonaccorso said. "We're an entertainment-based website that's expanding, and local colleges should love to work on our stuff, as we need more tech and social-media people."

Actually, that's exactly what they're saying - the "out" in that sentence refers to the school supplying the interns. They're saying that they want interns that can walk in and be able to do a full-time job.


And to complete the sentence, interns are STILL STUDENTS. As in, they're still going to class, taking tests, studying, doing all the other stuff a student does. Law internships and judicial clerkships have their interns doing grunt work and filing motions at the best of them, and grunt work and clerical crap at the worst; but one thing they all remember is what law school was like. Tell your internship you need a week off because you've got a Business Administration final, and they'll be "fine, whatever, go study, see you when you get back." It sounds to me like these businesses are expecting full time workers who have nothing else to do and can't figure why their interns might not be 100% invested in the work during midterms.
 
2012-08-16 01:16:15 AM
To Fry cook, or not to Fry cook, This is the Question!
 
2012-08-16 01:18:09 AM
If you're not paying someone, don't expect too much in the way of effort.
Paid training (the way it used to be) nets better results. Too many corporations take advantage of a sh*t job market by getting desperate young people with no experience to work for free just so they can have something on their resume.
Zero equals zero. You get what you pay for.
 
2012-08-16 01:24:18 AM

ricochet4: you guys are taking this article way too seriously. let me break it down for you: lazy-ass report faces deadline, remembers how a buddy who works for a tech company told him recently that their interns suck, makes a few calls until the anecdote is "corroborated." here's your clue: "some business leaders."no studies cited, no statistics, etc.


Everything doesn't HAVE to have a detailed in-depth multi-million dollar 50-year longitudinal study before someone can offer an opinion on it.
 
2012-08-16 01:25:27 AM

Harry_Seldon: I work for a large tech company. We budget and hire a large significant number of interns and recent college graduates. Our expectations for interns is that we train them do do productive work. We train them to be successful in a rapidly evolving environment. We see interns as an investment int the future, not a profit center. We, as management, take time to train and mentor, provide a comfortable environment, and low stress. By the end of their one year internship, they are prepared to be productive employees, and not necessarily for my company.


Nice presentation, so how does that work out in PRACTICE?
 
2012-08-16 01:27:52 AM
I work for a large investment firm. Apart from me, we are staffed entirely with unpaid interns. I just keep telling them that someday they might make partner.
 
2012-08-16 01:30:28 AM
not all interns are stupid....

take this (not so recent) IIT graduate as an example:

http://www.dilbert.com/fast/2003-09-16/  
www.dilbert.com
 
2012-08-16 01:31:36 AM
I think you people are making light of this, Interns DON'T get Paid and Business Owners are greedy sacks of Donkey Semen!
 
2012-08-16 01:41:29 AM
First off, big difference (jeez, at least I hope) beween programmer interns and other sectors cause .. well, I mean, we pay our interns what you'd get if we hired you out of college, and yes, that includes the heath plan (on top of Canada's healthcare.)

And we get some pretty kick ass interns. Smart hiring is a part of this, but also I get the impression that any tom dick and harry can open a college in the states. Back at university, we used to have some comp-sci stars get paid 5000 to 10000 signing bonuses for signing with MS, or Sonic Foundry, or some of the other big dev houses of the day. But this co-op program was 4 months of school, 4 months of work, not intersection except for an end of work term report on a particular r&d subject or project you worked on. These were companies that understood that if you make the intern like his life at that company, when he graduates, guess who he wants to work for? This is an angle of competition that seems lost on a lot of hack shops.

The base salary for any intern at any company I ever worked at was 40K. I'd tell any student who can't find a living wage in internship that either they're either in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they havn't figured out how to jump off the page to get hired.

I failed out of university, but by that time, I had 2 years of work experience and like a lot of other tech folks speaking out here, if you can't teach yourself a little, school and work won't teach you a lot. Anyone saying you can't get a full programmer out of a first year engineering or comp-sci student is not expecting enough - likely cause they can't pay enough.
 
2012-08-16 01:42:06 AM

rewind2846: If you're not paying someone, don't expect too much in the way of effort.
Paid training (the way it used to be) nets better results. Too many corporations take advantage of a sh*t job market by getting desperate young people with no experience to work for free just so they can have something on their resume.
Zero equals zero. You get what you pay for.


Yep.
 
2012-08-16 01:47:31 AM

fragMasterFlash: My interns will totally kick your interns asses at beer pong.


Not if mine is wearing a low cut v-neck.....unless of course your interns just happen to be gay.
 
2012-08-16 01:48:22 AM

craig328: As a coder I found these two statements from the same guy kinda curious:

"You can go to class and soak up the information, but getting down to coding is how you will really get how it works."

"The interns who don't make it realize this is not like building a website"

Believe it or not, building a website requires...well...coding. If it does any kind of dynamic presentation, it can require quite a bit of coding. He wants his free labor to know how to code but then when they fail he castigates them by saying it's not like coding a website.

I've mentored one intern once upon a time. Pretty much everything they learned in school during the year was a total waste (at least insofar as the work we were doing). You know what a modulus is and can do Fibonacci sequences? That's nice. How about something useful like writing a conditional database stored procedure insert statement along with a trigger to update another table for certain events? No? Damn, that's a shame.

About the only useful skill I observed from any intern ever was a demonstrated ability to think logically and apply deductive reasoning to business issues that can be solved by electronic automation. Turns out, they functioned better as business analysts than actual coders.


Schools have gotten better at the practical side of it, but I'd still argue that a good foundation in math is what lets, let's say, a database programmer know why the query he or she just wrote will be slow as shiat. But it's hard to fault students for not running linux/mysql at home for fun or not having a commercial license for [insert enterprise db solutions here]. As in, I think you'd be stupid to look to comp-sci students for database grunt work.
 
2012-08-16 01:51:31 AM

Bondith: "I don't think a lot of students know what the expectations are of a company, but UCF has given me the skills to teach myself new programming languages and other tools so I can adapt to what I find in the workplace."

That kid isn't a student, he's a an advertising pamphlet.


That also sounds like exactly the sort of shiat people spout at job interviews.
 
2012-08-16 01:52:14 AM

Ambivalence: Harry_Seldon: I work for a large tech company. We budget and hire a large significant number of interns and recent college graduates. Our expectations for interns is that we train them do do productive work. We train them to be successful in a rapidly evolving environment. We see interns as an investment int the future, not a profit center. We, as management, take time to train and mentor, provide a comfortable environment, and low stress. By the end of their one year internship, they are prepared to be productive employees, and not necessarily for my company.

Nice presentation, so how does that work out in PRACTICE?


It works out as it is supposed to work. We provide them a 3 - 18 months of employment doing entry level type work. They go off, and start their careers or continue education. Then we invite the next group based on needs and budget.

We recently had a group of interns working on their Ph.d. doing ground breaking wireless networking stuff I can't even begin to understand. I had another group finish doing validation work, and they learned how a brand new product gets tested and ready for market. I got a couple working on extending features to a prototype tracking system. I am looking to budget a few for next calendar year to create some source code management administration wrappers.

I actually look for projects that are suitable for interns, not hire interns to do work. We have wide discretion on what we do with interns, but my goal is to make it a valuable experience for them, and frankly, it keeps me connected as we hand over work to a new generation.

Believe, or not, there are people who care, and do the right thing, and understand that we have to propagate the corporation's profitability.

I am just fortunate to be at one of the top tier of good companies on job satisfaction surveys.

However, we still have many of the same issues in getting experienced people, and filling jobs that require very technical, or niche skills. Oregon is clearly not training enough engineers.
 
2012-08-16 02:09:15 AM
It would be just hilarious if companies realized that some of the older people out there, who had been let go multiple times because they cost too much, were actually worth the money because THEY KNEW THIS SHIAT ALL ALONG.

Some people have done this stuff for years, mostly because they like it, understand it, and just plain feel comfortable with it.

I'm one of those people. I'm 52, work as a field engineer, and I run across the occasional kid who sneers at me because I'm an old guy. Heh. Wake up, kid. I'm there on site to fix your shiat ;)
 
2012-08-16 02:10:39 AM
Engineering internships tend to pay pretty well.
 
2012-08-16 02:24:07 AM

Harry_Seldon: Lochsteppe: Harry_Seldon: I work for a large tech company. We budget and hire a large significant number of interns and recent college graduates. Our expectations for interns is that we train them do do productive work. We train them to be successful in a rapidly evolving environment. We see interns as an investment int the future, not a profit center. We, as management, take time to train and mentor, provide a comfortable environment, and low stress. By the end of their one year internship, they are prepared to be productive employees, and not necessarily for my company.

That's pretty cool. I'd love to see more companies take (or restart) that approach.

I have two interns working on a summer project right now to add some features to a an open source software application we are extending for internal use. I have no expectations that they actually complete anything, but I do expect them to learn how to work, take initiative, and tell me how they are going to attack their problems. I think we pay them $20/hr.

One thing that never gets mentioned about intern value, they provide a situation for us to give management opportunities for our junior level permanent staff, and grow their skills. It is all a process. Our employees really are our most valuable resource.

BTW, I work for one of the top ten tech firms. Think Google, Microsoft.


The Foundation?
 
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