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(Orlando Sentinel)   Apparently, some companies are just now realizing interns are stupid   (orlandosentinel.com) divider line 30
    More: Florida, Full Sail University, game development, Central Florida, interpersonal skills, University of Central Florida  
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14294 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Aug 2012 at 12:08 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-16 12:12:48 AM  
11 votes:
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 12:14:17 AM  
7 votes:
You get what you pay for.
2012-08-16 12:32:04 AM  
6 votes:
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 12:25:59 AM  
5 votes:
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 12:31:39 AM  
3 votes:

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 12:15:14 AM  
3 votes:
Stop hiring interns and offer benefits and you might get a better pool.
2012-08-16 12:14:30 AM  
3 votes:
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 12:13:51 AM  
3 votes:
No shiat, Sherlock

Why do you think they are interns to begin with?

Because they have no experience
2012-08-16 12:36:54 AM  
2 votes:
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 12:20:00 AM  
2 votes:
Well we can't all be born with infinite job experience, now can we.
2012-08-16 12:16:23 AM  
2 votes:
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 04:08:25 PM  
1 votes:
www.delawaretoday.com

Not stupid. Just apathetic to your needs.

/I know she's no longer an intern, but she was for a couple seasons...
2012-08-16 01:05:04 PM  
1 votes:

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.


I remember when looking for a tech job after the Dot-Com bubble burst, tech companies were looking for people with several years of .NET experience, which had only been in release for a few months at that point. I was also turned down for a job as a Visual Studio programmer, because I "only" had 5 years experience with VS 97 and 6.0. Nevermind that I had been working with VS97 and VS 6.0 since their release dates, I "lacked" enough experience to work on those platforms, according to the hiring manager...

Management and HR get so hung up on the latest buzzwords, and never actually bother to do basic research on the requirements they attach to job openings. They are idiots of the highest magnitude, and only care about how easy it will be for the company to exploit the new hires.
2012-08-16 07:55:47 AM  
1 votes:

SpacemanSpoof: I've never understood interns. You take out massive loans to go to school, then take a job where you're not even paid. Why not go the co-op route instead?

I did co-op for 3 years. Sure, I had to take a few summer classes and extend my graduation date a bit, but I came out with years of real-world experience and skills on my resume (not coffee-fetching and advanced copier operation) and money in the bank.


==============

And American businesses think they are being cleaver by exploiting the desperate and stupid for free labor.

Large German Company:

Interviewer: Yes, you seem to have the required education, experience and ability to learn. We will offer you this paid training position. After successful completion of this training position, you will be offered a permanent job at X salary.

Result: German company builds a productive and competent work force.

-----------------------------

Large American Company:

Interviewer: You have a good academic record, but we are very selective in who we choose to allow to work for our super important company. Working for our company is a great PRIVILEGE. We'll offer you the unpaid intern position with no guarantees of any training, or any offers of permanent paid employment. Even if this goes nowhere for you, and for 99.9% of our unpaid interns it goes nowhere, other lesser companies will be super impressed with seeing an internship with our company on your resume.

Result: Super important American companies whine endlessly about how they cant' find any workers, and all Americans are idiots, and government really needs to get off the backs of TBTF businesses and give them unrestricted H1B visas.
2012-08-16 07:06:41 AM  
1 votes:
Let's see, how would you like to work for nothing, or next to nothing, with no guarantee of being trained to do anything useful, or any guarantee of full time employment, the only dubious benefit being "experience" to add to a resume?

Yup, super talented and intelligent people will all jump at a chance like that. Do any of you "genius" business people see the problem with the above?
2012-08-16 06:52:53 AM  
1 votes:

DenisVengeance: I love interns. They work their asses off on projects my guys don't have time for during the year, and in exchange they get to say they worked for a Fortune 100 company on their resume. Win Win.


Yeah this. You just have to be selective about recruiting them. I work with a couple of interns who are super-bright and promising. And, we are teaching them more in 15 hours a week than they learned in their undergraduate program. And yes, the experience on their resume is incredibly valuable for them.

Unrelated to anything, I remember once when a very young geeky intern tracked down a special case defect in some of my code. He was almost apologetic, which I thought was cute. He didn't know how to fix it, but we worked it out together in a few minutes. He asked if I wanted to check in the fix (thus publicly taking the credit from him). I laughed and and told him no, you tracked it down, you check it in.
2012-08-16 05:25:51 AM  
1 votes:

SevenizGud: not CSB time/

When I was a graduate student, I had two undergrads doing research hours in my lab at my direction. One I had performing computer modeling simulations. The other, who had experience in chemistry by doing research hours in my lab previously under another graduate student, I had performing suspersaturation precipitation experiments.

Long story short...I blew them both out after one semester because it became obvious in short order that I was never going to recoup the effort I would have put into training them. It was bad enough that when the chemistry one asked me what she wanted me to do, I pointed her to the starting material for the experiment, but directed her to in advance divide the starting material in half...because I knew she'd ruin it. And I didn't want her to ruin it all. Sure enough, she ruined it. How hard is it to heat up a flask of solvent until a material dissolves in it without boiling it over? Too hard, evidently. The other one I had doing molecular dynamics simulations of CO2-derivatized molecules. Of the dozen or so molecules he built into the simulation, there was a grand total of ZERO of them that had the correct structure.

/not csb time


So what you're saying is that a college laboratory is not the place for undergraduates to learn how to do laboratory work?
2012-08-16 03:51:50 AM  
1 votes:
FTFA:
John Bonaccorso, founder of 15 Seconds to Fame, an Orlando-based website for singers, comedians, animators, short-film producers and others, has hired three former interns from UCF but said finding qualified interns is a "mixed bag."

"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."


Let's transcribe that into a different occupational setting and see how stupid it looks:

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, rifleman of the USMC, a Quantico-based organization for infantrymen, artillerymen, pilots, tankers and others, has hired 80 former recruits fresh from American high schools but said finding qualified recruits is a "mixed bag."

"We want recruits that we can roll into combat positions, but they're not coming out (of high school) prepared," Hartman said. "We're a military force that's expanding, and local high schoolers should love to work on our stuff, as we need more athletic and outdoorsy people."


What makes it look idiotic when an hypothetical Marine says it? Because, unlike our fast-paced businessmen, the gunny understands that you can't just "roll" people out of a school and into the combat zone and scratch your idiot, fast-paced businessman head wondering why they ain't "up to snuff". You have to engage in a mystical, high-tech process called "training". I don't understand what that is, but that's natural as our fast-paced businessmen are smarter than me and they don't know either. Somebody needs to help them. Volunteers?
2012-08-16 01:24:18 AM  
1 votes:

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 01:18:09 AM  
1 votes:
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 01:03:19 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:53:06 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:40:45 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:38:11 AM  
1 votes:
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 12:29:59 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:29:59 AM  
1 votes:
"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 12:29:23 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:27:20 AM  
1 votes:
If you paid them a living wage with health care... where am I going with this?
2012-08-16 12:24:59 AM  
1 votes:
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 12:16:15 AM  
1 votes:
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.
 
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