What does the work of an intern cost?

What does the work of an intern cost?

February 27, 2017

Few of those applying for a job for the first time can adequately evaluate their professional skills: graduates expect a high salary immediately. Few of them understand that one needs to go through a low paid internship to fortify university knowledge with practical experience. Some candidates write “Will work for food” in their cover letter and are shocked when they are turned down.

The point is that even an unpaid probation period brings a loss to the employer. A company functions as a single organism with each member of the team carrying out a function. Since we work in the sphere of software development and not education, we don't have any teachers on our staff. Each intern is assigned a mentor from a number of experienced programmers who, partially distracted from their regular work, distribute and check tasks mostly relating to internal projects of secondary importance. The company suffers lost profit during this period equivalent to the top-ranked specialist's downtime. At the same time, the benefits from an intern are minimal: deadlines are usually put off and if there is progress with tasks it is rarely worth the time spent on training. Truly serious and necessary work on internal projects is done by more experienced colleagues.

Nevertheless, interns are needed. Our best specialists were raised in house at EDISON. This is why we eagerly take on talented candidates, but only when there is time for them – time which shouldn't be wasted.

We always answer questions about the probationary period. As a rule one can immediately ascertain whether a candidate will be of use from the way that questions are asked. A good candidate will send a CV and a literate cover letter, displaying clear intent. A timewaster will write messily, making mistakes and including personal data in the body of the letter, and will neglect to mention contact information – in other words he'll make the HR specialist ask for clarification and further details.

Summer interns and first years don't make economic sense. We welcome final year university students and graduates who:

  • Want to dedicate at least four hours a day to work and self-study and are ready to say goodbye to free time
  • Have at least some independent experience in programming field
  • Intend to continue their work with EDISON in future

An intern's first task is a test task. It is difficult and sifts out those who lack the required persistence. If a candidate completes the test he will be taken on for probation. As soon as the mentor feels that his mentee is ready to make a real contribution, we select for him a commercial project task suitable to his qualification. We are ready to pay the intern rate for this job, adjusting it after each significant success.

Probation length varies, as the process of learning takes different lengths of time for different people. We have to say goodbye to those who are too slow. If it becomes clear to employees that a developer is quick to learn new things and has garnered several success stories with commercial projects, he is put on an appropriate salary and brought into the staff.