Why are tech interns getting paid so much?

Apr 17, 2019 10 Comments

Disclaimer: I am a current intern at NVIDIA, ex-intern at two other of { Facebook Apple Microsoft Amazon Google }.

I understand how as a full time engineer, it makes sense for companies to pay lots of $$$ for the leverage provided... but as an intern, how does it make sense to make between $7000-$8000 or, if you are at a company like Jane Street or Citadel, like $12000 plus housing and benefits, for interns? Every internship I have is like this: ramp up for one month, work on a large main project for the last 3 months. And honestly I know that the large project is something the full timers can do hella quick.

Is it really that hard to find new grads that can (sorry to be blunt) solve Leetcode mediums and get hired on board? Where is the competition for new grads that justifies these salaries? I remember the jump working min wage at a startup in Canada to going to Apple and earning USD and being like.... what makes it so different that now I am earning this much? How do the numbers add up in the company’s bottom line?

And don’t even get me started on the discounted food - wouldn’t companies be paying like 70 million$ per year just for that? How can companies like Dropbox afford their bougey food?

I have a mix of guilt and confusion to all of this, and ofc imposter syndrome 😅



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TOP 10 Comments
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Two Sigma / Eng kysk
      The amounts paid to interns are arbitrary, TS pays the most to interns for the advertising.
      Apr 17, 2019
  • Facebook rwQe42
    It’s basically a recruiting cost and the Bay Area is expensive
    Apr 17, 2019 0
  • Jane Street Capital fundfj
    The interns making those salaries will almost certainly have a full time offer by the end of their last summer. A lot of them won't bother to interview once they have an offer. This means that you have to get them for an internship or you're unlikely to find them for at least a few years after graduation.
    Internships are also about the best way to decide if you want to hire someone. You can make a way better decision after working with someone for 3 months than after interviewing them for 3 hours. Taking out the uncertainty of making an offer is worth a lot.
    FWIW those salaries are a bit more than half what we pay new grads, so it doesn't feel terribly expensive.
    Apr 18, 2019 0
  • Amazon / Mgmt gorrila
    Are you complaining that people are getting paid well?
    Apr 17, 2019 1
    • New / Ops

      New Ops

      Rakuten USA
      Those of us who grew up in a different era and flipped hamburgers for five dollars an hour during the summers are a little dumbfounded at how internships have become almost required, and how great a career starting point they are. I'm pretty envious of today's interns.
      Apr 18, 2019
  • Nvidia waltr
    Interns are actually cheap if you look at stocks and other bonuses offered to FT.
    Apr 17, 2019 0
  • Nvidia harMa47
    I maybe wrong but I guess companies get some tax incentives for hiring interns
    Apr 17, 2019 0
  • Salesforce perpetuoso
    It’s not like the companies make a big independent choice about it. It’s still a job market. Going rate for top interns right now is just that much. Interns often know how much companies pay. Therefore much of this takes care of itself. If a company decides to lower the pay then the quality of the pool goes down accordingly
    Apr 17, 2019 0
  • New / Eng [DELETED]❎
    Is it 8k at NVIDIA without the 2250/month housing stipend or with?
    May 23, 2019 0
  • If you’d like I can take as much of your income you think you’re getting paid more without any questions. Clearly you have a problem with your own salary.
    Apr 27, 2019 0


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