Tech Interns and the New Minimum Wage

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BreakingModern — College grads joining the tech industry have the opportunity to be way ahead of the rest of the U.S. population when it comes to income. Check out the infographic below — it says that the average monthly income for a tech intern is $7,519. The average U.S. income? $4,491.

Likewise, the median household yearly income in the U.S. is around $53,891, but interning at a hot tech company in Silicon Valley for six months could earn you close to that figure, and you’ll probably get a housing stipend, too. Housing allowances vary from a few hundred a month to thousands of dollars, depending on the company.

When these figures came out last year many were surprised at this gap between the rest of the U.S. working force and Silicon Valley’s industry. But it’s not all roses — this is a two tiered tech system, separated into a high risk startup internship, and a low risk post-IPO company internship.

Startup Country

Startup cultures are one of a kind, and they make great, immersive learning environments for students and recent graduates. When it comes to internship programs, startups offer the chance to become a much-needed, valuable addition to a team of go-getters. But there are also several imminent dangers to be aware of.

A warning — not every company starts by paying its interns. The “Wait until we’re profitable” or “After Round D of our funding closes” taglines for some startups are dangerous hopes to live by — and can be hugely detrimental for recent graduates who have mounds of debt.

Because so many startups fail, the chances of a company living up to its promise is subpar at best. If you are getting paid, great — ride that wave. But, if you work at a firm that pays other employees, but not interns, it might be time to start looking elsewhere.

Erin Dusseault comments,

“[millennials] must care about themselves in a sense because we are fighting much harder for fewer jobs than previous generations. We are the first generation in history to be worse off than our parents. I loathe this stereotype that my generation is not hard-working and is careless. I work 60-70 hours a week to pay for MASSIVE amounts of student loan debt just from my bachelor’s degree which is pretty much a minimum NECESSITY for new generations entering the work force.”

Watch out for the open-ended internship. Fact is you are worth a lot … even when cash-strapped geniuses make you an offer to join. If you listen to your mentors, you’ll likely earn more at a faster rate. They’ve seen it all and earned a very different wage doing so. See the infographic below.

For BreakingModern, I’m David Michaelis.

Image credit: WCG

Infographic: IDG Connect

Tech Interns and the New Minimum Wage