Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft interns hit pay dirt and perks

By Hillary Vaughn Technology FOXBusiness

Interns could receive big paydays from Silicon Valley

FBN's Hillary Vaughn on the perks interns could receive in Silicon Valley.

Some interns in America make more in one summer than some people take home in a year.

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Companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are shelling out the big bucks competing for college grads. There’s a high demand for high-skilled tech workers and that’s why interns at some of the biggest tech companies are getting a big payday.

According to Glassdoor.com, Facebook tops the list paying interns a median salary of $8,000 bucks a month followed by Microsoft at number two shelling out about $7,100 a month for their interns and rounding up the pack is Amazon whose interns take home around $6,400 dollars a month.

But the coolest part about a tech internship isn’t just the pay – it’s the perks.

FOX Business got an exclusive look inside the top three paying tech internships: Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon to check out what a day in the life is like for the highest paid interns in country.

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Microsoft

At Microsoft interns pretty much get paid to play. Allison Buchholtz-Au is a former intern and now Program Manager at Microsoft and says the experience was a total blast, “its basically summer camp but you get paid instead of paying for it and you don’t have to report back to your parents at the end of the day”.

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All that fun is a big part of Microsoft’s plan to convince the industry’s best and brightest to leave their internship wanting to be a part of the Microsoft family. “You’ll hear a lot of interns talk about the fact that their so busy with work and fun that the summer just flies by. That’s on purpose. Because at the end of the summer we want them to crave to come back and do more”, says Chuck Edward, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Microsoft.

The twelve-week program keeps interns busy with work and a healthy dose of play. From gourmet cooking classes, to baseball games, to top secret field trips Microsoft pulls out all the stops to make sure interns are sold on the Microsoft culture. Buchholtz-Au says one of the highlights of her internship was when “they took us to the Washington state fair that’s completely rented out. It hasn’t even been opened yet for the public. And it’s just ours for our playground for the rest of the night and there’s food and music and carnival games. You can win Xbox’s, there’s surfaces. And its just a blast.”

Every intern at Microsoft is treated just like a full-time employee and every product or service that Microsoft offers has an intern’s fingerprints on it. “Any current Microsoft product or service that you see - you can attach to what an intern is doing”, says Edward. And there’s never been a better time to be an intern at Microsoft because Edward says they are “asked to lead immediately on day one". 

Amazon

Animal lovers rejoice! At Amazon, every day is bring-your-dog-to-work day for interns. Sara Sparhawk, Amazon’s University Recruiting Manager, says giving interns the same benefits as employees helps them decide if they can see themselves as a part of the team, “when they come in house they are working on these real meaningful projects that get them excited about the technologies that were using and the complex problems that were solving and we want them to understand this is what life is going to be like as a future Amazonian”.

Amazonian’s aren’t just there to hang out at one of Amazon’s on campus dog parks but to also get hands on with Amazon products. Ellen Boyd, a former intern at Amazon and now Software Development Engineer, helped develop a timer during her internship that’s used on Amazon’s Kindle Games. “We certainly weren’t getting coffee for other people when we were at Amazon. They really just throw you right in there to work on actual problems that will actually go to production and in some cases face the customer.”

Interns can take a break in the on-site art studio or grab a free banana at the Banana Stand that sits wedged between two of the main buildings on campus. Like any enviable tech internship there of course are wild outings with your friends. Summer activities at Amazon include renting out arcade halls, private concerts with artists like Ellie Golding at the top of Seattle’s space needle and more adventurous activities too. “My team actually did a white water rafting trip during the summer which was a lot of fun. Also we got to see the prescreening of the new batman movie before it had come out," says Boyd.

Facebook

Finding the right techie for the job can be tough. And at Facebook they use internships as a way to see if a candidate can keep up.

Oscar Perez, the head of Diversity Programs and University Recruiting says the internship is a two-way evaluation. “As much as were trying to gage whether or not these students are ready for the level of rigor of Facebook, the day-to-day here. Were also thinking about how interns are thinking about us. Is this a type of workplace interns want to come to after college? Is this the type of place where I feel like I can make impact and be happy on a day to day basis?”

The fast pace means interns get to work on day one. Leah Plofchan, a security-engineering intern says the job is really rewarding, “I think it was like the second or third day like I actually pushed code that went live on the Facebook code base which is really cool.” Perez says letting interns work on actual projects that have impact matter. “It’s important for us to stay really competitive in the market. There’s a lot of different companies that are after the same talent… So we’re not here having students making copies and grabbing coffee. You’re actually working on Facebook the product.”

It can be hard to keep up and Facebook knows that sometimes interns just need a break – so there’s quiet rooms on campus where students can have time to themselves.

On top of free housing and free food on campus, interns get a bike that they can use for the summer to roll in and out of work and onto other adventures during their down time.

And like other campuses, Facebook has lots of amenities for interns to get creative. With an on-site arcade, art studio, and wood shop - interns can roll up their sleeves and have a little fun.

But having the coolest college internship isn’t without its downsides – sometimes you can’t share everything with your friends, “I sometimes just like don’t tell them everything because I don’t want to be annoying you know” says Plofchan.

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