A few Microsoft summer interns in 2013.
A group of Microsoft summer interns in 2013.

It’s no secret that tech giants are offering up crazy perks and nice paychecks to attract young talent to their companies.

But now some interns as young as 16 years old are reeling in more dollars per month than a typical U.S. household.

As detailed by Bloomberg today, interns at companies like Twitter, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are making around $6,000 per month — that’s almost $2,000 more than the median U.S. household income, which was $4,280 as of 2012.

In February, Glassdoor listed the highest-paying companies for interns, a large majority of which were in the tech industry. Bay Area-based Palantir ranked highest with an average monthly intern salary of $7,012, while Twitter ($6,791), Facebook ($6,213), Microsoft ($6,138), Google ($5,969) and Apple ($5,273) all made the top 10.

The amount of money offered up to people not even old enough to drink alcohol — or buy weed in Washington — speaks to the priority of attracting young talent.

But it’s also indicative of a lack of skilled workers. Chris Dixon, a veteran entrepreneur and investor at Andreessen Horowitz, noted that it’s “insane how few college students study computer science”:

While there still may be more students interested in studying communications over computer science, we found last month that demand for gaining software engineering skills is reaching record levels at schools across the country.

On the surface, this is an encouraging trend for the tech industry, which can’t get enough new engineers. But beneath the surface is a problem: College students want to become computer scientists, but in many cases there isn’t enough room or faculty to meet the demand.

It remains to be seen how universities in the U.S. will manage this new demand. For now, though, the tech giants are doing everything they can — like flying 17-year-olds out to Facebook’s HQ to meet Mark Zuckerberg — to ensure they have the best and brightest young minds that can help sustain a company’s future success.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12:50 p.m. PT to reflect the median U.S. household income.

Comments

  • As I See It

    And so many people “hire” interns for free.

  • Joe

    Think we need to look at curriculum at the elementary school level; how are public schools bringing in the resources to teach these kids and expose them to computer science. Some great tools are coming out of MIT and Stanford to encourage this. It is essential we incorporate it into our education system to give all at least the opportunity to learn the basics.

  • scrambles

    How are you getting the “average household income” figure from the linked PDF about median income?

    • Taylor Soper

      Hey scrambles, thanks for pointing this out. You’re right — the census data is referring to median income, and I’ve updated the story with that information. Thanks for reading.

  • JBishop

    The thing that I’ve found out over the years is that not everyone has the desire or aptitude to work in IT. When my sister quite working so she could raise her newborn I would drop off an endless supply of HTML and coding books trying to encourage her to build her skills during the baby’s nap times in hopes that she might be able to do a few freelance gigs or at the very least have a new skill when entering the job market again. Alas, it was not to be. She had no interest in the topic at all. She loved being ON the Internet just not in programming it.

    This is why campaigns encouraging kids and celebrities, etc to learn to code are a fools errand and it also sells actual programmers skills short. It’s no wonder uninformed CEO’s can’t understand why you want to actually be paid for building them an application when you’ve got organizations out there telling the general public that little kids should be learning to code.

    We know that attorneys and doctors make good money but you don’t see people proposing we have kids sit in on open heart surgery or writing their first legal brief by age 10.

    Do I think kids should be exposed to an IT curriculum? Sure. But I don’t think it should be touted as any more relevant than any other field of future employment.

  • Jack

    I’m pretty sure the interns that are getting paid that amount are not the basic 4 year degree interns, but the interns who are working on masters, MBAs, etc.

    • Naomi

      Actually I can confirm that one student in that picture is a University of Washington CS undergrad and there are many more getting paid that amount.

    • jackspierer

      nope, there’s not much of a difference between undergrad and grad intern salaries at the places they’re talking about.

  • concernedcitizen20099

    This article is misleading in many ways.

    I have read many articles and blogs where the US is full of IT people
    and talent.

    The problem is that IT companies are looking for cheap, young talent that will work cheap and work 100+ hours per week…basically live at their jobs.

    Experienced IT professionals do not get the same kind of treatment
    and are often screened out because of age or the fact that they have 10+
    years experience and IT companies do not want to pay them the generous
    six figure salaries and bonuses that their experience warrants.

    Also, experienced IT professionals are generally married with kids
    and many IT companies are not “family friendly”.
    Family oriented IT people want to spend time with their wives, kids etc
    and not be a 24/7 slave to the company.

    Age discrimination is rampant in the IT field
    and the dirty little secret of IT companies.

    For these and other reasons, IT companies have created their own
    “phony shortage” of IT workers.
    IT companies routinely “game the system” and importing IT workers from India
    and other low wage countries so they can pay them lower entry level wages
    and work them like horses.

    Many IT companies have been found to be illegally circumventing the H1B
    overseas talent market and constantly lobbying to have Congress let
    more foreign workers in at the expense of US IT workers.

    Some investigative television journalists have exposed some of these
    abusive practices by IT companies.

    Meanwhile, experienced, American IT workers in their 40’s and 50’s
    go begging for work.

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