Background: Our first intern reached out to us after we sent her an invitation to a workshop we were going to be hosting. She was curious if we might consider bringing her in as an intern while she was wrapping up school at a local university.
Our team talked through the possible issues that we might face if we invited someone in.
- How much mentorship time might an intern need?
- Can we afford to pay an intern?
- ...and how much should we pay an intern?
- Who on our team would make a good mentor?
- What projects could we "safely" have an intern contribute to?
- What experiences could we offer them? What would they learn here?
- Do we have time to oversee those projects?
- How do we avoid it being an internship like you see in television/film? (i.e., we wouldn't ever want to send an intern to get us coffee/treats. Right? That isn't us, right?)
- ..but seriously, are we capable of running a successful internship program?
...you get the idea. Rarely has the issue been, "is the intern going to be good enough" but more of a, "how does this impact the rest of the team and company."
Our biggest fear was that it could be a big distraction for ourselves AND as a result -- the intern might not have gained much while here.
Fortunately, we decided that it felt like the "right time" to give it an honest trial. After meeting with her, we invited her to intern with us for a few months.
Their first project was to build a web-based timeline of the company's history, which is still up on our website today. She then proceeded to work at Planet Argon for five years as one of our most ambitious, detail-oriented, and reliable web developers.
Since then, we've conducted a few dozen internships and anticipate around 8-12 each year going forward. As we've gone through this process, we decided that we would "open source" our current thinking so that other businesses who might share similar concerns and/or aren't sure quite where to start. We'll be releasing that content in the near future.
While we're working on that -- perhaps you have questions about either a) how to land an internship as a software developer? and/or b) how to start and/or run a successful internship program?
Am more than happy to help you out!