Career opportunities in the IT industry are many, but does it pay to begin as an IT intern?
Here are a few answers to common doubts
1. What exactly is an internship?
An internship is an employment-based training arrangement in which an intern has the opportunity to apply his or her skills in the workplace and gain practical experience.
2. Who can be an intern?
If you have some baseline technology skills, consider yourself qualified enough to apply for an internship position. If you feel you have the aptitude but little technical knowledge, you may want to take an entry-level class in information technology (IT) to determine your level of interest as well as obtain some background you can use to promote your skills in an interview situation. You may want to take the on-line aptitude test provided within the Microsoft Skills 2000 Web site at
3. Aren't internships just for students?
Internships are for anyone who wishes to round out his or her qualifications with hands-on experience and on-the-job training. This often applies to students as well as anyone moving into an IT career or wishing to advance to a higher level within the IT industry.
4. What salary can I expect as an intern?
The majority of internships are paid. They begin at a minimum wage, and increase steadily depending on your skill level and the amount of training you receive.
5. What kind of responsibilities will I be given?
It is in the company's best interest to allow you to apply your IT training. Some internships will involve lower-level tasks. Others employ highly-trained interns for activities such as programming, software development, or Website production.
6. Will I have to work full-time? Can I work around my schedule?
Not all internships are full-time. Many companies will be flexible by allowing you to coordinate work and school commitments.
7. How long will my internship last?
An average internship lasts six or seven months.
8. If I become an intern at a company, what are my chances of being hired as a permanent employee?
Although there is no guarantee that you'll land a job after holding an intern position, many companies do report a high rate of hiring interns as permanent staff. Whether or not you remain on-board after your internship ends, you'll gain invaluable hands-on training and an insider's view of the demands of, and opportunities in the IT industry.
9. Isn't it best to accept an internship with a large company?
Internships at large companies offer many benefits: room for promotion into many different areas, a wider breadth of opportunities, a greater chance to return after your internship expires, and better pay. But since smaller businesses have fewer employees and departments, an intern will usually be responsible for a wider array of tasks, gaining experience in many different departments-a situation that would be nearly impossible for a larger company to arrange.
10. Where can I get additional IT training, if needed?
The Microsoft Skills 2000 Web site offers detailed information for individuals who wish to advance their careers with further IT training. Information about financial assistance is also available.
11. Where can interns be found?
Most look for interns at local colleges and technical schools because many of these institutions have job and internship placement programs. We also recommend using local career fairs to target both students and transitioning IT professionals.