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Intern Salary

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One of the forms I'm filling out for a possible game programming internship requires that I fill out a desired salary field. The truth is that I'm more interested in the experience (I've never had such an opportunity previously) than any payment I might earn. Does anyone here have any suggestions as to what I should enter? I checked the referenced GamaSutra articles in the FAQ, and unless I missed something, they don't really apply to my situation. The web form alows for different ways to measure payment (salary, hourly/daily/weekly wage, etc.). Please mention any experience you have had in these matters when making suggestions.

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In the UK, the intern's that I have know work for about 10-13k a year, which in US dollars works to around 17-21k.

If its the experience and not the money your interested in, I would flag about $18,000.

Good luck on your application :)
Spree

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Quote:
Original post by Thunder_Hawk
One of the forms I'm filling out for a possible game programming internship requires that I fill out a desired salary field. The truth is that I'm more interested in the experience (I've never had such an opportunity previously) than any payment I might earn. Does anyone here have any suggestions as to what I should enter? I checked the referenced GamaSutra articles in the FAQ, and unless I missed something, they don't really apply to my situation. The web form alows for different ways to measure payment (salary, hourly/daily/weekly wage, etc.).

Please mention any experience you have had in these matters when making suggestions.


I don't know about game industry pay, but the going rate for an intern at MS is ~$4500 a month. Game industry might be half that though ;)

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At my university, statistics shows that students can expect salaries from 1733.33 CAD to 3466.66 CAD (1,494.31 USD to 2,988.63 USD, using today's exchange rate 1:0.8621) a month with an average of about 2383,33 CAD (2054.68). They are also some exceptions, depending a lot from experience, how many credits you obtained in your degree and where you work (like the case of MS as previously stated).

JFF


EDIT : I might also add that we are usually considered well paid for interns... so you might not be able to get to the higher part of that range.

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Quote:
Original post by EvilDecl81
I don't know about game industry pay, but the going rate for an intern at MS is ~$4500 a month. Game industry might be half that though ;)
A little higher than that, actually.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Promit
Quote:
Original post by EvilDecl81
I don't know about game industry pay, but the going rate for an intern at MS is ~$4500 a month. Game industry might be half that though ;)
A little higher than that, actually.


File that under bullshit :)

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
File that under bullshit :)
They offered me an internship 3 days ago. Trust me, I know what their current going rate for an intern is.

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My roomate is doing a part-time internship at Amaze Entertainment during his last semester at DigiPen. They're paying him $10 USD an hour, and he probably works ~20 hrs/week, plus he's getting his final game project Credits for school.

Its pretty situational, the more people applying for the internship the greater the chance that someone as-or-more qualified than yourself will be willing to do it for cheaper, or pro-bono. Unfortunately the games industry is one of those "dream jobs" that everyone wants, so competition is usually pretty thick. Your best bet is to do whatever you can to stand above the crowd, maybe by doing a demo thats not what everyone else does (Personal experience, this tends to excite your interviewer.) Also, shop yourself around to as many shops as possible, not only to give yourself a backup plan, but to give each potential employer something to think about: "We can't afford not to hire this guy and we certainly can't allow our competition to hire him."

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Just put down "Negotiable". That let's them start the bid, and ensures that you do not set the bar too low.

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The pay rates being discussed are not exactly comparable, and there are other variables that nobody has really discussed.

"Internship" can mean many different things. I think we all agree on the dictionary definition part, it is a supervised and double-checked job. The extent of the job is what varies.

What work are you doing? Is the job full time or part time? How much do they work around your school schedule? How flexible are they if you are late or have short-notice of attendance problems due to school? Are you expected to put in extra time during the crunch? Is it paid? Is overtime expected? Is that paid? Are there any other benefits or perks included? How much time off? How do they work with school exams, if applicable? All of these need to be considered in addition to the $-per-hour figure.

The work being done might be "White box tester". It's a programming job in that you work with code, but you aren't really writing code. Expect to be paid a little more than testers, but much less than programmers.

Or an intern position might be "Programmer Level 1, Part Time". You'd be assigned the most mind-numbing programming tasks, but at least you'd be writing code. Expect to be paid more per hour than the job above.

Or an intern might be "Programmer Level 1, Full Time". This would be akin to a regular programmer, but being hourly instead of on salary.


Writing "Negotiable" means different things to different people. It might be okay for a small company. It is probably not acceptable for bigger companies (meaning anybody with an "HR Department"). For a part time white box tester job with a big company, you might write in a range of anything from $10/hr to $18/hr, depending on tons of factors. The "Programmer 1" pay range would be higher, again depending on many factors.



Imagine a white-box testing job paying $8-10/hr for part time work. They might be ALSO giving you tuition reimbursement, very flexible schedules allowing unlimited (unpaid) time off, maybe some paid time off, light work loads, and not expecting any crunch time work. Maybe if you are young and on your own, they'll give you health insurance (with a small out-of-pocket premium). I've even seen companies where interns are offered 401(k) plans with employer matching. Remember that those benefits are all untaxed. Working out the numbers might show that your gross package is closer to $20/hr even though the amount going directly to your wallet is less.

[Edited by - frob on March 10, 2006 12:51:06 PM]

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If it is an established place, ask people who have worked there what they make.


Generally it's considered taboo to ask people still working there what they make, just to protect the guilty, but you can help give you a good idea.

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This is how I'd do it (in US dollars):

Freshman: 12/hr.
Sophmore: 14/hr.
Junior: 16/hr.
Senior: 18/hr.

Considering if you graduate, you'll be making ~20/hr on average, i think thats fair. It shows you have enough confidence in your work that you think you deserve to be paid well while also showing that you know that interns arn't worth that much.

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Quote:
Original post by Cygnus_X
This is how I'd do it (in US dollars):

Freshman: 12/hr.
Sophmore: 14/hr.
Junior: 16/hr.
Senior: 18/hr.

Considering if you graduate, you'll be making ~20/hr on average, i think thats fair. It shows you have enough confidence in your work that you think you deserve to be paid well while also showing that you know that interns arn't worth that much.


You might think that's fair, but it probably isn't what you will make. There are more factors than just your year in school. What is the demand in your area? What else is the company offering?

Ten minutes of research on the company plus a few phone calls is all you need in order to find out what others in the company are making.

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I actually ended up making very close to that while I was an intern. I graduated at the end of 04, so it should at least be good historical data (and I worked in various places across the US).

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Quote:
Original post by Cygnus_X
I actually ended up making very close to that while I was an intern. I graduated at the end of 04, so it should at least be good historical data (and I worked in various places across the US).

The title "intern" is really not enough for this discussion. The term means different things to different people and different companies, and really isn't transferrable. Further, we occasionally hire "interns" (college students) for hard jobs that pay a lot, and also for easy jobs that don't pay well. Sometimes they are hired with the intent to get a permanent employee, other times they are for a 2-3 month task.

As I asked above, let's make this something that the OP and others can reasonably compare against. Please offer up the details:

What work were you doing?
How much experience did you have coming in?
Was the job full time or part time?
How much did they work around your school schedule?
How flexible were they if you were late or had short-notice of attendance problems due to school?
Were you expected to put in extra time during the crunch? Was it paid?
Was overtime expected? Was that paid?
How did they work with school exams, if applicable?
How much paid and unpaid time off did you have?
Were there any other benefits or perks included?

Once you answer all those, the money per hour figure becomes comparable.

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