Should You Hire a Summer Software Development Intern?

Should You Hire a Summer Software Development Intern?

Interns are a great way to help you grow your business, offer educational resources to burgeoning individuals, and find potential hires. If your business needs a software development or programming intern, chances are you’re weighing the pros and cons. After all, hiring a full-time developer is an expensive venture. 

Today’s savvy college students aren’t spending their summers lounging by the pool; they’re seeking ways to expand their resume, broaden their horizons, and lock in future employment opportunities. With the summer approaching, your business—whether it’s a startup or medium-sized business—can benefit from an internship program. However, interns aren’t for every organization. Read on to learn more about whether you should hire a software development intern. 

Pro #1: Bright Minds & Fresh Ideas

One of the best reasons to hire a software development intern is the ability to get fresh ideas from bright minds. As with any business, it can become difficult to grow your business when you’re too close to it. Perhaps it has become difficult to think of new features or struggle with approaching a redesign. Having a new member on the team can offer a fresh, creative take. 

Con #1: Training a Temporary Employee

Unfortunately, a new member of the team—even if they’ll only be with you for three months—needs to be appropriately trained. Your onboarding for your intern needs to be on par with onboarding for traditional, full-time employees. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reap the full benefits that your potential intern can offer. 

This can be a con for businesses whose employees have tight schedules, are inexperienced at training, be on vacation throughout the summer, or are relatively new to the companies themselves. If you plan to hire a development intern, make sure your current development team has the bandwidth to bring them on board and properly train them on your devops pipeline, applicable software, standard routines, and much more.

Pro #2: New Talent Pool

There is no better way to “trial” an employee than by hiring an intern. Rarely is there an opportunity to see how a potential employee would perform, but having an intern gives you upfront access to potential candidates. Development interns who show dedication, talent, and passion are great options for future employment. You’ll get to learn their communication style, see how quickly they catch on to your work and processes and get a feel for culture fit. 

Con #2: Potential for Low Commitment

Like any employee, you never know how an individual will perform until they’re a part of your staff. However, because interns aren’t as vested in your company as full-time employees, you do run the risk that they don’t try their best. Furthermore, not all interns are mature temporary employees, especially if they don’t have experience working in an office atmosphere. 

Pro #3: Loyal Team Member

Young interns are more impressionable because they’re just getting their feet wet. If you invest your time in an intern and offer them caring mentorship, they are more likely to remain loyal to your company. If you’ve ever invested in an employee that moved on to your competitor, you know this isn’t a great feeling. 

Con: Not Always What You Need

Unfortunately, many companies hire interns to slap a band-aid onto weak areas of the business. Think about why you need to hire an intern and whether an intern is a suitable solution for your needs. If you keep finding bugs in your software, do you need an intern for testing? Or do you need to focus on creating more quality code? However, if your business is growing and you’re getting more support tickets, you might legitimately need an extra hand. 

Pro & Con: Paying Your Interns

You can choose to bring your new staff member on board as a paid or unpaid intern. Traditionally, interns have been unpaid across many organizations. However, whether to pay interns or offer college credit is highly debated. Generally speaking, private sector companies should almost always pay their employees. And in most cases, companies tend to pay software development interns because they offer so much value to the business. Remember, software development interns aren’t just fielding calls and handling simple administrative tasks; they are testing software, creating code, and building for your business. 

As you consider whether you’ll pay your interns, think about their responsibilities and how your company will benefit from their participation. If you’re set to make money from having interns, you should highly consider paying them. At the very least, offer the minimum wage in your state. Of course, the con of this is that an intern cuts into your budget. The pro is that your intern might feel more invested and appreciated in your business. Consider both the pro and con of paying your intern. If you decide it’s not in your budget, make sure your intern will receive college credit and substantial mentorship during their tenure with you. 

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