6 tips for an effective IT internship program

A well-run internship program can provide a talent pipeline, help build your brand, and even jumpstart business innovation. Here’s how to ensure your interns are engaged, productive, and singing praise.

6 tips for an effective IT internship program
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Internships create a talent pipeline for full-time employees, build awareness of your company among job seekers, and bring in skilled talent with no long-term commitment.

But a strong internship program can do much more than that, as tales travel the tech rumor mill of interns who have invented valuable products, created new businesses, and made a difference to a company’s bottom line. The rumors about interns who were overlooked are just as ripe.

Satoru Iwata started as an unpaid intern at Commodore, was inventing Kirby at Hal labs soon after, and quickly changed the world of gaming at Nintendo. Elon Musk interned at a bank where he pitched an idea that was way ahead of the CEO’s vision. Musk left banking unimpressed and went on to found X.com, which became PayPal.

Interns bring enthusiasm, vision, fresh skills, and energy to your team and projects. Feed those qualities with guidance, resources, and time and they might do amazing things. Even interns who don’t change the world, though, can help proselytize for your company and even return to become full-time employees.

If a tech genius interned at your company, would you tap her creative energy or give her a meaningless task? Would you nurture his curiosity or ask him to do the tech equivalent of fast food prep? Do your ex-interns talk non-stop about how great the internship — and your company — is? Or do they warn their friends against it.

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