What is an IT Internship?
The goal of an internship is to provide work that is both of value to the organization and also augments the formal Information Technology (IT) education of the student. Internships fall into two general categories: Internship Projects and Apprenticeships.
An internship project has a predefined objective that is to be accomplished by the end of the internship period. The project should result in a deliverable to the organization and should include a presentation or report of the results given by the intern. The work should expose the intern to real-world IT problems and challenges and on-the-job learning opportunity.The intern should be expected to make an individual contribution to the results of the project and present these to the organization. Organizations are encouraged to assign a mentor to provide such guidance and direction when needed.
Not all work situations can be organized into an internship project. In an apprenticeship, the intern is assigned to work with an accomplished IT professional or mentor. The apprentice will work under direction of the mentor to provide assistance and support commensurate with the capability and current level of training in the specialty. At the end of the apprenticeship, the intern is expected to make a formal report of lessons learned and personal observations and recommendations relative to the assigned area of work.
Length of an Internship
Internships are one semester in length (12-15 weeks). Ideally, internship projects and apprenticeships start and end on a semester boundary. This may not always be practical, so the start of an internship may vary based on work requirements but its duration should equate to roughly one semester in length. If the scope of a potential project is longer than a semester, consider dividing it into phases such that it could be accomplished by successive internships. The initial internship project could address requirements assessment, design and planning with a succeeding internship project to address a continuation of the work involving implementation.
Amount of Work
Students receive 3 credit hours towards their degree for an IT internship. As a general guideline, an intern should be expected to work roughly 10 to 15 hours per week on a schedule consistent with both work and educational requirements. A project may require more than one intern, but projects requiring a team larger than two or three interns are discouraged.
Cost of an Internship
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly, whereas the statute does not define what an intern is, nor does it provide an exemption from minimum wages or overtime for interns. The FLSA provides that if your company benefits from the use of interns, you are required to pay them at least minimum wage. Organizations considering unpaid interns should check with their legal counsel regarding their responsibilities under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act as specific requirements need to be met to use unpaid interns. Florida minimum wage is $8.25 as of January 1st, 2018, however IT internships in Central Florida typically start in the $15 – $18 per hour range.
Qualification and Assignment of Interns
Interviews and acceptance of a candidate are at the discretion of the hosting organization. Students must be actively enrolled in their junior or senior year of the IT curriculum and have a 3.0 grade point average or better to qualify as a candidate for internship. As such, interns are expected to offer any organization an able contributor right now and the opportunity to evaluate a prospective future employee.
Requesting an IT Intern
To list an internship position, you’ll need to create an employer account in Handshake. Handshake is an online career services tool provided by UCF Experiential Learning. After creating a Handshake account, you can post internship positions and full time opportunities and review resumes of students who have applied to your posting.