Just a few years ago, internships were simply resume builders where students would be lucky to break even when it comes to salary and expenses. While gaining experience is still the key motivating factor, computer science majors should now be able to put a few dollars away over the summer as intern salaries for prospective engineers continue to skyrocket.
For the chart below, we looked at the average prorated intern salaries offered by Google, Facebook, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and a number of hedge funds and high-frequency trading firms, courtesy of self-reported data in giant new Reddit thread. The offers were all made to software engineer interns in the U.S.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the fact that Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are just a bit more generous than the three big tech firms, at least at first glance. There are two competing factors that slightly change the equation. First, Goldman and J.P. Morgan engineering interns were offered hourly wages of $52 and $47.36, respectively. With a high probability of overtime, take-home pay should rise somewhat significantly depending on the group.
However, the two banks only offer a one-time housing stipend of $1,500, plus travel expenses, according to respondents. Meanwhile, Google offers a $9k lump sum while Facebook and Amazon provide free corporate housing. Considering the lofty rent prices in New York City, San Francisco and Seattle, interns at the three tech firms may come out ahead, even with a lack of paid overtime.
Interesting, there was no deviation from the average in terms of salaries – each tech company and bank made the same offer to every candidate (yes, J.P. Morgan’s hourly rate in New York is exactly $47.36). So negotiating as an intern appears to be fruitless in both industries. It’s also worth noting that the standard internship length at Google and Facebook is 12 weeks compared to just 10 at most investment banks. That fact may not change the prorated numbers, but it will put more actual cash in your pocket.
Elsewhere, hedge funds and high-frequency trading firms are a completely different story. While there is a fairly wide range of prorated salaries, the starting point is significantly higher for prospective quants and trading engineers. The average prorated salary is over $150k with a floor of around $140k. All respondents (mostly in New York and Chicago) said they too were offered free corporate housing for the duration of the internship.
Some banks refer interns to discounted shared-living providers, but the rent is still very pricey. That said, it appears banks now pay their engineering interns more than summer analysts working within their investment bank – something that wasn't true until very recently.
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