Google Rated The Best Place To Intern In 2013, Followed By Qualcomm, Microsoft, Intel And Cisco

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For student jobseekers, in these challenging economic conditions, internships still rank as one of the best ways to prevent yourself from joining the growing ranks of the overeducated and underemployed. In fact, A recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that interning in college not only increases your chance of landing a job, but actually keeping it, too.

The report reveals that 63 percent of paid interns received “at least one job offer upon graduation” in 2012, compared to the 36 percent of grads who had no internship experience. In turn, 75 percent of employees that were hired out of internships were retained after a year, compared to 60 percent for those who didn’t. So, with students now beginning to prepare and apply for summer internship opportunities, online jobs and career community, Glassdoor, has taken a look at the companies that are rated highest among those whose opinion counts the most: Current and former interns.

The report, which the company says is based entirely on intern feedback, highlights the 20 companies that know how to treat their interns right (and are currently hiring), along with those who rank the highest in interview difficulty, and, of course more importantly, in compensation.

For the second year in a row, the highest rated internship program in the country will be found in Mountain View at the Googleplex. This seems fitting given that Google happens to be the setting for The Internship — the appropriately-named buddy movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (and Google) that’s due out this summer. Vaughn and Wilson play middle-aged salesman who, after being laid off, find themselves as Google interns. Lots of Google Glass and self-driving car jokes ensue.

The fact that Google now ranks as the best place to intern for the second year in a row might help to explain its (somewhat surprising) “enthusiastic” support of the buddy comedy, along with not only its willingness to participate in the making of the film, but to even do its part in promotion. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, I guess?

But let’s not let Google hog all the limelight. Glassdoor’s rankings of the top 20 internship programs include companies from several industries, seven of which were technology companies. Google took first, improving its ranking from 4.3 (out of a possible 5 points) to 4.6. Qualcomm ranked second among tech companies with a 4.2 rating, followed by Microsoft (4.2), Intel (4.1), Cisco (4.0), IBM (3.9) and Amazon at 3.9.

Top 20 Highest Rated Companies Hiring Interns Right Now

And which company offers the highest intern pay? For the second year running, Microsoft’s research internship program outranked Google, paying the highest average monthly base pay out all the companies in the report at $7,050/month — up from $6,746 last year. Google’s Software Engineer Internship ranked second at $6,462/month, followed by Microsoft again with its “Software Engineer In Test Internship” at $5,951/month.

Granted this seems to be somewhat at odds with Forbes’ recent report on the top three highest paying tech internships, which saw VMWare grab the top ranking at $6,536/month, followed by Facebook in second at $6,056/month and Microsoft in third at $5,936/month. LinkedIn, Adobe, Google, Amazon, NVIDIA, Yahoo and Apple round out the rest of the top ten. The report is also based on Glassdoor’s findings, so we’ll assume that this is shows the average for all of the company’s internships, rather than a particular program.

You can also check out last year’s overall rankings here.

Google and Amazon were ranked as the toughest interviews, followed my Microsoft and Intel. As to some of the questions interns reported being asked during those interviews?

  • “Who is your hero and why?” — Google Intern Candidate
  • “How many new cars, on average, are bought in the U.S. each year?” — Microsoft Summer Intern Candidate (Seattle, WA)
  • “Design a complex car from the ground up.” — Amazon Software Development Engineer Intern Candidate (Seattle, WA)

And, for those looking for a peek inside the pros and cons of the most coveted tech internships, below you’ll find a few responses from former interns.

Google

Pro: “Google treats interns even better than full time employees. All of the employees all the way up to VP personally spend time with you and take your opinion.” — Google Platforms Project Manager Intern (Mountain View, CA)

Con: “Since Google has grown so much, it’s harder to get things done/it takes a really long to push code or get things out there.” — Google Software Engineering Intern (New York, NY)

Qualcomm

Pro: “Each intern is assigned one mentor and one manager so you get a lot of attention. There are team outings, quizzes and the workplace itself is full of energy. Innovative thinking is encouraged and the work load is well balanced.” — Qualcomm Interim Engineering Intern (Bangalore, India)

Con: “Space was kind of cramped during my internship. Did not get an office or cubicle, instead got a desk that was kind of just in the middle of the hallway (think receptionist’s desk).” — Qualcomm Software Engineer Intern (San Diego, CA)

Microsoft

Pro: “Microsoft has a great environment where you are encouraged to learn as much as you can about your field. Knowledgeable and passionate co-workers who always bail you out. You get to learn a lot from your peers.” — Microsoft Intern (Hyderabad, India)

Con: “Sometimes you can feel like a grain of sand on the beach. As a developer, you don’t have a say in the big picture of the company. If that’s important to you, don’t work here; find a start-up.” — Microsoft Software Development Engineer Intern (Redmond, WA)

Intel

Pro: “Intel has a very organized and constructive internship program. They set you up for success and provide many opportunities for future employment. Excellent pay as well.” — Intel BIOS Technical Intern

Con: “Being stuck in a cube all day is a bit of a drag, though to some extent I think it comes with the job of a programmer. In spite of all of the work they were doing to brighten/open things up while I was there, I don’t really feel like the office spaces are any brighter or more cheerful.” — Intel Undergraduate Technical Intern (Hillsboro, OR)

Cisco

Pro: “As an intern, I was given the same freedom and regular employees, I could work from home, arrive and leave work when it was convenient for me, and I could wear normal street clothes to work.” — Cisco Software Engineering Intern in Research (Triangle Park, NC)

Con: “Because the teams and company are so large it is hard to get to know who you work with. However, this would be less of an issue if I worked full-time and not just a summer internship.” — Cisco Software Engineer Intern (San Jose, CA)

IBM

Pro: “Pay was really high compared to what I’m supposed to get for being so junior. Nice office, really cool building, and really great people. A flexible schedule, yoga lessons, and gym. The company is really large and you feel like you belong.” — IBM Software Engineer Intern (Ottawa, Ontario)

Con: “Slow work effort, it takes too much time to get anything done.” — IBM Intern (Markham, Ontario)

Amazon

Pro: “Very supportive team mates who helped constantly raise the bar by asking the right questions and putting the foot down at the right time.” — Amazon Software Development Engineer Intern (Seattle, WA)

Con: “Less perks such as free food. Could be nice for some employees who are working late.” Amazon Software Engineer Development Intern (Seattle, WA)

Oh, and just for good measure, here’s the trailer for The Internship. Will it be good or a horrible train wreck? You decide.

Excerpt image c/o CollegeCandy