[nycbug-talk] Thoughts on Creating Internship Programs?

Isaac Levy ike at blackskyresearch.net
Fri Aug 19 11:43:09 EDT 2011

Hi All,

So I was inspired a while back by an internship program at my old company, (but not in the tech groups- in Business/Product development).  Essentially, the project pulled candidates from local schools, gave them well-defined projects to complete during their term, and the results were really excellent- the energy and ideas that the interns brought was amazing.

With that, I'm trying to think of how to create a similar program, in a Systems-Engineering (SysAdmin) group.  Aside from the idea of bringing people in to push projects through, I love the idea of all the fresh energy- and the temporal nature of having 'guests' working on deck- it's selfish really, I want the fresh eyes and ideas on deck.

However, I'd really love to hear people's thoughts on:


SA Interns (contrary to other types of groups), have some obvious issues:

- Liability carried at the Systems Admin/Engineer station
(obviously can't walk the interns/temps in and hand them root or privileged sys internals, in spirit)

- Stringent Requirements of Systems Engineering
when Sys tools break, (N) developers to the (N)th business peoples wail, (at high cost to the business)

- Overall Systems Complexity
Without a terrific amount of oversight, (or extremely well defined projects), there is risk that SA interns could leave behind well intentioned, yet structurally inappropriate implementations- (e.g. wow, where did this ldap store come from, and why does the website now stop functioning when we turn it off?)  This could be quite damaging...

Problem is, these are all valuable 'real-world' components of Systems Engineering / Systems Administration- (or any tech team responsible for operations and maintenance).  It's of little use to me to bring on an intern, (or any SA IHMO), and just turn them into gruntwork-slaves, even though we all know how much grunt-work is involved in any job or task...

IDEAS FOR  INTERNS, SysAdmin / Systems Engineering

- Working in-house on Open Source/Public projects which directly benefit the company, (ala Google summer of code type attitude)?
(but then what's compelling to bring an Intern in-house?)

- Working on one or two extremely well-defined projects?
(but then what value do they take that's different than the structure of a classroom?)

- Work on redundancy oriented projects, e.g. DB Replication and failover, other systems replication and failover, writing overall "Systems Regressions Testing" tools?

Hrm.  Would love to hear what people think- I'm now really serious about trying to create a program.


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