Edit - 6/10/11 in response to first batch of responses:
Wow, what a response. Let me speak to a few points.
- I already stated that I will have a curriculum, and my intention is to teach people the things that college courses don't prepare you for (the entire CI process and all the technologies it entails for one)
- All the people that complain about CS programs that don't prepare students to enter the workforce... where are you at? You seem to have left and invited the anti-taking-advantage-of-students brigade, and the you-cheap-bastard committee in your place.
- I didn't really want to advertise the fact that I was at a not for profit as I just trashed my IT department (and deservedly so) I doubt any of them will actually see this, but it was my preference to not make myself easier to identify to people in my organization
- I am not as convinced as many here seem to be that there are a lots of local business wanting interns (paid or not), but I will definitely feel it out with local schools if I decide to go forward
- Regarding being Cheap... seriously? I am a developer. Not a manager, not anybody with any ability to spend budget. I am trying to improve myself (by mentoring), others (interns, and by extension the community) my team, and my employer.
- I did not refer to useless CS grads. I referred to clueless CS grads. As in the many questions on this very forum that deal with the notion that CS grads know nothing about actually applying the technical skills they have acquired.
Just to give you an idea of where I am coming from...
I am a developer on a small team reporting to the business (yes, the business... we have a horrible, dictatorial IT division that refuses to meet business needs, hence several business development teams) in a fairly large company. My motivations for wanting interns include:
- Bettering my own skills, (technical and otherwise) by mentoring others
- Teach interns (and even coworkers) ideas and methods for software construction that go beyond just solving a biz problem (readable/maintainable code, benefits of design and testing, etc
- Accelerate adoption of .Net on the team
- Help solve the problem that we all complain about - that being clueless CS grads
I don't, for one second, believe that getting unpaid interns will be free labor. Before even going down that path, I will have setup an entire CI setup, which will of course be one of the benefits to the interns. I will also have to find a small project, or a piece of a project that can be broken off and given to interns to chew on. I will have a bit of a curriculum, which will include introduction to all the technologies involved in the CI, and other software development concepts. I will also be prepared to spend time with them every day to help set direction and help out when they hit a wall.
I've been kicking this idea around in my head for a bit now, and the recent questions have prompted me to post. I was actually surprised to see such a negative reaction to unpaid internships, but then again maybe it is the norm that unpaid internships aren't that helpful for the intern?
Anybody with experience with interns (either being one, or teaching one) have any thoughts?