Interns bring in fresh, new perspectives to companies, offer employers mentorship opportunities and just as importantly, can help you complete necessary tasks to keep things running according to schedule. 

The market for interns is more competitive than ever before, with talented candidates looking for challenging responsibilities and learning opportunities to build their resumes. The days of having them do mundane tasks like making copies and doing coffee runs are long gone! 

IT interns can be especially helpful for employers of all sizes, and savvy managers know to prioritize the onboarding and training processes for their internship programs.

How to Find Skilled IT Interns

Before hiring an intern (or starting an internship program), you’ll need to determine what your IT needs are and establish how your program can be mutually beneficial. You can hire them on a project or a position basis, keeping in mind that their hours will be limited if they are still in school. 

Internships can be unpaid or paid; unpaid ones are for companies that comply with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) internship regulations or nonprofits. Paid internships have to meet minimum wage standards for your state, through hourly rates or an internship stipend.

To find skilled interns you can research local colleges, universities and trade schools. Many manage internship programs for their students, so try contacting their career centers. It’s not a bad idea to reach out to faculty members who teach the types of courses that you’d hope your interns will be taking. Teachers and professors are often glad to suggest students who will be good fits. Sometimes, companies put up notices on school bulletin boards when they are seeking interns; another option is to post them on job boards like Indeed.com.

How Can an IT Intern Help My Company?

The three main things that an IT intern can do for you are to support the IT team with maintaining software, hardware and other systems; organize, maintain and troubleshoot IT resources; and provide IT support in areas like cybersecurity, analytics, data center management and programming. 

They can be taught to address problems with servers, computers, networks and other tools and equipment. IT interns can research hosting options for you, prepare pricing and system option analyses, and assist with the development of new applications, servers and desktops.

You can also have your IT intern research any unusual bugs that have affected your systems. They can get involved with customer service as well, helping new clients set up their systems and assisting with tech support and maintenance. 

While it might be tempting to simply have your IT intern answer phones and perform other administrative tasks, doing this is a true waste of talent and resources and will not further their careers or your company’s objectives and goals.

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What Skills Should My IT Intern Have?

One of the most essential skills for an IT intern to have is a familiarity with software, physical, and network security. They can start out at your help desk and also be taught to install routers and firewalls. Data encryption, risk mitigation strategy, threat analysis and a knowledge of standards and compliance regulations are also big parts of IT security protocols. Here are some more experience categories to look for on intern applicant resumes:

  •       Operating systems like Windows, Mac, or Linux
  •       Cloud applications and administration with platforms like Oracle, Google Cloud, AWS, or Microsoft Azure
  •       Local, wide area, virtual private and storage area networks
  •       Programming languages like JavaScript, PowerShell, Python, Ruby and C++
  •       Data analysis
  •       Machine learning – a subset of artificial intelligence
  •       DevOps

You likely will not find a perfect match, but this is to be expected, since internships are designed to provide hands-on learning experience. The interviewing phase will help you decide on the best candidates and remember, whoever you choose might be able to teach you a thing or two as well!

Need more help with managed services or IT than an intern can provide? Give TAG Solutions a call! We offer a one-stop solution to all your MSP and IT service requirements. We are happy to help!