Business

You won’t believe how much these Silicon Valley interns are earning (in 2 charts)

Silicon Valley’s greenhorn high school interns are raking in a lot more dough than the average American, Businessweek reported yesterday.

The average intern salary of big data monolith, Palantir, is $7,012/month, or almost double San Francisco’s per capita income ($3,939, measured in 2012 dollars). Starved for top talent, tech giants are recruiting the nation’s top young minds — not just with dollars but also with personal meetings with their celebrity CEOs.

“When I got the e-mail saying — oh my God — Mark Zuckerberg wants to meet you, I had to make sure nobody was playing a prank on me,” one young coder told Businessweek.

The chart below shows how Silicon Valley’s top monthly intern salaries compare to each other, to the average San Francisco internship payout, and to a traditional retail internship.

(Note: the numbers are based on GlassDoor data, while retailer Nordstrom’s hourly wage is an estimate, converted to a monthly salary based on a 40-hour work week.)

Interestingly enough, Silicon Valley isn’t a treasure trove for everyone. The industry’s meritocratic tendencies also extend to intern pay: The highest Facebook intern makes seven times as much as the lowest. That’s nearly twice the inequality of the average San Francisco internship, and four times the inequality of retail internships.

So, Bay Area parents, get those kids coding early — it may be the only path that doesn’t land them back in your basement after college.


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.
29 comments
Bijay rai
Bijay rai

Intern Salary 7000.. same as in Nepal...
simple difference is only $ and Rs.

Stefan Caliaro
Stefan Caliaro

Let kids choose who they want to be (with some guidance), but don't force them into something just because it pays. It's not the way they'll be happy.

Owen Brunette
Owen Brunette

In repeated Sunday afternoon experiments with my two year old I'm finding that teaching the reading and writing prerequisites is more of a challenge. Next it's the abstract visualization and I'm not sure that's even teachable.

Nathan Arce
Nathan Arce

Guys, these aren't just high school interns. Interns include college students, too.... The people getting 8k/mo are at least seniors in college, if not working towards a graduate degree; the people getting 1k/mo at facebook are where the actual high schoolers are....


This author just took a bunch of raw data from glassdoor and started embellishing it with bullshit. There's no reason that glassdoor would have a section of data limited to high school interns for these companies.

Christian Montiel
Christian Montiel

I want to die Katherine Willcox Nabilah Jiwani Whitney Anderson

Chioke McRae
Chioke McRae

Must be a slow day. This information has only been posted over and over for months on months by big and small tech blogs.

Noah Ouellette
Noah Ouellette

Yeah they will end up in your garage if they code.

Carla Gentry
Carla Gentry

Hmmm, yes.. great idea but that would require a math course or two (brick wall for some unfortunately) agree that if we get them young (before HS stomps their creativity out of them) we have a better chance of success!

Oliver Antonio Fajardo
Oliver Antonio Fajardo

@xiaohang Jay Chen, if you lived in the Bay Area you would know this is all too common.

Xiaohang Jay Chen
Xiaohang Jay Chen

You do know that it's solely based on data from Glassdoor, right?

Mike Harm
Mike Harm

OH NO! Pay inequality!!! Ever heard of work inequality? Maybe the 8K a month guy at Facebook is a developer genius and the 1K/month guy is a coffee grabber who just sits there and plays online all day? Stop villanizing businesses who are giving opportunities to the truly talented just because they aren't being "fair"... I have skills that some other people don't have. Others have skills that I don't. I don't expect them to get paid the same to do my job as I do, nor would I theirs.

Mike Donelly
Mike Donelly

@Mike Harm I see no vilification. Just facts.