Ahead of this weekend's Google-approved summer movie/marketing stunt The Internship — a "two hour love letter to the idea of Google as... the perfect place to work" — a real-life Google intern has come forward with his side of what it's really like in the coding trences. And unlike the unpaid Intern horror stories we're so used to hearing, his time in Mountain View sounds even more fun than hanging out with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Rohan Shah, a 20-year-old student who took a leave of absence from the University of Illinois for a spring internship, made $4,000 a month, he told Business Insider's Alyson Shontell. That would come out to a yearly salary of $48,000 — half of the average Silicon Valley salary, but just above than the national average. And Shah didn't have to pay for rent, commuting, or food, which is where all of a twentysomething's money goes anyway. Yes, Google interns are pretty much rolling in dough.
Of course that money doesn't come without hard work, but Shah's experience doesn't sound at all like those 85-hour weeks Goldman Sachs interns have to endure to get their $15,000 per summer. Indeed, commenters on Glassdoor, the definitive job-review site, define Google interns as receiving better treatment than full-time employees. "All of the employees, all the way up to vice presidents, personally spend time with you and take your opinion," one intern wrote. Shah said Google mentors make extra time to meet "as frequently as the intern needs."
In addition to "a lot of work," Google also ensures its interns go home with good memories. "Shah recalls trips to museums, movies, hiking and biking excursions, as well as several trips to San Francisco, all organized by Google," writes Shontell at Business Insider. "He was the only intern on his Android team, and there were a lot of team dinners, including one on his 20th birthday." This is all before you get to the Mountain View campus's signature perks, to which every intern at HQ has access, too.
Shah's experience, of course, is just one very glowing remembrance of intern life at Google — the company approved his interview, just like it let Wilson and Vaughn film on campus. But Shah's $4,000-per-month payment does fall below the average salary for paid internships; typical base pay falls at $5,800-$6,500 per month, according to Glassdoor. Of course, many former interns also land gigs at Google at the end of their internships. Shah has yet to hear back from his interview, but it'll probably end up better than the early movie reviews for The Internship.