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How Much Do Software Engineer Interns Make?

How Much Do Software Engineer Interns Make?

In this article, I'm going to be talking to you about how much software engineering interns make. Now I'm not just going to be looking at websites and taking all of the information that you guys can look up yourself. I'm actually going to walk you through some of the jobs offers that I've been given for a software engineering intern position. And talk about the difference in compensation between US tech companies and Canadian tech companies.

Now not to spoil anything, but as you guys know, if you work in the US you get paid a lot more than if you work in pretty much any other country for software engineering. And I was pretty surprised at how much less I actually was offered for an internship position in Canada than I was in the US even for the exact same company.


So in this article, I'm actually going to share with you some real figures. I'm going to tell you exactly what I was paid when I worked at Microsoft, what I was offered from Shopify and what I was offered for my second internship for Microsoft, which I actually declined. And then I'll talk to you about things like signing bonus, relocation, and then just some other kind of salary figures that I know for people that work in this space, and that has worked as software engineering interns at other large companies, like say, Tesla, Google, Facebook, Amazon, so on and so forth.

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Average Salaries/Compensation

So I'm just going to start by stating that I totally know that these numbers are extremely inflated and very high than I'm about to show to you. The reason for that is I'm kind of taking this information from very large, big tech companies.

Of course, if you're working for smaller tech companies, maybe not as say name-brand tech companies, startups, stuff like that, your compensation is going to be drastically less than what I'm putting here. That doesn't mean that's a bad job. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take it.

And of course, these jobs that I'm talking about are very difficult to get, and there are hundreds of thousands of students and just other people that want to work in these internship positions. So it is somewhat justified that you get paid that much.

but anyways, I just want to say, I'm totally aware. This is not the average salary for a software engineering intern. This is more referencing big tank companies, uh, kind of the Facebook, Amazon, Microsofts of the world.

Some base salaries for different tech positions


At least ones that I was offered and that I worked in. So let's start with the internship that I actually did. This was at Microsoft. I started in May of 2020 finished in, I guess, August of 2020. And I worked there for 12 weeks. So I had three months working at Microsoft and the base salary that they offered me 7,850 US dollars per month.


So for me in Canada, that is a ton of money. I mean, even in US dollars, that's a ton of money anyway, but that was 10,900 Canadian dollars at the time, do the exchange rate being something like 1.27, from US dollar to Canadian dollar.

The reason why I was paid in us dollars

Because my job position was actually in Redmond, Washington at Microsoft Homebase. So that's like where the offer was for. And I had actually flown it to Redmond Washington at done the onsite interviews in kind of early January of 2020. And then obviously the pandemic happened. And then we moved to work from home.

However, since I had signed a US job offer, they had to pay me the same compensation that I had signed. And so I was paid out in Canadian dollars from the Microsoft Canada office, but what the US compensation was that they offered me.

So hopefully that makes sense, but that's kind of the reason why I was getting a US rate, even though I was working in living in Canada. It was because before the pandemic happened, I'd signed the job offer to work in the US, and then they couldn't allow me to actually go to the US because of the pandemic. And so they kept the same compensation, everything, but just switch the currency to Canadian dollars and did the appropriate conversion.

Some other base salaries and differences between working in Canada vs working in the US even just at an intern level


So first of all, I got a return offer from Microsoft that I actually declined. I'm not going to be working on Microsoft for this year for an internship. Again, the reason why they gave me another internship is that I was too young to have a full-time position. right now, I'm technically in my third year of university, just finishing that. and so they had to give me another internship.

Anyways, the salary for that internship was the exact same 7,850 US dollars per month. And then they actually offered me a 5,000 US dollars signing bonus for returning as an intern. One more time. Now, when they sent me that offer. So the second kind of return offer the assumption was I would actually be working in Seattle, Washington, or I'd be working in Redmond, Washington. I always mix up Seattle and Redmond.

They're kind of right beside each other, in Washington state. anyways, that's what they offered me. So they offered me a 7,150 plus a $5,000 signing bonus. And then what happened is they realized that I wasn't actually going to be able to go to Redmond again because of the pandemic. And so what they did is they retracted that offer from me.

And then they gave me another offer based on the location I was going to be working in, which was kind of the Toronto area in Canada.

Now this second offer that they gave to me was drastically different than they actually have it in front of me right now. I'm looking at it to make sure I don't get this wrong. And the compensation then that they offered me for the kind of Canadian position was only $5,300 Canadian per month.

So I'm not saying only as if that's not a lot of money, but relative to what they had offered me before. That's about half so previously, it was like 10,900 Canadian. Now it's 5,300 Canadian dollars. And the reason why that compensation is so much lower is the cost of living and whatever other reasons they want to state.

But essentially because I was working in Canada, they pretty much sliced my compensation in half. And then they even reduced the signing bonus to 3,500 Canadian dollars.

And of course, there's a lot more stuff that happens when you're going to be a full-time employee, but that is kind of the base salary. And then I guess, signing bonuses that I was offered now.


The last internship position that I was offered was at Shopify in Canada. So this was actually in the Ottawa office for Shopify and I was offered $33 an hour as a backend developer intern. Now I'd be working 40 hours a week. So that's $1,320 per week, that's about $5,280 a month. So that's about on track with what a Microsoft Canada offer letter.

My experience

So that's kind of my experience with salaries and signing bonuses from tech companies at an intern-level position, but I'll tell you about a few of my friends. I won't obviously name them, either told me the salaries they were making.


So one of my friends worked at Tesla, and first of all, he said that working at Tesla was great. It was a really good time, but all interns were pretty much expected to be working 60 plus hours a week. So take that into consideration. When I tell you this number, he said that during his first year working at Tesla, he was getting paid 13,000 Canadian dollars per month to work there as an intern.

He was working on the back end and doing something with like autonomous vehicles. I mean, you know, that sounds very generic because that's what Tesla does, but he was actually working on the AI side of that and some server component or something along those lines.


Then had a few people that worked at Google that I knew, and they were making about $11,500 Canadian per month. and that's pretty much all that I can remember. there are a few other people that I knew that worked on it at Amazon and all of that, but I don't think they ever shared their salaries with me. So anyway, that is kind of the range for working for large, big tech companies.

Now, of course, that is in the US like, you have to work in the US to make that kind of money, but obviously even coming to Canada, $5,300 a month for no experience and learning a ton and having this on your resume is obviously not a bad gig whatsoever.

Other aspects of compensation

So now I'm going to move on to the other aspects of compensation because that's not the only thing that they give you when you work at these large tech companies. A lot of the times there's relocation, lump-sum payments, there's like vacation pay tax. Gross-up all kinds of other things that actually are worth considering, kind of as a part of your total compensation for these companies.

So for Microsoft specifically, what they offer me in terms of kind of extra compensation was relocation payment or relocation lump-sum.

So it was kind of two options when it was assumed

I was actually going to be flying out to Redmond and working in, in Redmond, Washington option one was Microsoft will arrange and pay for all of your housings.
You'll live in whatever their corporate housing is. You don't really have a choice on where you're going to be, or if you have roommates or any of that kind of stuff, but they'll arrange it for you, they'll pay for it for you. So that was the first option.

The second option was Microsoft will pay you a lump- sum, 7,000 us dollars, and you arrange your own housing, um, when you're actually working for Microsoft.

Now, there was another aspect of that. There was also, I'm calling that relocation, but there was another like travel kind of incentive or travel bonus, whatever you want to call it, where they would pay for your plane ticket, bare and back, or they would cover all of your expenses related to driving to your internship and driving back, including a one-night hotel stay or something like that.

And then they also will reimburse you for all expenses related to travel. So like, if you ate meals at the airport or stuff like that, then they would pay you back for that.

Finally, they also had a rental car option. This is what I was actually going to do when I was going to be working at Microsoft. And I thought I was going to be flying out there. they have partnerships with once a bunch of rental car companies.

And so I think they had a rate of like $300 per month that they offered to interns to rent out some, some vehicle. Now that's a lot cheaper than if you were to rent it just straight from the rental car company.

So something to consider finally

As a part of the kind of remote, offer letter or whatever you want to call it, they also included equipment. So they provided you. I'm looking right here. I actually, it doesn't say exactly how much money, but they provided you with the laptop monitor, keyboard, mouse, docking station headset, and something else. And actually, at the end of my first internship, I did at Microsoft, since it was remote, all of that stuff that they offered to me, I got to keep, except for the laptops, I got to keep the docking station, the monitor keyboard mouse headset, and then I had to send back the actual laptop and the laptop they sent you is like pretty souped-up, like, you know, a good, nice computer so I can understand why they wanted it back.

Added Benefits

Other than that, there's a ton of other, just kind of like random miscellaneous things that they'll give you. For example, there's like a free gym membership. There's a tax gross-up. A tax gross-up means that since all of these kinds of relocations things are considered taxable income.

So like if you get paid, you know, $5,000 from Microsoft to relocate, to Redmond, Washington, for example, you have to pay tax on that amount. Microsoft will actually pay a portion of that tax for you to the government so that it offsets your kind of tax burden. They call that a tax gross-up. Other than that, I'm looking through the kind of offer right now. There's a 4% vacation pay. obviously, you get all of your staff holidays and I think that's pretty much it's related to compensation for these companies.

Now I will say the Shopify offer had a few things related to this as well. Obviously, there weren't any relocation bonuses because I was actually close enough that I could have walked to work when I was living in Ottawa and would have been working at the Shopify Ottawa office.

But they did provide you with $1,200 towards like a fitness and gym kind of budget type of thing. So if you wanted to buy a bike or you want to get a gym membership or anything like that, then you could use the $1,200 they provided you to do that.

They also provided, what does it money for remote work? So one of my friends who worked at Shopify was given I think 1200 or $1,500 to build her own home office, buy a monitor, whatever she wants, and then they provided a laptop as well.

Last words

So anyway, I think that's all I really needed to talk about related to compensation as an intern at these tech companies is relatively SIM similar to a full-time position, except you're not getting stuck. At least, I don't know any interns that have gotten stock at these different companies, but these salaries are just crazy high.

It kind of blew my mind when I was actually offered that salary the first time, and then even comparing it to Canadian salaries, right. It just goes to show you that if you want to make real money working in the US is really the place to be, or at least working remotely with a US job offer.

So what always, I hope this gave you guys some insight. I apologize if it was kind of all over the place, just trying to give you all of the information that I have. If you found this article helpful, make sure to comment below.

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