The highest-paying, most prestigious tech internships in 2023

highest paying internships in tech
Want to get one of the highest paying internships in tech? Get ready for cutthroat competition. Source: AFP

Securing the highest paying internships in tech might sound like a dream — and it’s easy to understand why you feel that way in 2023.

This year started with tech giants making headlines for cutting jobs with no remorse for the massive loss of human talent

Software giant Microsoft recently confirmed more job cuts on top of 10,000 layoffs in January. 

Approximately 174 tech companies have laid off over 56,000 employees in 2023, according to Forbes

Summer internship programmes for 2023 are reportedly facing cuts as well.

Such news makes it even harder for students to land internships with these top tech companies.

The process of applying is already known to be “cutthroat,” with companies imposing some or all of the following requirements:

  • Coding tests that applicants have to spend countless hours studying for
  • High-pressure technical assessments while an interviewer looks on
  • Enrolment in one of the best computing colleges
  • Industry connections

Having all of the above isn’t enough still. You need to submit them cold to online portals, where your hard work will be at first sorted and ranked by a résumé-reading software.

“To be honest with you, it’s a brutal process,” said Rose Shumba, the chair of Bowie State’s computer science department, to The New York Times.

What are my odds of getting one of the highest paying internships of 2023?

It’s not been easy for computer scientists and data scientists — and just as hard for computer science and data science students in universities.

With news of mass layoffs and an increasingly challenging internship application process, many students are left reeling over whether they chose the right subject and if they’ll have enough opportunities during and after their degree.

A prestigious internship used to be a golden ticket to working with some of the top tech firms in the world today. But the odds are tough:

  • Google was recently found to be more selective than Harvard which has a 3.19% admission rate for the Class of 2026
  • Adobe said it hires only 600 interns out of 100,000 candidates who apply to its US summer internship programmes

But don’t let these stats get you down. The upside is these companies advertise their openings a year in advance, so you can prepare.

Most internships start in September, January, and June and last two to three months to align with school semesters. 

And if you’re lucky to have career centres and employment fairs at your uni, maximise these as they can no doubt help get your foot in the door. 

It’ll all be worth it. Landing one of the highest paying internships in tech will not only give you invaluable experience and great pay but lifelong advantages as well (such as a full-time job offer).

Below are the highest paying internships in tech for 2023 and how much they pay:

highest paying internships

Google offers one of the highest paying internships in tech. Source: AFP

Google, Meta, Microsoft: Five highest paying internships in tech

1. Google

Google internships are some of the most sought-after in the world.  

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay of Google interns is US$9,483 per month — or up to US$24,000 or more (and not including housing stipends) for software engineering internships.

Beyond this, Google interns have access to work on interesting and meaningful projects. 

Every intern at Google has the chance to do work that has an immediate impact — from helping create products and services to gaining invaluable coding experience. 

As a software engineering intern at Google’s Mountain View office, Kaustubh Dighe works on an operating system (OS) developed by the company — specifically the Wi-Fi drivers that help OS communicate with network devices and connect to Wi-Fi. 

At the time of writing, he has updated drivers that will go into smart display devices that use the Fuchsia OS. 

Asked about the impact of his work, Dighe shares: “Having the opportunity to update a product that helps so many users has made me very proud.” 

There’s also the chance to meet and work with tech leaders around the world — hear it from Jiehua Wu, who interned at Google’s office in Zurich, Switzerland.

“I’ve met Google leaders Jeff Dean and Urs Hölzle in person, who are trailblazers in software engineering, and others working on cool projects across the company,” Wu shares.

He worked on creating a more accessible viewing experience for visually impaired people on Google TV and Android TV OS.

highest paying internships in tech

Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft Corp, a top IT firm that offers some of the highest paying internships in tech today. Source: AFP

2. Microsoft

Microsoft is listed as the second-best employer in the world — just after Samsung Electronics in Forbes 2022 World’s Best Employers list.

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay of Microsoft interns is US$8,386 per month

Here, interns get involved in a variety of projects from the get-go. They go through a structured programme for hands-on learning, working with a diverse team that respects and pushes each other to do their best. 

“The common notion on interns would usually be running errands, getting coffee or photocopying documents,” shares Kristel Tariman, a former intern at Microsoft. 

“Not at Microsoft. I was surprised when the projects given to me had impactful value for the company. 

She adds: “It was interesting to see that even as an intern, you are given the opportunity to make an impact on the company and experience it first-hand.”

During her time at Microsoft, Tariman was a technical account manager intern. She could attend client meetings, fly to different countries, sit for dedicated “intern learning weeks”, and more. 

To be a Microsoft intern, you need to be enrolled as a full-time student. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at — Microsoft offers internships for students at bachelor’s, master’s, MBA and PhD levels.

highest paying internships

According to a report released by Glassdoor in 2019 that detailed the 25 highest paying internships in the US, Apple pays interns a median of over US$6,667 per month. Source: AFP

3. Apple 

As one of the Big Five (a term to describe the most dominant and prestigious company in the US information technology industry), Apple can pay a competitive salary to their interns. 

According to a report released by Glassdoor in 2019 that detailed the 25 highest paying internships in the US, Apple pays interns a median of over US$6,667 per month.

In an interview with Insider, a former intern who only wanted to be identified as Brad recalled that interns are paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week and make double their regular hourly wage for working more than 60 hours per week.

They enjoy many other benefits too, according to HeySuccess. These include:

  • help in finding accommodation
  • medical coverage
  • a bike to get to the office every day

As Apple is used to recruiting interns from around the globe, it also supports international students in completing visa paperwork and handling complex travel arrangements.

Nate Sharpe, who claimed to be a former intern in the iPod Product Design group, wrote on Quora that he had the opportunity to be intimately involved with the products before they were launched and see the “gritty details” of past products, which include products that were not released in the market. 

Sharpe also claimed that everything outside the intern’s assigned department operates on a need-to-know basis. After all, secrecy is a top priority at Apple.

highest paying internships in tech

Tesla offers one of the highest paying internships in tech, with a base pay of US$47,837 annually. Source: AFP

4. Tesla 

The electric US car company has come a long way since it was founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003.

In 2020, Tesla was worth as much as the combined market cap of nine of the world’s largest automakers. 

A year later, it sold nearly one million cars, up 87% from its 2020 sales.

It’s not surprising to see that Tesla pays their interns significantly higher than many other companies. 

According to Glassdoor, the base pay of a Tesla intern is US$47,837 annually, with the opportunity to reap additional incentives worth US$22,255. 

Some of the benefits of pursuing an internship at Tesla include:

  • one-on-one mentorship
  • comprehensive healthcare
  • transportat support
  • employee stock purchase programme (depending on eligibility)
  • discounted merchandise
  • fitness programmes

If you live more than 50 miles away from your designated Tesla work site, you will be entitled to a relocation stipend. Tesla also offers housing for selected interns at Gigafactory Nevada.

On top of that, training and mentorship will be provided to get you up to speed, so that you will be able to align yourself to the standards and work ethic expected of a full-time worker at Tesla. 

The best part? Many interns at Tesla end up being hired as full-time workers.

highest paying internships

From Facebook to its latest app, Threads, the company develops social media applications for people to connect through their mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces. Source: AFP

5. Meta

Meta’s products are connected to our everyday lives. 

From Facebook to its latest app, Threads, the company develops social media applications for people to connect through their mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces. 

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total pay for a Meta intern is US$95,969 per year.

The estimated total pay for an intern at Meta is US$95,969 per year.

World-class mentors, an open culture, and opportunities to make a real impact are just a few reasons why its internship programme was ranked #1 by Glassdoor two years in a row. 

Interns will be paired with a mentor, receive support from their manager and have access to the entire Meta employee community to ensure their success.

By being a Meta intern, you’ll be considered for a returning offer if you’re a student seeking a full-time position after graduation or hoping to return for another internship the following year. 

You can expect to hit the ground running — most interns ship code or contribute to real-world projects in their first week.