Summer internships in specialized fields offered to high school students often consist of little more than following around a professional and being a general purpose gofer. Being permitted or encouraged to work independently in an internship is more often the realm of college or graduate level programs, where a basic set of skills applicable to the internship can be guaranteed. But according to an article in The Bulletin of Bend, OR newspaper two high school students are doing just that as summer interns before their senior year at Facebook’s Pineville datacenter.
Joshua Crass, the Manager of Facebook’s datacenter, was quoted as saying “We wanted to give some high school students some opportunities for a technology work setting. Hopefully, they'll learn a lot about technology and working."
Working in conjunction with the principal of the local high school, five candidates were selected to go through the application process for the internships, which required the students to go through a process similar to that they would find in the real world, with the need to develop an appropriate resume and go through a formal interview process.
Once hired the two interns were given basic training on the datacenter and, according to the article “ready to replace servers on their own.” They are in the trenches, assisting in the ongoing process of datacenter hardware maintenance, helping the installation and upgrade of compute and networking resources.
If successful, this internship program brings an interesting issue to light. If the skills necessary to handle routine datacenter maintenance are well within the grasp of bright, motivated high school students, why shouldn’t datacenter operators invest in having only a few highly trained and certified personal available, with the bulk of the datacenter physical operations team being entry level personnel trained in little more than swapping hardware trays?