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I am finishing my master degree and currently employed in my area (Machine learning) in a startup. I know about open positions for an internship in the area in NVIDIA. I would really like to work there, I think it would a great place to work and to grow in my career. However I wonder if it would make sense to apply for an internship there if I am already employed. On one side I feel that making the internship there would pay off in the future by the growth opportunities and salary. However this would mean a step back in my career. Does it make sense? Is a renowned company worth enough working there as intern? Of course it would be great to join there for a full time employment instead, but it seems to me much harder than to join as intern. Am I wrong?

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    I think this boils down to what you want in the end. It's your career, your money, your experience. Changing companies is something that could make sense, but the question is if that's what you want right now?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 17:29
  • How long have you been employed in your current role?
    – sf02
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 20:57
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    I think doing an internship while being employed would raise questions or eyebrows in an interview since it doesn't make a lot of practical sense and call your devotions into questions.
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 21:17
  • @sf02 about 8 months
    – Manveru
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 9:06
  • @JoeStrazzere I wanted to work there because it seems to me that it would offer the best growth opportunities and best salary in the long term. Also because Nvidia is a name recognizade everywhere, while my current employer is not. However I dont know if these things are really true or that relevant as it seems to me
    – Manveru
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 9:09

2 Answers 2

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"Company renown" and company size are... not all that. Going from "I'm getting paid a reasonable salary" to "I'm working for free" is generally a poor choice. If you signal that you're willing to take that much of a hit to your income in order to work for them, they will exploit that, and the salary they offer will be adjusted accordingly.

If your current job is giving you reasonable income and opportunities for growth, then stay where you are. If it's not, then you should be looking for positions elsewhere... but going from "masters degree with pertinent work experience" to "intern" is basically not going to be worth it ever. The fact that you're hanging an "exploit me" sign around your own neck would be too much of an issue all by itself.

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  • I believe many companies (particularly bigger ones) will pay their interns. In countries like Canada, companies are actually legally required to pay their interns (HootSuite is an example). The junior role at the smaller company might not pay well, so going to work as an intern at a bigger company might not be that much of a step down. Having said that, I do believe OP should be looking for positions at or above his current level (and not internships).
    – zmike
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 18:42
  • @zmike Interns are sometimes paid. They're basically never paid as much as actual workers in the field. In my experience, salary is not particularly strongly influenced by size of company overall, though it's possible that this particular small company does not pay well.
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 18:59
  • They also almost always don't have the same employee rights. They are certainly, if they are paid, will be the first to go when a budget hit comes. They are also potentially not permanent hires.
    – Donald
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 3:14
  • @BenBarden yes... you have a great point that i haven't thought about. And the internship position in question is paid, but it would be less than what I get indeed.
    – Manveru
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 9:10
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No, internships are for students to bridge the education-to-work-environment gap, and you're already working in the field.

Additionally, your experience at a startup is far, far more valuable since you are potentially executing a larger range of activities with smaller teams to meet your goals. Moving to a larger company means many of those related roles are filled by entire teams — e.g. the UI, marketing, UX design are handled by an entirely different groups and you rarely interact.

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