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I live in Australia. Recently, I failed a recent interview for a Full Stack software developer job but before the interview, they said I could do a unpaid internship with them. It was the third and final one. But it's likely I would need to change job to a casual one as the one I am on is full time so I would likely get burnt out from interning too.

The thing is I work in a customer service call center for a multinational software company that has a contract with a national telecommunications company.

The telecommunications company has many affiliated IT subsidiary companies I could possibly transition to and I have got an IT security certificate from the telecommunications company's online modules.

The technology company I do customer service for advises not to even ask about IT jobs in the first 6 months as they get so many requests. After 6 months they say they will have a think about it but cannot make promises.

I'm wondering if I'm better off where I am and doing open source project development online after work instead of the internship?

Or intern for a new company instead? I didn't get that many interviews but sometimes a few likely because they want some commercial experience.

UPDATE: 2022/12/25

FYI, I have done open source development and contributed to numerous repositories and got interviews from there. Just wondering if I can get more interviews if I were to intern instead of open source development.

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  • Is that the only interview you failed for this type of position and did you get any feedback in any of the interviews of what you need to improve and how far you are away from realistically getting such a role?
    – Helena
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 13:29
  • Which country are you in ? Also, is it a big multi-national company ? Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 23:15
  • @Helena I did get very good feedback. The most recent company said failing me was a tough call. I have failed over 5-6 interviews this year. As for how close I am, I have put blogs up on Medium which got published by third-party applications. Have contributed to numerous meetup tech talks which could be put on youtube. Also helped improved Microsoft's tutorial documentation. So realistically, I would say I am really close. Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 1:39
  • @Job_September_2020 Hi I'm in Australia. The multinational information technology services and consulting company was ranked in the top 10 of India's IT firms and in the top #50 on Fortune India 500 list for 2019. So yeah it's big. Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 1:46

2 Answers 2

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they said I could do a unpaid internship with them.

That would be a big red flag to me. It says "you are not good enough to be hired but we'll take your work if we can get it for free". That's zero commitment from their side and require a lot from yours.

At this point you are probably better off sitting it out for a while and keep looking for other opportunities on the side.

At least you have a job that pays the bills. Building an open source portfolio and then applying in six months for an IT job seems an ok strategy. If it doesn't work out, you can kick the job search into full gear.

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Unpaid interships are only acceptable when they are part of a tuition program.

First of all, they cannot assign you ANY responsibility AT ALL. They MUST provide with a tutor that will teach you, supervise and be held accountable for the work you do. An intern can never replace a staff developer.

The reason why such internships are unpaid sometimes, is because when they are executed under this terms, they are really a net loss to the company (the costs of having somebody teaching you outweigh the potential benefits from the work you may be doing).

Unfortunately, many companies disregard this basic requirement and treat interns just as "unpaid developers", with almost the same responsibilities as a normal developer and barely any help, which is frustrating and harmful to your career.

Moreover, while we don't know the specifics of your jurisdiction, it is generally required that internships be signed through academic institutions, so they cannot offer you an internship if you are already graduated and employed.

Therefore, unless you meet all these requirements, it is not a good idea to do an unpaid internship.

Volunteering for open-source development might be a better idea, and you could also focus on getting certified and improving your skills to improve in your interviews.

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