3 years, part time, $0.

I used to volunteer my time to an old text based rpg, handling code changes, sysadmin maintenance and the likes - back when those were a thing in the mid 2000's and money wasn't my issue in life - free for them, experience for me - win win!

Was something to get my hands dirty back in the day and contribute to an active community, but since then that place has shut down and been disbanded.

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    oh I wish new generations still had this perspective and saw such free work as a win-win :)

    Now everyone cries that this is abuse of their time.

    btw, just curious, how old are you? pre-80? pre-90? pre-2k?
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    @netikras late 80's kid, and yea free work isn't necessarily a bad thing, if it adds to you're experience overall it can be beneficial without the currency exchange, that CV doesn't write its self at the start if you're career.

    But at the same time, there's fine line between slave labour and volunteering.
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    I'm from 95 and I can assure you even at my age things are exactly the same. I started with helping people just fixing their PC, then their internet, then server maintainance and now improvements and coding while still I'm studying. I've always worked for free because for me that's free experience and that's the thing I value the most. Reading your rant made me feel good, thank you man! You are not alone!

    Since a couple of years I've been in love with Linux now, can't get enough of it, I just love how when something breaks (and it will break) you can simply fix it by yourself entirely and enter in contact with many people to help them as well.
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    > free work

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    That reminds me of another open source text based ant war game someone tried to design with the help of reddit community. It was(is) a nice project, i Contributed actively when it was in the initial state. Then i got busy, a lot other contributers also got busy and currently its having a very slow progress.
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    I feel the same, used to make userscripts for text based online games (Utopia). It was great, learned a lot.

    Now im doing a lot more complex stuff for a game mod, but we get donations, so its not exactly free.
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    @netikras It's not a generational thing in a way you might think. It's not that the newer generations don't value experience or possibilities the learn and practice what they love to do. The problem is nowadays a lot more people go to IT not because they are interested in it but because they think it's easy money. Of course these guys wont go near you if they don't get paid for it.
    But there are still many of us in the current generation who think of our jobs as our hobbies and we will sacrifice our time even if its for free if we aren't dependent on that money to put food on the table. But yeah its still sad that there are so few of us at least where im from and went to uni.
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    @soulevans07 Good to know, thanks :) After all the fights I got in devs' FB groups (Lithuanian ones) I have not seen a single comment at least remotely suggesting that free internship could be a good thing :) Everyone seems to want easy money, and want it now. "How dare they even advertise they are offering free internships!!" (that's a quote).

    Even though most of those guys are still students they want to be paid for job they have no idea how to do, and they want to be paid good.

    And it's not just a FB fight. I have HR people in family and all the stories they keep telling...

    Like this one guy was a student, applied for a Junior role, hardly passed tech interview and was demanding for a 8k+€ salary.

    When you keep hearing stories like this, when you see everyone demanding €€ for job they are not qualified to do -- you come to think everyone is like that nowdays.
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    Oh the sweet sting of memory I got my hands dirty in coding with an old MUD... which was also one of the reasons why I never graduated as I spent more time implementing/playing rather than studying.
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    @netikras it's not entirely young people's fault. On the other side of your story, HR are notorious for low balling candidates. The general advice I have received is never accept the first offer and ask for more than you actually deserve because it'll be negotiated.
    The free internships aren't always good work. Often people get stuck doing grunge work, doing things the senior devs can't be bothered to do.
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    @dr-ant hr will not bother negotiating if you start with delusional numbers :) but I agree with you, negotiation is a must in this matter. A reasonable negotiation :)

    while doing shitty work for free is not enjoyable, I'm not sure I agree that it must be paid. Shitty or not - it's still BAU work. If you are going into the field you must be prepared for the fact that it's not always gonna be puppies and kittens. Like this one time we had an intern in unix sysadmin role. We did not trust him with credentials [considering the type of a company] so we delegated him to working with vendors and arranging hardware maintenance: logging change requests for DC folks. If he wanted to learn smth on the shell we used to sit him in either of ours chair and play arround in some DEV boxes while we look over the shoulder and advice if needed.

    Logging CRs and dealing with vendors is a shitty job. But it is a bau and it is a huge part of our day. It was a useful lesson for him [where else would you practice dealing with unix vendors? :) ], albeit a boring one. Even so I would not feel abused in his shoes even if I wasn't paid. Instead I'd be thankful for the oppurtunity to see what the sysadmin "kitchen" looks like, how is workload managed and being able to work with tools you can only get your hands on IN that kitchen and nowhere else.

    I mean even if as an intern you were asked to monitor alerts in OEM. Where else would you get a chance to learn how to work with OEM? It's a boring role, yes. But it's a valuable experience and you still get to look around. Even for free!

    Boy there was a time where I would have considered paying companies just to get my hands on some enterprise or niche tool, to learn how it works 😁

    Even if it seems like you are being abused/underused, you are not making coffee or wiping the floor. You are in there, learning to do the specialist's work. Sometimes only nasty work, sometimes - all of it. It's still hell of a valuable xp! Even when for free.
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    @netikras I think it depends on situation. In some places, if you're self sufficient, financially doing alright, all of the things you mentioned are alright.
    Interns need money too. Again depending on countries, cultures, it might not be a problem for most but for some it is.

    My experiences are not universal but it's not bad to watch out for exploitation. Not in terms of hours or money. An unpaid internship isn't much use if you don't get to learn the thing that you got in for. If the interns don't have full access to code or tools or learning resources, then there's very little they can do.
    Your example is an ideal case. If more jobs are like the ones you did, I wouldn't care much about money either.
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    this is nice
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    Living on my own without any parental assistance in an expensive area with a bunch of background experience but lacking the collage degree, the only thing that kept me afloat were paid internships. I knew if I took an unpaid internship I wouldn't be able to pay rent and eat anymore. I understand my situation was an edge case but for some people paid internships are the only thing they can get.

    If it weren't for those opportunities I wouldn't be a software developer today. The barrier to entry otherwise would just be too high.
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    @netikras I thought my rant was getting pretty long, then I saw yours XD
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    @andpeterson sorry, I like writing 😁
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    @soulevans07 Even though i could only afford paid internships this is the reason why I would work for 80-100 hours a week often during my summer internships. It was a hobby for me. I loved developing the systems I was working on.
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    A story to tag along to your comment. When I worked as a SWE at an escape room company I was paid hourly with a strict schedule. I would have to come in on specific days at specific hours and for exactly 8 hours. (Typically 2-3 days a week) It killed my productivity cause I could hardly remember what I was doing half a week ago sometimes. And when my shift was over I couldn't bring anything home or work overtime so any momentum or excitement I built was lost. I would occasionally do work at home and redo it at work cause I just really needed to solve it that night. Other co-workers would write code at home and "license the code to the company" just cause they were passionate about their projects...
    Terrible time...
    Maybe I should write some rants about this company sometime...
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    @netikras finally finished reading your rant. I think that certain internships pay too high. I was getting 95k/yr salary if I was full-time. It's a lot of money for someone who is basically kind of there to learn and maybe build something decent. But I also had worked hard to pass rigorous interviews. To prove that I should be there.

    With that said inexperienced employees (which interns basically are, especially an indefinite internship) need to be able to afford to work in the place they are. This internship was in one of the more expensive cities in the US. So rent for the summer, food, transportation, and other necessities may then pull out a chunk of the income earned.

    I understand your point of view and your arguments. I think it's down to the individual. Some students have the money/time to contribute. Others may not be able to provide those resources without knowing they can get by the next day. The current market I feel offers both options pretty well
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    @andpeterson I hear you loud and clear.

    No offence, but IMO that's a PoV of lazy students :) A true student will always find a way. Get a late evening job at some caffee, restaurant, club, etc. to get his earnings to live in there. Nights are for studying and sleeping. Days are for intern job. Also I've found it's often possible to agree with the workplace to have shorter working hours. That way there is still some time for personal needs.

    After all internship is just a few months.

    I know, this sucks. But it works and it is doable. I had to adopt a similar model at some time back in my life and it did work.
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    @netikras I see your point. I was fortunate to have the ability to put all of my focus into a single job. During the school year I'd often be working 3 other jobs. So really my internship was a relief from the previous school year.

    Though I'd also like to argue that because they were taking care of my needs for the summer. I was able to return the favor by devoting my entire summer to my work for them. Instead of working two jobs, I was able to invest 80+ hours a week into my work for them.
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    @andpeterson I agree with you, when a student does not have to bother thinking how to get another job and how to survive when you spend 6 hours sleeping and another 10 not making any $$ it makes his/her life and learning his/her stuff much easier. But then again it does not mean that the harder way means he/she is abused by the employer or that the employer is somehow exploiting him. And the situation is wrong to be called slavery as the student still gets a lot from it:
    - experience
    - connections
    - learns how to operate efficiently is tough conditions [need for $$]

    I very much agree, free internship w/o financial safety is hell of a pain in the ass. But being hard doesn't make it wrong. Even more - this way makes you *think* and *act* strategically in order to survive and achieve your goals. And this is another very valuable skill you would never learn if you had it all on a silver plate - the easy way. How else would you learn to operate under critical conditions these days? :)
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    I was wondering what is the meme behind $0- bash
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