For these whiz kids, summer is a career opportunity

Although finding a job this summer remains tough for young people amid the country's fitful economic recovery, a few lucky teenagers are getting a chance to work at Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD) and other hot Silicon Valley companies.

Indeed, for teens with coding skills, like 15-year-old James Anderson, the summer can provide an enriching job experience, in more ways than one. Anderson tells CBS News that he was paid $900 for two weeks of work for a tech startup, as well as travel expenses.

"They encouraged me because of how young I am to come out and learn," Anderson notes. "I'm friends with a lot of other high school coders, and a lot of them are working at startups."

Silicon Valley companies are hiring teens because it's become so competitive to hire employees with technical skills. Recruiting high school students is both a way to develop up-and-coming coders, as well as maintaining the companies' youth cultures, notes Bloomberg News.

LinkedIn started hiring high school students two years ago, while Facebook has begun hiring interns before they enroll in college. With programs such as Hour of Code, as well as camps and schools teaching coding at an early age, students are developing hacking skills before enrolling in single college-level computer science class.

Tech companies have long offered lucrative summer employment prospects to college or graduate students, bucking the trend of unpaid internships, which are often the norm for media and arts-based industries. In Silicon Valley, tech interns often make far more than the median U.S. household.

The top-paying internship can be found at Palantir, a maker of data analysis software founded by PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists. The going monthly rate for a Palantir intern is $7,012, which would equate to more than $84,000 annually, according to employment site Glassdoor. That's almost two-thirds more than the U.S. median household income of $52,046.

The employment picture is far less rosy for most young people, with job prospects for teenagers the worst since 2010, according to an analysis from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Only 661,000 teenagers gained jobs in June, down 12 percent since a year earlier. Some of that may be due to teens getting frustrated with job searches, while others may be devoting time to sports or other summertime activities, the outplacement firm said.

Challenger has some advice for teens who have scored neither a lucrative Silicon Valley job or one at the local burger joint: take an entrepreneurial attitude.

"Waiting for a neighbor to come around and ask you to mow the lawn is just as ineffective as filling out an online application and waiting for the phone to ring," Challenger, Gray & Christmas chief executive John Challenger said in a statement. "The job opportunities are not simply going to come to you. In this job market, you have to go out and aggressively pursue those opportunities."

  • Aimee Picchi

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Market Data

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Market News

Stock Watchlist