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EA's Summer Interns Weigh In 73

MTV's games site has a piece looking at what it means to be a summer intern at EA. The article explores the experiences of three interns who did far more than fetching coffee. From the article: "Gwynne Olson-Wheeler ... showed some of her intern work in a cubicle that wasn't hers -- she was spending her final weeks of the summer working on a different floor, on EA's under-wraps 'Simpsons' game. Meeting with her there would give away too many secrets. So instead she zapped some graphics work she did earlier in the season for 'Sims 2 Pets' onto her iPod and plugged into a computer at a less-sensitive area. The room where she set up was darkened by dropped blinds, most of them dotted with spent ammunition from the floor's many Nerf gun battles. On the walls, signs addressed the staff of another under-wraps EA game: 'Welcome Sims 3 team.'"
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EA's Summer Interns Weigh In

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  • No Sweatshop? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lovedumplingx ( 245300 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @04:39PM (#16108395)
    This article doesn't seem to highlight the same soul-crushing work ethic that other articles on EA has in the past.

    What gives? Is this an HR ploy to keep resumes coming in from fresh college blood?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MaineCoon ( 12585 )
      Or maybe it isn't like that (anymore)?

      Oh, wait, this is Slashdot, I could get lynched for suggesting that :-P
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Amouth ( 879122 )
        Alright guys.. i got the cat5... can someone lend me a rack and find his address....
    • No, but it does highlight the rampant corporate espionage that takes place... Perhaps colleges should teach ethics before recommending students for internships.
      • How about also teaching civics and Constitutional law to politicians (who spy on their citizens), ethics to CEOs (hello, HP?), and so on?
    • by RyoShin ( 610051 )
      It's the basics of how corporations work.

      Bring in new talent by showing them a bunch of great things, offering bonuses and potential raises and Nerf gun fights.

      Then, once they've moved and settles and worked for a year or two, you break out the slave labor and burn them endlessly, paying bonuses in Snickers and raises in Food stamps, and only giving them a rubber-band gun.

      Only a rubber-band gun...
      • by cheezit ( 133765 )
        You got a *bonus*? And a rubber band *gun*? I just got a rubber band...
        • by daeg ( 828071 )
          They *gave* you a rubber band? I had to *steal* mine...
        • Were you doing a European theatre re-enactment of World War 2, except you got the shaft and had to be on the Russian Side? (where every other soldier got a gun, the ones in between got the extra ammo)
    • With god as my witness, when i get out of college I WILL NEVER WORK FOR OR WITH EA!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by squisher ( 212661 )
      I was wondering the same thing. But then if you read a little bit into the article you can see that there is some cooperation going on with MTV and EA - therefore I would doubt that their article would highlight any bad sides of EA.

      Plus, as someone else noted, interns probably wouldn't see the bad sides, therefore the article is most likely not even omitting anything.
      • Plus, as someone else noted, interns probably wouldn't see the bad sides, therefore the article is most likely not even omitting anything.

        During my internships at different big tech companies, I was never shielded from the bad parts of the company. While you aren't directly participating in the long work hours, you definately get to see it. No matter what HR wants, the average worker is going to give the intern an idea of the good and bad of the company. I was co-oping at IBM when they were making chang

      • by Bobartig ( 61456 )
        The interns worked right along side everyone else in development.
    • by EEBaum ( 520514 )
      They're interns. They get to leave at the end of their 8 hour shift, regardless of how much they get done.
    • You hire interns as cheap slaves. But you better not treat them as such if you plan to use them as recruits. You get to see if they know their stuff for a month or two, you get to find out if you can work with them, wouldn't you want those that you can use to want to come back?
    • According to my friends at EA (who are full-time programmers), they said that after the EA-spouse incident, they've been very careful with overtime (8 hours of work per day). Now, employees pretty much have to "apply" to do overtime work...as in, request it from their managers who won't just trivially approve. So the situation has gotten a lot better.
  • Wow! Didn't realize universities had a "Masochism" major. Would an internship at the "Head On" testing lab count? Or even working at a recording studio doing nothing but cataloging Michael Bolton albums?
    • oblig. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      cataloging Michael Bolton albums?
      Why should I change my name? He's the one that sucks!
    • REALLY! that's a great deal!

      ...I admit it, I'ma Michael Bolton fan! I celebrate the guy's entire collection.
    • He's a no-talent assclown!
    • Cataloging Michael Bolton albums is easy... They all go in the round file. There's even an entire department devoted to handling the contents of the round file.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    three interns who did far more than fetching coffee.


    Sounds suspiciously like a Clinton/Monica like internship.

  • Weigh in? (Score:5, Funny)

    by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @04:48PM (#16108483) Homepage
    EA's Summer Interns Weigh In ...at 300 pounds!

    Well, that's what I expected. It's not like they ever let you out for exercise, unless you consider the giant corporate hamster wheels.
    • "EA's Summer Interns Weigh In ...at 300 pounds"

      Well, since there's three of them, that's an average of 100 pounds each. So they're the skinny-type coders, not the hefty ones...

      Or that could be their wages as interns, in which case it's not slave labor, it's slave labour.... o.O
  • Interns should be especially weary of the Network Use Policies: no plugging in devices without prior approval....she could be taking down the company with that iPod hard drive...load it up with everything you got and sell it to RockStar
  • by lewp ( 95638 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @05:08PM (#16108709) Journal
    This is the true story
    Of 137 students
    Picked to live in some cubicles for a summer
    And have their lives... what lives?

    To find out what happens
    When people stop being polite
    And...

    (the four who survived our reeducation facilities) ...start getting real
  • eh?
  • What a joke (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by zymano ( 581466 )
    "The top schools EA pulls from are Ringling College and USC. No interns come from the so-called gaming trade schools like Full Sail and Digipen, because McCreary and her team prefer the depth of education offered at more established colleges."

    Look up discrimination.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by radish ( 98371 )
      Since when was judging candidates on their qualifications a problem? When I'm hiring I look for evidence of a candidate's skills and capabilities. If they have no work experience (they're interns after all) then all I have to go on is their school work. Which school they're at says a lot about the quality of the education they will be getting.
      • For people who want to work for your company but happened to have chosen the wrong school, possibly because it was the school that they can afford, how do you suggest that they get the proper work experience?

        • Well, if they're like my stepfather, who never got a degree, they get crappy under-paying jobs until they've got enough work experience to get someone to look past their education. Then they discover that despite having no formal education this person is an amazing programmer, and start paying him shed loads of money in order to keep him around.

          Results may vary. Life is unfair. :(
          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            they get crappy under-paying jobs until they've got enough work experience to get someone to look past their education. Then they discover that despite having no formal education this person is an amazing programmer

            On the one hand, putting a "crappy under-paying job" in retail sales or food service on my resume won't demonstrate skills that I want to use in my career. But on the other hand, it would show that I know how to be an employee. So how do I find entry-level employment as a programmer when I live

            • So how do I find entry-level employment as a programmer when I live in northeast Indiana?

              It was "crappy under-paying" programming jobs that I was talking about. And I don't know, but he managed to find entry-level programming jobs in SW Michigan, so it is possible.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MoralHazard ( 447833 )
          Fewer than 60% of the tech professionals (IT, sysadmins, network engineers, and programmers) at my company have degrees in technical fields. Some have grad degrees in CS, some just bachelors' degrees, some have bachelors' in unrelated fields, and some (like me) have no degree at all. The only noticable salary distinctions are for people with VERY specific skills, and that doesn't mean "SQL". We employ PhD statisticians, and they make bank. The programmers with MAs in CS don't make more money than I do,
    • In English, discimination refers to differing individuals by some attribute or quality. This is how all hiring decisions are made. You discriminate among candidates to see who is best for the job and hire them.

      In American law, discirimination refers to hiring or not hiring people because of a protected status, which includes race, gender, age, and disability status. The school that you attended is not protected under this legislation. In fact, you can hire people based on their favorite color, if you wa
    • "No interns come from the so-called gaming trade schools like Full Sail and Digipen, because McCreary and her team prefer the depth of education offered at more established colleges."

      That is a convenient explanation but it has no basis in fact. There was no way to get a summer internship from a Full Sail student because Full Sail does not have a classic summer break (months of downtime between last and first semester). Full Sails summer break lasts from July 2nd to July 10th. You can't have a summer interns
      • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

        First off, it's "libel".



        Second, from a programming perspective anyway (since it's the only one I'm qualified to speak from), they are perfectly entitled to this form of discrimination. I've seen the type of coding that goes on at these game colleges, and I would NEVER give up a CSer (even a mediocre one) in exchange for a Full Sail/Digipen/etc coder. Seriously. The depth of "programming" these schools get into is laughably simplistic and wouldn't fly further than scripting a level.

        • by zymano ( 581466 )
          Thats why none of them ever get jobs and we have to rely on important idiots like you.
          • Well that's not true, plenty of Full Sail/Digipen/etc coders are getting jobs and doing relatively well in the industry. However there are still people who keep the stigma alive anyway.

            (Leaving the debate behind and resorting to name calling does not help the argument. Debate using facts, not insults)
      • Another explanation might be that many companies prefer students who have graduated rather than students still going to school. For one, the game release schedule doesn't always perfectly work into the summer - if you've got a game being released in September, you may need a guy who can work forty hours a week for three months before that. What's more, you may need someone who works fifty hours a week the few weeks before the release date to cover the final ground, just like everyone else at the company d
  • OK, so they were talking about a chili-hamburger eating contest, but I think the quote aptly describes working at EA.
  • "We swear we're not teh evil anymore! Please come work here! ... Everyone floats down here woo ha ha ha!"

  • So... is it true they have a Boss-key in Excel which instantly teleports them back into WoW?
  • by AssKoala ( 1003000 ) on Friday September 15, 2006 @10:38AM (#16113361) Homepage
    I interned with EA Tiburon this past summer, I worked as a Software Engineer on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour team for the PS3 and Xbox360.

    First off, noone was working insane hours. It's a misconception that people have that you get worked to death. I didn't see anyone on the team working like that and I sure as hell didn't work like that.

    Yes, they liked me there, before some smartass posts "Well, you didn't work late because your code sucked."

    I was the build engineer for Tiger Woods PGA Tour and I also implemented some features into Tiger Woods 2007 (I haven't seen the credits yet, but they told me I'd be in them).

    Next up, one of the interns was from Digipen (and he can drink as fast as I can). There's no discrimination against people from trade schools. Hell, the guy who replaced me as Build Engineer when I left graduated from Full Sail. However, in general, the people coming out of those trade schools have no business competing with people who have degrees from major universities (when asked what schools to go to, Will Wright responded GeorgiaTech, USC, and Carnegie Melon on multiple occasions). I, personally, am from GeorgiaTech and will be graduating in the Spring with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelors in Computer Science. This isn't to say those schools aren't valuable, but you get what you put into them: they graduate everyone. Again, this is a generalization, this isn't always the case.

    I loved working at EA and I'm definitely staying in the game industry. Despite the fact that all of the armchair engineers on various forums (you know who you are) are constantly ragging on <i>something</i>, it's still fun. I still love the fact that everyone who said "oh you're going to work for the slave drivers at EA" when I was leaving have eyes glazed over after hearing the great work experience it actually was.

    Chris Burke is right, when he posted the two main reasons for an engineer internship as being cheap labor and an extended interview. This is the case everywhere. However, that doesn't mean they overwork you or treat you like crap. I was a part of the team when I was there, or at least felt that way, and loved going to work every morning (ok, sorta true, I hate waking up in the morning). The hours were flexible, I went to work in a tshirt, shorts, and sandals on many occasions, and I had a PS3 and an Xbox 360 at my desk. How awesome is that?

    Flame away.
    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      They've cut down on the overtime since that EA Spouse incident and the real crunch doesn't start in any company until the gold deadline is getting close.
      • They've cut down on the overtime since that EA Spouse incident and the real crunch doesn't start in any company until the gold deadline is getting close

        None of the people I talked to said they ever had issues with overtime. Of course, I was at Tiburon, so my experience is not global. Madden went Alpha/Final for the 360 while I was there, so it's not like I didn't see the team, particularly my roommate (also an intern), working overtime.

        Nice thing is, you get free food and snacks when the game goes Al

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