What is the ‘Coolest Job ever? EA’s Summer Interns tell their story

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.'”

While some people grumble that the two main reasons for an engineer internship is that you end up being cheap labor and also serves as an extended interview for potential/prospective candidates. However, this is the case everywhere. Gone are the days of interns fetching coffee. At many high level companies, Interns program, produce, design instead of fetching coffee as in EA’s case where the profiled interns toiled at “Tiger Woods.” They put their touch on “The Sims” and “The Simpsons.” Barely old enough to drink, they got their names in the credits of upcoming video games coming out this fall. And they tried, as best they could, to pass the toughest on-the-job test: eating some extremely spicy hamburgers.

The best and brightest get offered some fun too — although some real-life risk is definitely involved. There’s regular intern dodgeball and whitewater rafting. And then there’s the annual EA entry — mercifully not compulsory for employees or interns — into a local pub’s habanero-spiced hamburger eating contest. The pub challenges area businesses to determine which has the largest number of employees capable of consuming their fiery burger. The interns get paid by the hour and are even paid for overtime, which is good news for those who have heard of EA’s recently settled litigation with workers over unpaid overtime.EA gives their interns other financial matters to ponder, particularly those that involve how and why games sell. McCreary said the company offers lectures not just from their creative leaders but also from their business chiefs

The impression you get from the end is that EA doesn’t overwork you or treat you like crap with flexible hours and a casual work environment of a tshirt, shorts, and sandals on many occasions and moreover had a PS3 and an Xbox 360 at their desk. Now, how awesome is that?

For more information about EA’s internship program, visit www.jobs.ea.com