Two Ubuntu Community Team Intern Opportunities Available

PLEASE NOTE THIS POST IS NOW OBSOLETE – PLEASE INSTEAD REFER TO THIS POST REGARDING THESE OPPORTUNITIES. THIS IS MERELY HERE FOR HISTORICAL REFERENCE.

Today I am pleased to announce two fantastic opportunities for two enthusiastic, motivated and energetic folks to come and join my team for a six month internship. You will join Daniel Holbach, Jorge Castro, and David Planella as team-mates and report to myself as honorary horse-folk, working on awesome solutions to help make Ubuntu an ever more compelling community to be a part of.

This is a fantastic opportunity to work inside a fast-paced, collaborative environment, solving important problems, working with awesome colleagues and adding Canonical as a rocking reference to your resume.

Before we get to the details about the roles, I want to be clear on a few general elements:

  • These are internships: they are are not normal full roles.
  • Like most internships, these roles are unpaid.
  • Each role lasts for six months.
  • Working hours are Mon – Fri from 9am – 5pm.

I want to be clear that my team is a fast-paced, hard-working, hectic environment. I am going to work you hard, and you should expect that, but my goal here is to help you squeeze every ounce of opportunity out of your internship. We will have 1-on-1 weekly calls, I will help guide you on what to work on, help you manage your work, solve problems, and be effective in your projects. In other words: when you sign up for your internship, expect a solid six month adventure, but an adventure that will sow the seeds for many great opportunities in the future.

So, I am looking for two roles:

  • Ubuntu Community Documentation Author (Internship)
  • Ubuntu Community Web Developer (Internship)

Let’s take a look at the job descriptions:


Ubuntu Community Documentation Author (Internship)

Job Title: Ubuntu Community Documentation Author (Internship)

Reports to: Ubuntu Community Manager

Job Location: Home with some travel engagements.

Job Summary: To produce documentation and online materials for the Ubuntu community and new contributors.

Key responsibilities and accountabilities:

  1. Produce a series of well-written and clear materials about a range of different topics in the Ubuntu community surrounding how to participate.
  2. Make these materials available on line and ensuring they follow style and quality guidelines.
  3. Work with the Ubuntu Documentation Team, Learning Team and Ubuntu Manual project to liaise around collaboration and best practise for materials production.
  4. Promote and raise awareness of this documentation inside and outside the Ubuntu community.
  5. Identify common needs and requirements for materials, prioritize them and build them into your workflow.

REQUIREMENTS

Specific Job Skills: Excellent writing skills, strong networking and social networking skills, good relationship building abilities, process driven, able to manage multiple work streams, good prioritisation, independent, willing to travel potentially 25% of their work time, and able to resolve conflict.

Experience: Experience of working with community in Ubuntu and Open Source projects, experience of the upstream/distributor relationship, technical experience.

Key Qualities: Have strong social skills, a good networker and a good technical knowledge of Ubuntu and the Open Source and upstream/downstream development process. Candidates should be process driven, strategically minded and committed. Competent visual design and artistic talent is highly desirable. Other: Candidates should provide evidence of existing experience and work in the Open Source community and suitable references.


Ubuntu Community Web Developer (Internship)

Job Title: Ubuntu Community Web Developer (Internship)

Reports to: Ubuntu Community Manager

Job Location: Home with some travel engagements.

Job Summary: To design and develop web functionality across a range of Ubuntu community infrastructure web properties.

Key responsibilities and accountabilities:

  1. In conjunction with the team and the community, design new features and solutions for specific needs in our key web properties.
  2. Develop and implement such features and solutions using a range of appropriate tools.
  3. Provide solid testing and quality assurance over your work during the development phase and before deployment.
  4. Triage, fix and deploy bug fixes.
  5. Work with the community to collaborate together on projects and solutions.
  6. Report your progress to the team and the wider community.
  7. Be responsive to changing needs, emergency fixes and feature requests and be reactive to a range of different customers.

Requirements

Specific Job Skills: Excellent web development skills (Python, Django, PHP, HTML, CSS and Database experience are a must), good experience of Launchpad, Bazaar and Ubuntu community infrastructure, strong networking and social networking skills, process driven, able to manage multiple work streams, good prioritisation, independent, willing to travel potentially 25% of their work time, and able to resolve conflict.

Experience: Experience of working on collaborative web development projects in Python, Django and PHP, strong development experience over a range of projects, experience of working with community in Ubuntu and Open Source projects.

Key Qualities: Excellent developer, strong social skills, a good networker and a good technical knowledge of Ubuntu and the Open Source and upstream/downstream development process. Candidates should be process driven, strategically minded and committed. Competent visual design and artistic talent is highly desirable.

Other: Candidates should provide evidence of existing experience and work in the Open Source community and suitable references.


How To Apply

If you are interested in applying for these roles do not contact me directly, you should follow these steps:

  1. Ensure you have a recent, up to date resume (in PDF or OpenOffice.org format) that outlines your experience, education, your community achievements, technical background and information about your interests and ambitions.
  2. Send an email to alice.paul AT canonical DOT com with the subject Community Team Internship Application and the following details:
    • Specify which role you are interested in.
    • Your resume attached.
    • A few paragraphs about why you would like to have the role.

Good luck and I will speak to some of you soon in an interview!

  • http://owaislone.org/ Owais LOne

    I would have loved to apply for the Web role but I’ve a very hectic schedule at college + I’m from Asia xD. Will work with you guys for sure before I die. That’s a promise to myself.

  • https://launchpad.net/~dmitrij.ledkov Dmitrijs Ledkovs

    What location do you prefer to be based at?

  • http://www.pwnguin.net jldugger

    “Like most internships, these roles are unpaid.”

    Congratulations, you’re violating US law! I don’t know how the UK looks upon unpaid labor, but here in the US unpaid interns aren’t allowed to deliver anything of value to the employer.

  • Robert

    This isn’t an internship, it’s a volunteer role. Tricking poor students into doing the crap you don’t want to do is shameful and lame.

    If someone came into my group with those qualifications, we’d hire them for a real job.

  • Jef Spaleta

    I think the UK has an equivalent view of unpaid internships. Though the specific tests are of course different. I think the spirit of the statute is the same.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8551598.stm

    This is a very recent article. Worth a read.

    -jef

  • http://qense.nl/ Sense Hofstede

    I have to say that a full 40-hours working week is quite something if you’re not getting paid. How would these interns have to pay for their bills?

  • Jef Spaleta

    here’s probably the best guidance resource for UK employers.

    http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/_internships-that-work.htm?IsSrchRes=1

    “if an intern is contributing to your company, has a list of duties and is working set hours then technically they should be paid the NMW”

    From Jono’s description of the positions.. it does appear that Canonical is not conforming to best practise guidance set forth by the CIPD. It might be best for Canonical to do a legal review of the appropriate UK labor laws.

    -jef

  • jono

    Thanks for the comments, Jef. This is the first time we have hired interns and I got sign off from HR on this, but I will point them at the article to double check everything is in order.

    I appreciate you letting me know. :-)

  • jono

    Hmmm, well this is a bit concerning. I had a +1 from HR regarding this roles to go forward, but I will double-check this to make sure everything is above board. Thanks for letting me know. :-)

  • http://blog.shadypixel.com/ btmorex

    I don’t know where you get the idea that most internships are unpaid. At least in the U.S., most internships are paid, just not much, but at least enough to cover cost of living.

    More to the point, if you aren’t willing to pay people then you won’t get interns that are worth paying.

  • Jef Spaleta

    I think what’s happening is, is that there’s been a prolonged period where illegal unpaid internships existed on the margins but were never really something worth prosecuting individual companies for.

    So the practise became sort of a defacto cultural norm. Like speeding on the interstate is in the US… or like downloading copyrighted material is without the rights holders permission.

    You know… things we know in the back of our heads are technically illegal but we aren’t individually worried about the legal liabilities of because we look around and everyone else is doing it. And if everyone else is doing it..surely its okay to do. Your HR staff may have given you the wrong guidance simply because they’ve operated in that cultural norm for so long that the legal liability wasn’t considered. Run this by both your HR and your legal counsel.

    The fact that I found two BBC articles about this from just this month may indicate the UK government is going to start making examples out of a few companies because its now become too wide spread of an illegal practise to allow it to continue without a response.

    And make no mistake, I’m not doing this to be nice. I’m 98% pure evil. If Canonical is knowingly engaging in illegal labor practises I’m personally going to make a big stink about it. Informing you of the statute and the guidance associated with it is my attempt to ensure that I make the most of sensationalizing this later if the unpaid internship positions stay as they are. I don’t want you to squirm out of the public roasting on a simple “Oops my bad.”

    -jef

  • http://www.pwnguin.net jldugger

    For all I know HR is working on some Isle of Man loophole, but it’s a bit shady I think, to ask people to fund themselves for six months. Even Google pays $5k for a summer.

    There’s also a selection bias effect that’s been observed in non-profits. Funneling talent through a six month unpaid filter leaves you with only the people who had accumulated 6 months living expenses; probably more if you consider going broke in six months a bad deal. For a tech firm claiming to represent humanity and diversity, the gentrifying effect is unsavory.

  • jono

    And make no mistake, I’m not doing this to be nice. I’m 98% pure evil. If Canonical is knowingly engaging in illegal labor practises I’m personally going to make a big stink about it. Informing you of the statute and the guidance associated with it is my attempt to ensure that I make the most of sensationalizing this later if the unpaid internship positions stay as they are. I don’t want you to squirm out of the public roasting on a simple “Oops my bad.”

    LOL, I can assure you that we are not involved in illegal labor practices, so your threat of the aforementioned big stink isn’t really needed.

    I have already emailed Alice to double check on the feedback received here: if we need to adjust the roles to fit in with good practice and appropriate laws, then we are more than happy to do this. Conversely, if HR has made a mistake and we can’t do this effectively, then I will just cancel the initiative.

    The goal here is to give an intern opportunity and do some cool Ubuntu work, not to break any laws and best practices.

    I appreciate your constructive feedback, Jef. :-)

  • jono

    I appreciate your comments, but let me hear back from HR first. I can then follow-up with any modifications.

    I have never done any kind of internship before, so I am looking to them for guidance, but I know that Canonical has never done internships before too, so Alice may need to get some addition third-party information.

  • Jef Spaleta

    No need to thank me, just promise to give me the appropriate unfair considering when I apply.

    -jef

  • https://blog.misc.ephaone.org/ Michael

    The same goes for France, at least for the internship I have made.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    jef’s doing himself down, there. He’s at least 99% evil. ;)

  • Jake McGraw

    Unpaid internships for a role requiring some level of technical expertise is evil. Plain and simple, you are trying to get something for nothing, which last I checked was theft. Anyone with one tenth the skill set required to fill these rolls will be able to find proper, paid employment. Don’t propagate a backwards policy established in other fields (Media, Academia). Always, always, pay. your. interns.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    oh, just another hint: if you’re advertising positions working from home, but with specific working hours, you should clarify exactly where you’re expecting the applicants to be from, and what timezone the working hours are in. Americans might apply, only to find later that they’re not actually keen to work at 4am :)

    (the strict working hour requirement seems a bit odd for a project like Ubuntu which is fairly async, but I guess you like to have everyone around at the same time?)

  • Mike

    This sounds like a scam. Why would anyone do a skilled job like this, for free?

    Volunteering time is one thing. But this is totally unreasonable.

  • The Dude

    Wow, 6 months, 40 hour weeks, no money! Let me get right on that…

  • Michael Primrose

    I note that both positions require the successful applicant to be “willing to travel potentially 25% of their work time”.

    I presume that Canonical will be paying their work-related travel expenses or are you expecting these “interns” not only to work for free, but also to travel at their own expense for the pleasure of being exploited in your “fast-paced, hard-working, hectic environment”?

    These two job advertisements represent a totally unprofessional approach by both yourself and by Canonical and deserve the widest exposure and publicity possible in the IT media.

  • Frank Garrett

    Worked hard, 6 months, 9-5, no pay. Respect.

  • http://aruiz.typepad.com Alberto Ruiz

    Jono, I’ve been an intern at my university in Gran Canaria and then at Sun Microsytems, I’m quite familiar with internship programs all over Europe and Japan as well since many of my college mates went through a few of them them (Oracle, hp, IBM, CERN, RedHat, small companies…).

    All internships I’m aware of are on a paid basis, always minimum or close to minimum wage, but paid.

    When you are offering unpaid work you should probably go for part time (people will always do a little more hours when they know they are choosing to), but asking 8h/day, with responsibility tasks and being unpaid for 6 months, sounds a little too demanding.

    I worked myself for free during a few summers doing sysadmin stuff and some software development just to be able to learn. But I also knew I could quit at any time I wanted, and I worked as many hours I wanted, however your post sounds more like the kind of job that is really hard to justify doing if it’s not on a paid basis (as in too demanding).

    I actually think it’s a bad idea not to pay from Canonical point of view as people might just quit in the middle of the internship if they either burn out or find a paid job and it’ll make you lose your time (and money).

    So I’d rather change a bit the terms of the internship (calling it training/volunteering with less responsibility) or offer a minimum wage.

    In my experience, Canonical would be better off going for the minimum wage for one year instead of six months. Six months is too little time to deliver quality outcomes and actually integrate into the team and showing potential. By paying you ensure that person is accountable and sticks around.

    Otherwise I’m afraid you’ll see yourself investing a lot of time on people that are likely to just quit, but hey, I might be wrong. :-)

  • Mike

    This is a very typical blanket statement in the unwarranted crusade against unpaid internships. For both sides of this issue please do your research.

    Thanks, Mike

  • Jeremy

    One of the requirements for unpaid internships (or other employment/training practices inconsistent with the requirements established by the Fair Labor Standards Act) is that the employer “receive no ‘immediate advantage’ from any work done by the trainees.” (Walling v. Portland Terminal Co, 1947)

    Based on your statement that the interns will be “working on awesome solutions to help make Ubuntu an ever more compelling community to be a part of,” it’s fairly clear that Ubuntu intends to derive immediate advantage from the work of the trainees, and thus are you will be bound by the

    Since Ubuntu expects to receive an immediate advantage from the work of these interns, it is obligated to comply with the FLSA and pay them at least minimum wage.

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  • http://www.coreyburger.ca Corey Burger

    Any chance of turning these into four month positions? I would love to apply for them, but as a student, I cannot sign up for something that takes me into Sept/Oct a minimum. I suspect a lot of students are in the same boat.

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  • fm

    Jono, I do not know where your impression of unpaid internship comes from, but in Germany students in the techworld get between 700 and 1200 EUR a month.

    I am myself a student of information systems and cannot remember any of my friends doing an unpaid internship.

  • Mool

    I would add that the requirements are far above what would be expected for an intership. I would call that slavery.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    Er, note my post above, Corey – Jono’s team is in the UK. If he’s sticking to the 9-5 requirement…well, you’re on the island, by the looks of it? Then that’s 1am to 9am…

  • jono

    Folks, I appreciate the feedback, but as I have said twice now, I am double-checking the details of this: I ran this past our HR department and it got a +1 as acceptable, but there is clearly a disconnect, so I am asking them to double-check so we can ensure we have everything fair.

  • antimonio

    I won’t try to be rude, but the excuse about the confirmation of HR doesn’t sound very encouraging.

    Do you really know that slavery was abolished or do you need to check that with HR as well?

  • jono

    You do realize that these would be optional roles? I think comparing it to slavery is a bit much…

  • http://www.coreyburger.ca Corey Burger

    Jorge is EST and Jono shares a timezone with us, so that isn’t a major concern for me. The six month thing is a deal breaker, however.

    And yes, I am on the island (Vancouver Island for our non-BC, non-Canadian readers)

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  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    corey: “Jorge is EST and Jono shares a timezone with us”

    Eh? He does? I’m losing track of where people are again. I thought Jono was still in the UK. Sigh…

    I need some sort of special robot to update the globe next to my desk with the locations of significant FOSS’ers. =)

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  • Brett Murch

    Mate if I had the knowledge I would work unpaid just for the long term knowledge and experience that I would get. It’s 6 months. How about lackey? I can be a lackey hahaha.

  • nh2

    I’d like to say I live in Algeria, and even here the internships are paid…

  • jono

    Yep, I live in California. :-)

  • jono

    Thanks for the feedback, fm! Good to know. :-)

  • jono

    Thanks for the feedback. I have linked our HR department to this post, so we can ensure we take all of these things into consideration and amend the opportunity where required. :-)

  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    Oh good for you, you escaped one borderline bankrupt state for another ;)

    Better weather though!

  • http://philbull.livejournal.com/ Phil Bull

    Hi Jono,

    Who is mentoring the documentation intern? I don’t remember this being discussed on the Documentation list.

    Phil

  • jono

    From what I can tell, your definition of “theft” is not the same as the laws: theft is the forceful process of taking someone’s things. The original person gets no say in the matter – there things are taken without their consent.

    None of this is forced: it is an optional opportunity that is open to people. If something thinks the intern opportunities are crack, just ignore them!

    You also said that “anyone with one tenth the skill set required to fill these rolls will be able to find proper, paid employment” – while I think that they can find work, this opportunity provides a way of getting some great skills and a great reference. Again, entirely optional, but some may find it attractive. Put it this way: when I was starting out, I would have jumped at the chance.

  • http://guiodic.wordpress.com Guido

    Jono, the bigger problem isn’t if this unpaied internships are legal or not. Please, don’t call law and eventually its holes as an excuse. The problem is if don’t pay them is moral or not. It is a shame that Canonical puts at work two persons and doesn’t pay them. This is the point. You cannot call “voluntary” this two positions because them have a work time, duty, etc.

  • Jake McGraw

    Sorry for the theft comment, you’re right, was out of place.

    Even if it’s a pittance (new laptop + travel expenses, perhaps?) you really should pay your interns. The guiding philosophy should be: how much value will their work contribute to your organization. What, if anything, can you provide to make it easier for them to do a great job.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net Adam Williamson

    C’mon, it’s not like Jono is out there with a whip forcing people to work on his Death Star. He’s asking for volunteers, here.

  • Jef Spaleta

    Hey what’s with the bad mouthing the Imperial Department of Military Contracts and Procurement? Haven’t you read the Star Wars prequal series entitled the “Secret Files of a Sith Administation” trilogy which went into excruciating detail over the managing a Galactic open bid process for contracting the building of the Death Star.

    Sure whips were involved…but workers also got an hour and half lunch so its really a quid pro quo there. An hour and a half lunch!!

    Speaking of volunteers, I think if there really is a legal oversight here in calling these positions interns…this work could easily be re-imagined as volunteer Ubuntu project positions..like other work that is already goes on.

    -jef

  • jono

    Folks, I spoke with our head of HR about this and have summarized the changes at http://www.jonobacon.org/2010/03/23/ubuntu-community-team-opportunities-second-draft/

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