Why Microsoft is an awesome place to Intern: Part 2

The actual internship


If you haven’t read Part 1, go check it out!

Prior to my first REAL Software Engineering internship, I was dually excited and nervous. What were my manager and mentor going to be like? Would it be fun yet challenging? Despite my anxiety, Microsoft made the transition seamless from day one.

The first day was packed with orientation, games, meeting new people, and greeting my team.

Orientation consisted of verifying employment eligibility as well as some food and games in a big ballroom. Then the recruiting team gave us a presentation on the history and culture of Microsoft, as well as an explanation of what our summer would entail. Throughout the presentation they raffled out swag to interns who got answers correct about Microsoft’s past.

The afternoon of my first day was when I got to meet my manager and team, Azure Storage. Azure Storage is Microsoft’s cloud-based solution for consumers that includes Blob storage, Queue storage, and Table storage. I worked on the Health team, a group that dealt with server health in datacenter

Weeks 1–3 passed quickly, with most of the time being spent ramping up into the code base. I started off with making a few adjustments here and there, but with the help of my mentor, I quickly began writing hundreds of lines of code.

I can’t speak too much to the differences between Microsoft and other companies, but in my experience Microsoft finds the right balance between nurturing you and pushing you outside of your comfort zone. Resources are definitely available, but by no means do they baby you.

A lot of your experience at Microsoft depends on your team. My team had a Agile-based approach, and was amazing to work with. Being on a slight time-crunch, we shipped our product once a day, if not more. Our goal was to iterate fast but NOT break things. We had stand-ups 3 times a week, and I could ask anyone on my team for help or advice. Everyone on my team was knowledgeable, and my manager and mentor alone had 12+ years of coding experience in the industry. I had a lot of support and mentorship. Additionally, I frequently ate lunch and hung out with my team. It was awesome being able to pick their brains everyday about our product, or just talk about current news, video games, or sports.

Work quickly became challenging yet rewarding. I was making a lot of design decisions on my own as my team began to trust me with more work. Traditionally, interns have one big project to complete, however, my project was a little different. I had an overarching set of goals to complete, but I was treated more as just another full-time employee on the team. Squashing bugs, checking in new code, and iterating.

The social part

Nearly every week Microsoft hosts an intern event ranging from tech talks to hackathons to networking and everything in between. I heard talks from speakers including Satya Nadella, the CEO, Scott Guthrie, James Whittaker, and many more. I also got to tour one of their datacenters as well as participate in other cool events like picnics, tech fests, Intern Puzzle day and many more.

The two coolest events were definitely the Cloud and Enterprise(C+E) Intern event and the Intern Signature event.

The C+E intern event was a combination of a movie, networking, food, drinks and a sweet jacket (that I now wear all the time). It was cool, but the real showstopper was the Signature Event.

The Signature Event is the biggest event of the summer, and is super hyped up. Usually a surprise artist comes, and all of the interns get an awesome gift. Last year’s gift was an Xbox One and the year before was a Surface Pro 2. The artist last year was David Blaine, and two years ago was Deadmau5 and Macklemore.

This year’s event was insane.

We were transported to Gasworks Park — arguably the most beautiful park in Seattle. It has an amazing view of the Seattle skyline and is right on the water. When we got there there was unlimited food as well as Beer tents.

The artist was a secret, but when they came on, everyone went insane…

IT WAS MAROON 5!

Microsoft had exceeded expectations. Maroon 5 live was an amazing experience, and it was especially cool that they came to perform for only interns. At the end of our 1.5-hour concert, we were given event shirts, special Microsoft blankets, and Surface 3s! Overall it was a wonderful event with tons of stuff to do.

Conclusion

Microsoft was a spectacular experience. There are always fun intern events to go to. The social experience was excellent, and I regularly spent time with my roommates and officemates on the weekends. The work was demanding yet worthwhile and I learned a great amount. Seattle is a fantastic city to intern in in the summer, and I would definitely recommend considering a Microsoft Internship.


Thanks to @jyan, @lindjwhite, and my sister @kaitnashankar for editing this.
This blog post and related images are not endorsed or sponsored by Microsoft.