Ryan, Software Engineer Intern @ Microsoft

Courtesy of Ryan Farr

Ryan Farr, a software engineer intern within the Open Source Programs Office at Microsoft, talks about side projects, what’s he’s up to this summer and cheesecake.

Tell us about yourself!
I study computer science at the University of Utah. The summer before this internship, I was working for NASA’s Glenn Research Center. I’ll be doing research next semester along with being a TA. I also have a game I’ve been working on with some friends. We got the game, “We Need To Go Deeper,” greenlit on Steam so that’s mostly what I work on in my spare time.

How did you find out about the Microsoft internship?
I saw the opportunity in a newsletter that said Microsoft recruiters were going to be looking for resumes at the University of Utah. This event was going on in the building that I was spending all of my semesters in so I was like, “Why not?” At first, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to work for Microsoft. But when I came here to do the interview, that’s when I decided that I wanted to work here. I felt the passion from everybody that was interviewing me. I was amazed at how good these people were at their jobs. It just wasn’t the picture that I originally had of Microsoft. So then I was like, “Yeah! I should do this.”

I felt the passion from everybody that was interviewing me. I was amazed at how good these people were at their jobs.

Did you apply specifically to intern at the Open Source Programs Office?
I was placed into it — I had no clue what I was getting into at all. After the interviews, I kind of had an idea that I was going to be in the developer division. But until just three weeks before I came here, I actually had no clue what I was going to be doing or where I was going to be. But it was really cool to find out that I was going to be on the open source team. I was very happy.

What have you been working on so far this summer?
I work on something called Microsoft GitHub Torrent or MSGHT. It’s a program that goes and collects pretty much all the available data on Microsoft’s GitHubs, repositories, organizations and users. I’m also using this data to build cops that will make sure everybody is following Microsoft policies [on GitHub]. Later on, I’ll be doing analytics and data just to get an idea of what the best open source projects look like, what measure we have on those projects, how we can strive to be better, and more.

What part(s) of the project took the longest to build?
All of it. It’s a large and difficult thing to build in general. I think that taking the GH Torrent, which is basically what we used to build MSGHT, and turning it into something that would work for us ended up taking a long time. It involved going through a relatively large codebase — it’s not like Microsoft Word or anything — but sizable and in Ruby, which no one in my group knew anything about, myself included. Then adding security to it and extra functionality and web hooks and dumping, connecting it to Azure so we can get the data to everyone. It ended up being a really long and unexpectedly challenging process.

Has your perspective on open source changed since starting this internship?
Oh absolutely. It has really opened my eyes to how cool open source is. I think I didn’t really even understand the appeal of open source to some extent. I didn’t really understand why it is that people would collaborate. I didn’t really understand open source in general. Having now riffed on stuff and contributed a fair bit, I’m really into this now and I really enjoy it. I think it’s neat to observe [open source] communities an how people interact within these communities. I’ll be for sure working on more open source after my internship is over.

Quick Bytes
Favorite Coding Environment & Tools: Outside of the internship, I’m using Visual Studio and writing in C#. I oftentimes use Unity to make games. Here I use a Linux VM and eMacs primarily but also do things remotely using Visual Studio Code on my Mac.

Favorite Late-Night Coding Snack: Cheesecake. That’s my favorite any time snack.

Favorite Swag: Microsoft jacket!

Role Model: Jonathan Blow. He’s the creator of the game called Braid and I think he’s one of the first people to take video games seriously as artistic mediums. I think he’s brilliant in everything he does.