Today we’re trying something entirely new!
Every year in the Identity and Security Division we have 25 – 30 paid summer interns who join our team. Most of them have just finished their junior year in college and they spend the summer working with us on enhancing our products and services. It’s a great way for them to get real-world experience working in software engineering. It’s great for us as they bring a ton of energy and new ideas to the team. And many of them return to join us full time after they graduate which is even better. (I joined Microsoft myself as an intern way back in 1992 just in time for the launch of Windows 3.11 for Workgroups!)
Jasmine Perez was one of our interns this year. She did some awesome work for us on our end-user UX and she’s already accepted a full time job on our team next year!
I asked Jasmine to write a blog post about her experience this summer which you’ll find below. We’re hiring like mad in the Identity and Security Division, so if you’re interested in having an experience like Jasmine’s, we’d love to hear from you!
Have a great weekend!
Alex Simons (Twitter: @Alex_A_Simons)
Director of Program Management
Microsoft Identity and Security Services Division
I’m Jasmine Perez and I’m senior at the University of Florida (Go Gators!). Alex asked me to write a blog post about my summer internship so here goes nothing!
What’s it like being an Azure Active Directory Intern? As a second time returning intern, I still think I hit the jackpot when it comes to finding a place where I’m excited about my work and everything outside of work too. I’ve come a long way in getting to know Microsoft with these past two summers. During my first internship, I was an Explorer Intern, which was a special program directed towards younger college students. In the program, we got to rotate between the different internship roles and select one to do the following summer. And that’s how I got here today, a Program Manager Intern in the Identity & Security Services division at Microsoft.
As my summer internship started, I was welcomed back to my same team with arms wide open. It was nice to see familiar faces and have some background knowledge coming in on the products my team worked on. I also landed an awesome project redesigning the user interface for a key piece of Azure Active Directory. It took some time for me to fully grasp the scale of my project since I initially thought I’d be lucky to even get to design a new feature, nonetheless redesign the whole experience.
The project was huge, but I wasn’t alone. My manager and mentor served as my front line of support. They always made me feel like they were there for me whenever I needed help. They provided me direction, but ultimately let me make my own design decisions. My manager trusted my capabilities but also made it clear that I should never to be afraid to get help. Since I was designing the user interface I also got to work with the Design team a lot. I got to work closely with one designer all summer and we ended up learning so much from each other. From her I learned about the different interaction patterns that Microsoft uses across web and mobile, and from me she learned about all the different functional aspects and requirements for the website we were redesigning. Through our teamwork, we were able to create beautiful visuals for the redesign that I was able to bring around my team for feedback and continuous improvement.
I can’t ignore the fact that although the work is amazing, the intern program also throws some extra amazing events for us too. As an intern the variety of the events you can go to span all across the board from guest speaker talks, socials, hiking trips, sports, festivals, the list just goes on and on. Did I mention they also throw an annual Signature event for their interns every year? They keep the location and details top secret, then shuttle over a thousand interns in buses to take us to the event. This year we had a private concert at Gas Works Park from Maroon 5! Everyone also went home that night with a Surface 3 gift. With all this fun stuff, part of the challenge is figuring out how to balance it with actual work.
Here are a couple other snapshots of things I got to do this summer:
They raffled free tickets to the Sasquatch music festival during my second week. They not only gave us tickets but they also took care of food and buses to bring us over there.
My manager got us scanned for 3D action figures. She introduced us to a PM who scanned us and showed us around the 3D printing lab. Microsoft also has a 3D Builder app which I used to flash some Gator colors on my action figure.
I attended a morale event where I got to float down the Snoqualmie River all day. It was a beautiful day out and we all just relaxed and ate food as we drifted down the river.
Even in my last and final week I was still doing exciting things. A fellow PM on my team asked me if I was interested in using my project this summer for the annual Hackathon during //oneweek. //oneweek is a once a year week-long event where Microsoft celebrates its people, products and ideas through a global Hackathon and product expo. The dream came true for me, seeing my redesign of the website I worked on all summer being built in my last week. We also recruited our Explorer Interns to participate in the Hackathon. By the end of the 48 hours we had a working prototype of the website!
In the end, being a Microsoft Intern is what you make it. If you choose to learn, you will find plenty opportunities to. If you choose to meet great people, you’ll be surrounded by them every day. Microsoft encourages you to go out and find passion for your work. And that’s what I noticed with everyone I’ve met here- they weren’t just experts at what they did, but they loved what they did and it showed. I’m glad to have been able to spend two amazing summers in a row interning at Microsoft. I’ve learned so much about myself, my interests and what it feels like to work on something you’re excited about.
I can’t wait to return next year as a full-time employee!
Jasmine Perez (Twitter: @jaszjp)