How did you come across your internship?
I would like to note that I was originally late into computer science, and so I didn’t not have much prior knowledge on applying for internships. I now realize applying online is not the best method; the best way to get your foot in the door is to meet recruiters at career fairs or network. I thought the standard way was just to go the main page of a companies website and apply. So I applied in November online through the Amazon career website. In February, a recruiter contacted me through email asking to interview me for the software engineer intern position. This actually caught me off guard because I never expected them to contact me. This gave me little time to prepare for my interview because I was so excited I scheduled to have the interview only days after receiving the email. I knew it was great opportunity at hand and wanted to do my best to secure a position. 2 45-minute phone interviews, 2 weeks later received an email offering me on the position and I accepted it immediately.
How was it adjusting to Amazon’s fast paced environment?
Amazon places interns into hotels, so the whole hotel was booked with interns, even on my flight I had interns. This was a great experience to come to a new city and work with other individuals who all want to succeed and knowing you have 12 weeks to prove yourself. The first day was quite overwhelming! From a consumer perspective you don’t acknowledge the backend and it was amazing to see that work that goes into Amazon that a consumer has no idea about. Amazon is a friendly company and dogs walking around campus make it even better. The dog to human ratio was 1 to 1.
Someone who sat in front of me was one of the first architects for Microsoft Outlook and extremely experienced. There is no segregation between employees even if you have been there for 30 days or years, it made me feel like I was in great company. At Amazon when the day was ending or you were finishing lunch, everyone would still be passionate about the problem they were working on. It’s really nice because you can’t go far without being by a white board, and even all the elevator’s had white boards.
Where you assigned a Mentor and Manager?
I was assigned a mentor and manager. Amazon being my fist real internship, you don’t know something, don’t something and don’t know something is a common trend when first starting out. Having a mentor was a great experience; my mentor was a role model to me. Amazon has such a deep architecture; people would go to others to ask questions. One thing that my mentor taught me was how to investigate a problem. I would ask him a question and he would ask what about it and I would say I’m not really sure. When you don’t know the problem it’s hard to know the first step, asking a question knows what the question actually means. This allowed me to become more independent and taught me how to investigate problems.
My manager was focused, had patents, had badges and was well known around the company. Being on her team meant that I was going to be given difficult problems. I was over my head because I felt like I was very unprepared, but under her leadership and the fact that she was determined helped make meeting deadlines easier. When something was wrong she would express what’s wrong and what’s right. This gave our team some strong direction. I actually saw my manager at a conference the other day and thanked her, even though she was ruthless and harsh she helped me grow as an engineer.
Describe you role as a SE Intern
I was the only intern on my team, and Amazon gives you complete ownership over something, and they want to see your full end thinking behind the problem. My team’s role was about advising me and working with AWS low latency. My team was able to work on bringing down latency and make pieces go with our current system. You are never working on something that is going to serve by itself.
Did you receive a Full Time offer?
I wasn’t sure if I was graduating on time or stay for an extra semester, and be eligible for another internship and I expressed that with my manager. Had it been 2 or 3 more weeks I would have been able to get a full time offer, but she said I still had a little more to learn. So I decided to take the return offer for another internship, and I expressed that I wanted to explore. I’m young and only have a limited amount of time to travel, so I decided to intern in San Francisco. My Manager told me she was going to offer an extended process, and send performance evaluations to perspective manager.