Microsoft interns spend a summer as “doers, not talkers”

Arif Bacchus

If you ever wondered what it was like interning for Microsoft, then you should look no further. The Redmond giant has just posted a story to the Firehose blog which describes how Microsoft Garage interns spend their summer as “doers, not talkers,” and how they make an impact through their projects.

Overall, the Microsoft post highlights the story of Maddy Leger, who completed a 12-week winter internship at Microsoft as a software developer. After initial success, the Northeastern University junior was invited to stay longer and take on a program manager role. She learned about the importance of beta programs, time management and much more. While at the Microsoft internship, Leger also learned about the legal, privacy, security, accessibility review processes, and will even have the chance to watch the products she helped create ship at the end of her internship. She says,

Coming out of this internship, I have a really solid understanding of the entire product lifecycle, from the perspective of all three roles…  In 16 weeks. Beyond the software skills, I learned a lot about how to pitch/demo a product, how to use customer research to make informed decisions about features and a whole lot of other soft skills.”

Microsoft highlights that at end of their internships, most interns will see the projects they’ve worked on get released to the public through the Microsoft Garage.  Close relationships between the students and their mentors, teamwork, and a close relationship between the students and sponsoring business groups also highlight the internship at Microsoft Garage.

Maddy Leger and her internship team (Photo from Microsoft)
Maddy Leger and her internship team (Photo from Microsoft)

Microsoft Garage internships are also heavily involved, for example, software engineers are involved in the design decisions, user research and sprint planning. Designers even lead a lot of the user research and work on multiple projects, and some of them write code for the projects. Ben Fersenheim, who runs The Garage Internship Program in Cambridge, put the Microsoft internship program best, and said,

For students, I think the program demonstrates in a very tangible way that Microsoft is a place where they can have true impact on people’s lives. We have a motto in the Garage: ‘Doers, not talkers,’ and I think we live that motto – students get a chance to deliver working code to real people.

The Microsoft Garage internship program pulls undergraduate and graduate students from 20 different universities in the US and Canada. Candidates come from various majors, including computer science, engineering, design, and even fine arts.  In Canada, 50 interns a year are hired from universities and help source out projects from Microsoft’s internal business groups.