Summer is always a special time at Microsoft, as the company is joined by over a thousand interns from all over the world. The internship program not only allows students the ability to show off and develop their skills throughout the 12-week program but also allows them to consider whether they’d like to pursue a full-time career with the company after graduation. Interning at Microsoft isn’t just about the daily grind, however, as plenty of fun activities are planned for the interns, such as special presentations by executives and even a huge concert at the end of the summer.
Aside from getting to experience what it’s like to work at Microsoft firsthand, one of the coolest things about the internship program is the opportunity it allows students to contribute to projects that Microsoft and Xbox users everywhere may one day interact with. For example, you may notice a feature developed by our Xbox Insider Team intern, Yifei, in the Xbox Insider Hub very soon.
This feature, which Yifei spent her 12-week internship working to build, allows users to make more informed decisions when selecting a system update ring or switching between rings in the Xbox Insider Hub. No longer will Xbox Insiders have to wonder whether selecting a ring will trigger an update or factory refresh, as this information will now be visible within the dialog box used to change system update rings.
Learn more about Yifei and the cool new feature she developed below!
What’s it been like interning for the Xbox Insider Team this summer, and what did you know about the program prior to your internship?
To be honest, I didn’t know anything about the Xbox Insider Program prior to my internship. But after I joined the team, I wanted to come back full time within the first week of my internship. Everyone on the team is so nice, and I can feel that they are truly passionate about their work. Not only was the team passionate about their work, but we also had a lot of fun as a team when we took part in morale events – special shout out to Anna for taking me for boba and being an amazing mentor! Everyone on the team cares a lot about the Xbox Insider Program and really acts with a sense of responsibility for the program and the people in it.
I still remember being around for the announcement of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which occurred early in my internship, and knowing that Xbox as a team is focused on accessibility also makes me want to return in the future.
Tell us a bit about the feature you developed. What led you to start the work? What was most challenging or interesting about it to you?
The feature I developed helps Insiders make more informed decisions when switching rings. For example, when selecting a system update ring, you might be wondering what build you’ll receive, whether you’ll have to update or go through a factory refresh, or if an update is coming and when. My feature provides information on all those things.
I was sort of handed this feature to work on in the first week of my internship because my manager and mentor knew that I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the Xbox Insider Program and its intricacies. I felt a lot of pressure at first, but everyone on the team really helped me a lot. It was also surprising that Microsoft trusts their interns to do work with real impact on the product. What was challenging was learning the complex systems and services behind the Xbox Insider Program, and it’s really amazing to me that this feature will now be available to all Xbox Insiders!
Do you have a favorite videogame or are you playing anything currently?
Your internship just ended, and we’re sad to see you go but hope you enjoyed your time on the Xbox Insider Team! How did this summer benefit your skills and understanding of software engineering?
I had to make many software engineering decisions that I wouldn’t have had to make for a school project. For example, real software services can have randomness and unexpected failures. I had to learn how to judge the severity of various issues and determine the proper error handling strategy for each one to provide the best user experience. The second thing that I’ve learned is that learning from others is important. My teammates took the time to explain why they do things a certain way to me, and I learned so much from them.
What advice would you give to other students interested in interning for Microsoft?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It sounds like a cliché, but I really do feel like that’s the best advice I could give besides talking to people from your team and different teams. Share your opinions, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions so you can correctly understand things because software engineering isn’t easy.
If you are a high school, college, or graduate student and you’re interested in learning more about a Microsoft internship, visit careers.microsoft.com to learn more, or look for Microsoft at a college campus recruiting event!