Lumos: Fireworks in Seattle


Hello, dear readers!

It has been another exciting week, so here is the second intern post 🙂

New Team Members

Let me first introduce to you the other two members of our team. They are also interns, and the three of us are going to be working together on our really awesome top-secret intern project.

 Cameron is our SDET guy, and here he is in his own words:

“Hi, I’m Cameron Hatfield, a native Washingtonian, hailing from the Renton area. I am a 4th (and going on 5th) year Computer Science Senior at Western Washington University (WWU), who is celebrating his 20th birthday on September 30th.  My interests, as far as computer science is concerned, is game development, software engineering practices and algorithms.  For outside hobbies, I enjoy reading (including books, old fashioned as that may be), hiking and traveling.

I originally did Running Start for 3 years, completing my high school education, my Associate of Science degree and receiving two certificates. During that time, I was the treasurer, and co-founder, of our Game Developers Club. I am the current president for the Association for Computing Machinery chapter at WWU, where I hope to bring a balanced view to many computer science and engineering issues.

Why am I here at Microsoft? I’m here because I like knowing that what I do will affect many people, for what I hope is for the better (at least, that’s what I strive for). From my previous experience here, I knew coming into this internship that I would enjoy the culture here at Microsoft. I think what I like most is that if you’re having a problem, which may be only slightly related to some other project, people on that project are more than eager to help you in any way possible. It doesn’t seem like it is some sort of competition between teams, but rather a collaborative effort to get any and all products out the door of the highest quality possible. The other main draw for me is the opportunities presented to me for advancement or movement within the company. Tired of Redmond? Have fun in San Jose on a different team. Want to get out of the country for a bit? Do some work in the UK for a year. More than that though, if you’re tired of being a SDET, SDE or PM, why not go into marketing? It’s this ability to further grow and learn that I enjoy most about Microsoft.”

Cameron is really smart (how many people are 20 when they graduate college?) and unbelievably knowledgeable about VS in general.  He has helped the team so much since he started, good to have you on board man!

Mircea is our SDE guy, he just stared this Monday. Give Mircea a warm welcome:

“I am Mircea Pasoi, a Microsoft intern from Romania and I will be working on the top-secret project for the next twelve weeks. I am a first-year (going on 2nd) student at the University of Bucharest (in Romania), majoring in Computer Science.  For the last eight years my main focus has been on algorithms and programming contest. I participated in a lot of national and international competitions during high school. Actually, I got contacted by Microsoft for this internship because of my participation in the ACM World Finals.  My other hobbies are travelling, business and economics and movies.

The main reason I wanted to take an internship this summer was to learn how real software is developed and to see if I like working in the software industry. Microsoft looks like the great place to do this and I am sure I will learn a lot this summer. I have only been here a few days, but I am really impressed by the whole “Microsoft experience” so far.  I look forward to meeting a lot of smart people here at Microsoft. “

Although he didn’t mention that himself, I can’t miss the chance to tell you that Mircea has got a lot of medals from all kinds of international student competitions in algorithms, among those are the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the Balkan Olympiad in Informatics (BOI) and the Central European Olympiad in Informatics (CEOI).

Now that you see how smart the people I am working with are, you can imagine my great excitement about the summer. Not only do we get the chance to work on a really awesome project, but also we have a really great team!

PM Insights

Being here for 3 weeks already, I am starting to get the feeling of what it is to be a PM at Microsoft. It is really awesome and overwhelming, you get a lot of responsibility and the things you do have such a great impact on the whole VB community! I will devote a whole post to PM later, but right now let me share with you a metaphor I learned from Amanda, that really summarizes what it is to be a PM:

“Imagine you have a scale, and on one the two sides of the scale you have two buckets. One of the buckets is full of user expectations, so it is really heavy, while the other side is your team’s work, and right now it is empty.  Your goal as a PM is to eventually balance the scales, so that the work the team does equals user expectations. In order to achieve that, you can put rocks in the empty bucket, symbolizing development, testing and documentation work. However, no matter what, you can’t put more rocks in the bucket that it can fit, and it is always the case that even if you fill the bucket with rocks, the scale is still not balanced. So now imagine PM is like water – even if you have the bucket full of rocks, you can still pour a lot of water inside, which eventually balances the scale. So you are wondering what a PM does? Everything. There is testing work to do? You are a tester. There is dev work to do? You are a developer. Docs need to be written? You write docs. You are also connecting all the people together, so that you make sure everyone is going in the right direction. You get to experience a lot of different sorts of work, and that’s only one of the things that makes being a PM such a great experience!”

Fun stuff this week

The first thing to mention this week was the Intern Puzzle Hunt, which was really amazing. All the interns were divided into teams of 12 people each, solving puzzles and running around the MS campus. This year the theme of the hunt was Harry Potter, and Microsoft Research had put a lot of work in making the whole thing happen. They had even created manually around 60 magic wands, which were the cherry of the cake. I am talking about real magic here, you could cast spells and charms, it was so amusing and everyone loved it. Thank you, MSR! Cameron’s team won 2nd place – congratulations!

Also, as you know, this Wednesday was July, 4th, so it was a day-off for everyone (yes, even for the non-American interns such as me and Mircea!). There were some amazing fireworks in Seattle, lighting the Space Needle in all sorts of colors – it was so impressive! If you are wondering where to spend the next 4th, Gas Works Park is your place. It is a great show!

Okay, it is now time to get back to work, so I guess this is all for this week. We would love to hear your comments, and see you again next Friday!


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