By: Joshua Qualls, Informatics Student at Indiana University
Hidden in the forests of Redmond, Washington, you will find some of the biggest tech giants in the world. From Microsoft to Nintendo, this hidden Silicon Valley-esque city will inspire all who visit to pursue technology.
I was lucky enough to get an insider view of Microsoft from a current employee, Product Manager Intern, Liam Bolling. He showed me the entirety of the sprawling Microsoft campus, including the massive dining and shopping areas as well as the super cool interactive visitor center. For such a large and successful company, the campus felt very open and relaxed with multiple running paths, fountains and employees sporting jeans and t-shirts. Visitors were encouraged to explore the campus and able to take in what it’s like for an everyday Microsoft employee.
The visitor’s center boasts a wide variety of new Microsoft technology. From Artificial Intelligence to Virtual Reality, Microsoft is truly on the cusp of innovation within the industry. Visitors can also play around with this plethora of Microsoft technology. My personal favorite, while not new to the industry, was the Microsoft Band (a creative name, I know). Sporting a sleek design and multiple OS compatibility, the band would be a great pickup for those looking for a good smartwatch.
Signs detailing Microsoft’s massive hackathon, “One Week,” could be seen all over campus. One Week is their biggest event in which the company essentially shuts down in order for employees to create their own projects. The week is filled with fun activities and events that foster creativity and innovation. Hackathons are a staple of the tech industry and commonly create some of the biggest products and ideas. For example, Google’s Gmail was the product of a Google Hackathon event. For this year’s hackathon, Liam plans to work with Microsoft’s Kinect and its accessibility for those with disabilities. I’m truly excited to see the results of One Week come to life!
Upon meeting with Liam, I was able to gain insight into the process of interning for Microsoft and some of the employment opportunities available. Microsoft offers many different internship opportunities through their Explorer program, for underclassmen undergraduates, and more complex internship program for Junior undergraduates. Interns can work in a variety of areas, such as Product Management or the Xbox Department. After further research, I found that an internship with Microsoft is one of the most lucrative and hands-on in the industry. Interns receive full benefits and a competitive salary, while working on truly meaningful projects.
Overall, Microsoft exceeded my expectations. Not only was I able to hands on experience some of the latest products Microsoft has to offer, but I was also able to gain an insight and appreciation of the unique and creative work environment that is the tech industry.