An explorer intern works 4 weeks as a Product Manager and 8 weeks as a Developer. It introduces you to internship processes and oppertunities at Microsoft. Your project will vary depending on what team you are put on. The main differences between Explorer Interns and regular SWE or PMs is they are put into a team with other explorers (~2-3 people) and work on the project, whereas a SWE and PM interns will work individually on their respective projects. The explorer program is targeted for first and second year students only.
Former Explorer Intern, Microsoft Yammer IOS Team at Microsoft
about 3 years ago
Based on my experience, my internship followed the Software Development Life Cycle form ideation to completion. My experience specifically entailed me consulting with a non-profit organization in the area who we built an application for. So a typical day in the ideation phase of the life cycle, entailed me and my team of two other inters, setting up interviews with key personnel in the non-profit, shadowing them, going over our observations with my team, discussing it with our manager, and product management and user experience mentors all in an attempt to design a product that our customers need. When we moved into the development phase, we spent our days coding, collaborating, demoing to our manager, mentors and the customer and pivoting our ideas.
The Explorer program is targeted for freshmen and sophomores -- they usually bring in people that don't have a lot of experience in the field and want to "explore" more about their interests. The internship is 12 weeks long and interns rotate between two roles: software engineer (SWE) and program manager (PM) and are placed in a team of 3.
I stayed in an extended stay hotel for the summer with other interns, so the people I became friends with and I would wake up at the same time, eat breakfast in the lobby, and commute to work together. We either took the Microsoft shuttle or my friend drove us in her car. I always got into the office 9am and immediately looked at my calendar to remind myself of meetings during the day, read my emails, and wrote down a to-do list of goals I wanted to achieve by the end of the day. I found that particularly helpful as I would hold myself more accountable for getting certain tasks done. During the PM phase of the summer, the three of us interns would spend most of the day brainstorming together, talking to other PMS/designers to get feedback on our designs, and sitting in on meetings to learn about general work flow. During the engineering phase of the summer, I would work on my task at-hand, review other people’s code, go pair-program with my teammates. At lunch we would eat in the kitchen and they always had a puzzle being worked on which we were always working on. Sometimes I would shuttle over to other buildings to have lunch with people I had met (you know, the good ole networking shindig). I knew I wasn’t particularly excited by my team’s work, but didn’t really know what I wanted so I made a big effort to meet different people on teams I thought I would find interesting. At the end of the day, I would go to the gym with my friend and we would head home. Some evenings I would go hang with other interns and other nights I took to myself.