Former Foundry Software Engineer Intern at Microsoft
about 3 years ago
Foundry as a whole is a very untraditional internship experience. Instead of being assigned to a specific product team within the company to do a specific project, the interns get to hear pitches for the different potential project ideas that are sponsored by actual product teams and get to have some say in what project to work on.
Foundry interns work in groups of 4-6, such that there's one program manager intern, one user experience design intern, and 2-4 SWE interns. These intern teams work on the project that involves the tech of an actual product team. This product team is most likely not located in the same office/timezone, so there's a lot of Skype collaboration. An easier way to describe this is that the Foundry internship is a 12 week hackathon using some Microsoft team's tech. The intern team is responsible for taking the idea that was pitched and running with it. The teams do have an onsite manager and 1-2 coaches to help facilitate their progress, but the intern team ultimately has all the control in where the project goes.
This being said, being a Foundry SWE Intern requires great collaboration skills and creativity. The first 2 weeks consisted of my team brainstorming together to figure out the best way to design our product. We needed to have a solid foundation before we could expand our platform. Without a well thought out base, we ran the risk of having to waste time restructuring the underlying architecture instead of moving on with features. What I really enjoyed about this experience was that it wasn't a typical "Hi intern, here's the work you need to do" internship, it was an internship where my team and I really got to have more control and power over what happened.
As a Foundry SWE intern, you really have to learn and work fast - the internship is structured into 1 week sprints, where each Monday starts off with a presentation to the rest of the cohort about the progress made and the plans for the next week. All code for the week needs to be checked in before noon on Friday for the Monday demo. You all will fly out to HQ in Redmond, WA at your midpoint in the internship during July to A) be there for the famed Intern Event and B) to present in person to the product team you have been collaborating with. This midpoint trip is super important in order to get solid feedback on what needs to be worked on before the end of the internship.