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Senior Interns with Amazon

September 10, 2013

EECS senior Howard Grimberg spent his summer creating a new feature for Amazon and collaborating with staff and fellow interns on expanded services for the online retail giant. The successful internship led to a full-time offer for a software development engineering position after graduation.

Grimberg and recent alumnus Chris Hudson were among the 1,000 summer interns in Amazon’s largest intern class to date. At the Seattle headquarters, interns developed websites, streaming video service, tablets, and other technologies.

To watch Howard explain the interview process, go here.

As a software engineering intern, Grimberg built and integrated the summer’s marquee feature for the boutique-style website, Javari, which repackages select items from Amazon.com to customers in Europe and Asia. The software engineering intern could not go into to detail about the proprietary elements but noted the improved speed and cleaner design of the updated website.

Howard Grimberg
Howard Grimberg

Due to competing project deadlines, interns were given primary responsibility for retooling Javari. Grimberg worked closely with another intern to integrate the tool within the new framework of the website to ensure a good user experience. He said the long hours were with it as the group worked on a substantive project with real-world applications.

“The other intern assigned to the Javari team was working on the customer-visible portion of feature. I developed the underpinnings of the feature, and we then integrated both halves,” said Grimberg.  

It was no coincidence that he spent his summer in Seattle. Growing up in landlocked Kansas, Grimberg wants to live near the coast after graduation. After research and discussions with people in industry, he made a list of companies on the coasts that excelled in innovation and employee relations. He started looking at internship possibilities and found Amazon was taking applications.

“I want to be on the coast because there are more opportunities to grow professionally, and as a person. The coasts are more cosmopolitan and attract a larger variety of people,” said Grimberg. 

He credits EECS with giving him the sound fundamentals to be successful in a fast-paced technical job. As Amazon interviewers pointed out multiple times, successful candidates do not need to know one specific program but rather have a foundation that allows them to understand new programs and platforms. EECS provides the breadth and depth of education that allowed Grimberg to succeed at Amazon and his previous internship with IBM.

“You need to learn the theory behind things and how to learn new things quickly with little to no external help. Your job will teach you how to utilize the tools, but they will expect you to be able to figure out to use them.”

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