My Internship at Amazon

Claudia Zhang talks about how she hopes to incorporate lessons learned in Northwestern's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program to her unique internship at Amazon.

When Claudia Zhang first considered Northwestern University's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program, she was drawn to the fact that the program used a cohort model. She knew her classmates would include a variety of IT professionals who would be able to teach her about their own backgrounds and enhance her overall learning experience.

Now, Zhang is taking those lessons and looking to apply them at Amazon, where she is currently working as a Software Development Engineer intern on the Human Capital Management team. A number of full-time MSIT students opt to do a summer internship in order to be exposed to new aspects of the industry and practice skills they learned in the classroom in order to apply them to a real-life working situation. 

Zhang recently checked in from Seattle to talk about what she's doing at Amazon and how she's already been able to apply the knowledge she learned in her MSIT classes to her internship.

What are your roles and responsibilities as a Software Development Engineer intern?

I'm responsible for developing a platform that can monitor and analyze user access to the HR system. 

Why did you want to pursue the optional summer internship?

I wanted to sharpen my programming skills and develop leadership skills.

What do you hope to learn from the experience?

I hope to learn how the industry works and how to cooperate with people in a large-scale software engineering project.

How do you think you'll be able to apply lessons you learned in MSIT to your internship?

The security knowledge I learned from the MSIT Information Security and Assurance class taught me how to avoid developing codes with vulnerabilities in my own project. Also, the MSIT Networks class gave me a better understanding of network fundamentals and it helps me when I configure web servers. 

What was it about MSIT that initially appealed to you?

MSIT uses a cohort model and many of our classmates are working professionals in IT. Each class day they brought many valuable real-world insights to our group. 

How would you describe your overall MSIT experience?

It's been challenging and valuable. Since my previous experience was only related to computer science, the financial management for IT professionals class was a new area for me.  Also, some of our classes require presentation and public speaking, which I don't think I was good at when I started in MSIT. Presentation and public speaking are important skills when I show my work to leaders, other teams and customers. I've learned a lot during my time in MSIT.