A Look Back at Blizzard’s 2017 Internship Program…
A Look Back at Blizzard’s 2017 Internship Program…
Blizzard’s Internship Program gives students the opportunity to work directly with development teams and business operations departments to gain hands-on experience. For 12 paid weeks every summer, interns embed themselves with our teams to learn, collaborate, and contribute to the intensity and fun of creating epic entertainment.
In 2017, after months of recruiting, a field of over 12,000 applicants was narrowed down to 64 interns. It’s not easy to land an internship at Blizzard—that’s a 0.6% acceptance rate, orders of magnitude lower than Harvard’s acceptance rate of 4.6%—but it is worth it.
Along with 24 new grads, our 2017 class was set for the summer. (The Blizzard New Grad Program offers recent grads exclusive, entry-level roles designed to put their degrees to immediate use.) The program, affectionately known as Camp Blizzard, kicked off in early June. Blizzard interns (“blizzterns”) are not coffee gofers, but full contributors to their teams. They accomplish meaningful work in a rigorous, collaborative environment.
There's so much to do at Blizzard! We don’t just design and develop games here, we publish and support them as well, so we’re looking for many types of people. We’re looking for students interested in everything from business intelligence and community to marketing, web design, user experience, and on and on. Be sure to check all our internship openings when they go up to see the sheer variety of Blizzard teams looking for interns
Two interns from this summer’s class, Aubrie Healy (Software Engineer, User Interface, World of Warcraft) and Josh Beedle (Associate Program Manager for Blizzard’s Web & Mobile team), were kind enough to share their thoughts with us.
User Interface is what players interact with on-screen in our games. As a UI engineer on the World of Warcraft team this summer, I’m in charge of implementation, but I also collaborate closely with our designers. The main challenge is to put yourself in the mindset of a new user. Being able to step back and consider your design implementation from a fresh perspective is key.
The UI team is made up of several people with a few engineers. The whole team ended up being my mentor! I’ve been encouraged to seek feedback on my code and I love the people I work with. They understand the whole process and give me great guidance. I feel I can talk to anyone on my team, it’s like a little UI family.
Initially, my manager gave me small tasks, but soon trusted me enough to give me associate-to-mid-level projects. I can’t share what I ended up working on this summer, but players will see it one day! You do very real work. It’s amazing to know my work will be put into the game I’ve been playing nearly 12 years. It’s surreal to see your name in the game credits. I’m in the Hearthstone credits from when I was an intern for them last year!
Initially when I thought about Blizzard, I imagined everyone would be too smart and busy and wouldn’t want to talk or help an intern noob. But of course, you can talk to anyone, even Mike Morhaime!
I didn’t go to an Ivy League school, I don’t think you have to. When I discovered my passion for UI, I locked myself in my room and learned all I could. That’s the bigger difference. I think the people who are most successful are the ones who channel their passion into projects related to what they want to do for a living. Get involved. I volunteered teaching girls how to design and program video games. Whether you volunteer time, get involved with your campus game club or whatever, it’s something to add to your resume. Also, be active in searching out opportunities. You must be the driving force in your career. Apply to a position you want when you see it. Even if you don’t get it, it’s all good experience.
It was a lot of fun this summer! We had great events, scavenger hunts, boat rides, outings designed to help us relax and network. We had things like movie night, a barbeque with a live band, and interactive lunch talks with leaders throughout the company. The program made sure we had time to get to know our fellow interns. We grew to be friends outside of work through the events. I can’t believe how many super awesome and passionate people I’ve met here so far. It can be difficult to find fellow gamers and people you really relate to, but at Blizzard I’ve found friends for life.
My mentor was fantastic. He wanted to teach me the development cycle as much as possible in a 3-month internship. My mentor turned out to be a huge safety net. At first I was afraid to make mistakes. I didn’t want to be the intern that messed everything up, you know? But my team did nothing but support and encourage me to take ownership and take risks. Blizzard is designed to be very collaborative, and an environment where even failing isn’t necessarily the worst thing. Everything is a learning experience, and they really want you to improve.
Networking was an important goal of mine this summer, and something I wanted to do with the short amount of time that I had. Over the last ten weeks I ended up having lunch with a different person every single day. I ended up networking with over 40 people throughout the company that way. Every single person found the time for me. It was so humbling. Having Blizzard employees and veterans who have been there for a number of years happy to take their time to invest in my growth was very impactful for me, not just professionally but personally. It speaks volumes across what Blizzard stands for, and how real their core values are.
I got to attend a company-wide off-site summit just for Program Managers, which was an awesome opportunity to hear from experienced people and to meet like-minded folks throughout Blizzard.
As the summer program, Camp Blizzard really helped me feel welcome and comfortable. They really do a great job of making you feel part of the larger intern family, and provide so many opportunities to hang out and become friends with one another even as we pursue our individual career goals. My favorite event of the summer was a tiki boat cruise where we got a chance to bond, chat up the University Relations team, and just enjoy Southern California. It was crazy – where else are you going to end up on a tiki boat cruise? Overall, there’s so many great events, and then there’s the swag! They give away so much loot, it’s incredible.
The Intern Expo wraps up the summer. It’s your time to show off to the company what you worked on and learned over the summer, as well as the impact you left at Blizzard. It’s like a huge, old-school science fair, we all build displays and everyone comes by and checks everything out. My whole team came by for support, and it was cool to see everyone attend. The other employees create such a welcoming environment and are really interested in what you accomplished. Blizzard embraces interns. It’s funny because I saw all these people I respect so much and here they are being impressed with what I’ve done; it was like the icing on the cake before you leave. And there’s nothing like seeing (company co-founder) Allen Adham just cruising around, chatting up interns, taking it all in!
(Impostor syndrome is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud.")
I think a lot of students look at Blizzard or any other AAA studio and think: That’s not me. I can’t do that. Imposter Syndrome, that feeling of self-doubt, that your skill-set isn’t up to par, can be crippling. It’s a real thing, and I wish people wouldn’t let it dictate their decisions. You can push past it, you really can. Don’t think you’re not ready if you match the job requirements. Find out. Apply. Worst case, learning to take feedback and learning from that process if you don’t get it will help in the long run. Don’t get down on yourself!
Consider Joining us as an Intern!
Internships for summer 2018 will go up this fall. Our University Relations team is hard at work finalizing next year’s internship opportunities. If you’re interested in applying and want to prepare, be sure to check out our student section here and read the FAQs. Follow @blizzardcareers on Twitter as well as our company page on LinkedIn so you don’t miss any announcements or deadlines. Hope to see you next summer!