Landing My Dream Internship: The AWS Journey in Dublin 🍀

9/28/2023 6 min read


Bonjour, everyone! 🇫🇷 So, who am I? Just a French student navigating the intricate avenues of tech, eating a croissant or two along the way, and landing an internship at Amazon (AWS) in the lovely land of Dublin!

🎓 Understanding The French Engineering Education:

To give a bit of context for my American friends, I am enrolled in a graduate school of engineering in France. “What’s that?” you ask. Well, it's somewhat akin to a master's degree program in the States. But here’s the “crème de la crème” - it's a bit more extensive. In France, our engineering degrees require us to immerse ourselves in real-world experiences, meaning internships are non-negotiable! Yep, we learn the ropes early, my friends! And it's not just about staying confined to the hexagon; we're pushed to explore, to experience new cultures and ways of thinking. So, going abroad is a staple in our academic journey. That's how I found myself packing my bags and jetting off to Ireland!

Research & Preparation: Playing the Game Right! 🚀

Alright, pals, let's get into the meaty bits—how did I prepare to plunge into the world of Amazon Web Services?

📝 Crafting the Hitlist:

So, first thing’s first! I penned down a list of companies I was aiming for. This step is crucial, my friends! Knowing your goals and where you want to land gives you that laser focus needed to shoot your shot right!

🌟 Sprucing Up the Essentials:

Next on the agenda—updating the old CV and LinkedIn profile! And trust me, this isn’t the step to skim over! Making these stand out is like putting on your best suit for a party—you got to shine! Plus, I also crafted a personal website I’m super proud of—! It showcases my projects, timelines, and a smattering of blog articles about things that tickle my brain cells. It’s like my little corner on the internet where I can shout, “Hey, this is me!”

🧠 The LeetCode Dilemma:

Now, let’s talk about leetcode. It’s a love-hate relationship, really. I’m not a huge fan of spending hours figuring out the solutions to problems that I’ll only encounter in interviews, and let's be real—it doesn’t really make you a better engineer. It's like learning how to cook a dish you'll never eat again! But hey, that’s how the interview game is played, so I rolled up my sleeves and dived into it like everyone else. A bit of a necessary evil, if you will.

🏗️ Building on Foundations:

Lucky for me, my academic journey equipped me with solid foundations in data structures. It’s something we hammer on a lot in school. Knowing your data structures is like knowing your ABCs in the tech world—it’s the starting line, and having that down to a T meant I had a steady footing when stepping into the giant world of AWS!

Application Process: The Rollercoaster Ride! 🎢

Ah, the application process. We’ve all been there—the exhilarating chase, the rush of applying, and the suspense-filled wait. So, let’s dive into my journey through the rollercoaster ride of applications and how I navigated through the loops and turns!

📢 The Annual Internship Hunt:

We’re all familiar with that time of the year—the internship posts are live, and it’s a mad dash to get those applications in. The flood of online assessments hitting the inbox, and the hours spent untangling them, is a universal experience, isn’t it?

🧐 The Single Ace:

Now, my CV had one ace up its sleeve—a 3-month internship experience at Huawei research center in Paris. But hey, in the grand scheme of things, the sea was vast, and I had to cast my net wide. So, I applied, and I applied a lot!

🌐 The Amazonian Adventure:

One of the numerous applications I shot was to Amazon, eyeing multiple offers across various countries because, why not? The world is a fascinating place! The Amazon journey was a whirlwind, with online assessments swiftly following the application, some I aced, and others were tricky paths where I stumbled a bit. There was also a unique test, with questions that had extreme responses, and I had to slide my way to my stance. I patiently waited for the response post my application on 2022-09-14, but silence ensued. Watching a friend land an offer in Cambridge made the silence seem louder, and the invisible ‘rejected’ stamp seemed more apparent.

📬 The Silent Echoes:

The silence wasn’t exclusive to Amazon. My inbox was either filled with the sound of rejection or the echoes of silence. Being someone who likes to get things sorted ahead of time, the situation was a brewing storm of anxiety.


🔄 Back to Huawei:

The mandatory nature of internships in my course meant the clock was ticking louder each day. Fear nudged me to revisit my roots, and I reached out to Huawei, seeking opportunities anywhere in Europe, barring France. A few emails and an interview later, Poland was on my horizon with an offer in tow!

Hope: The Light at the End of the Tunnel 🌟

The journey, with its ups and downs, moments of silence, and echoes of rejection, took a hopeful turn on 2023-03-08. That day, a notification popped up on my phone, shedding a ray of light on my journey: "Your Amazon Interview Process – SDE Internship Position Ireland".

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💌 The Golden Email:

Seeing that email to schedule a technical interview was like finding a golden ticket—I was elated! But beneath the joy, there was the realization that the path ahead was filled with challenges, and clinching the offer wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

🗓️ The D-Day:

I sent in my availability, and the D-Day was marked—2023-03-21. That’s when the real grind began. I immersed myself in serious preparation, the excitement and the nerves dancing in tandem.

📚 The Preparation:

The LeetCode marathon continued, my love-hate relationship with it growing stronger. It was time to dig deeper, solve more, and brace for the impending challenge.

Understanding Amazon’s leadership principles was another crucial piece of the puzzle. I sat down, created a dedicated Notion document, and started penning down situations that resonated with these principles. It’s vital to relate your experiences to these principles, giving a window into your perspective and approach.

🌿 The Anticipation:

The anticipation was a mix of excitement, hope, and stress. Every tick of the clock resonated with the importance of aligning every duck in a row, putting forth the best version of myself, and keeping the hope alive.

The Interview: Navigating Through Codes & Conversations 🕵️‍♂️

Ah, the Interview! The day arrived, armed to the teeth with Notion notes and cheat sheets occupying every inch of my screen, I was ready to embrace the challenge. Let’s walk through this intense and enlightening phase of the journey.

🎙️ The Opening Act:

The interview kicked off with presentations. A word to the wise—have your presentation well-prepared, structured, and crisp. When I step into an interview, I have a structured story to narrate, covering my education, interests, and experiences, and it’s often received well. It’s like setting the stage, giving a glimpse of who you are, your journey, and your aspirations.

🤔 The Coding Quest:

Next came the coding question. A brief discussion about my familiarity with data structures ensued, and I professed my comfort with linear ones. The coding challenge turned out to be easier than I expected, contradicting the tough Amazon interview legends circulating on Reddit. However, the focus is often on the journey to the solution rather than the solution itself. I meticulously approached the problem—asking clarifying questions, contemplating the solution with diagrams, and using examples to validate my approach. It’s essential to be methodical, articulate your thoughts, and abstract the solution using helper functions.

📜 The Implementation Saga:

Confidence flowed as I implemented the solution, manually traversing through multiple examples and contemplating edge cases. The interviewer seemed satisfied with the solution, probing further into the complexity before concluding the coding section.

🌟 The Behavioral Conundrum:

The final segment was a dance through behavioral and competency-based questions. My stint at Huawei played the protagonist here, providing ample experiences to base my responses on. Remember, employing the STAR method is the key to crafting coherent and impactful answers.

The Offer: A Dream Materializes 🎉

The wait after an interview is a mix of hope, anxiety, and anticipation, each passing moment echoing with the thoughts of ‘What’s next?’. But for me, the suspense didn’t last long! The very next day brought the news I had been eagerly awaiting—I received an offer! 🌟

🌐 The Destination:

The offer was to join the EC2 Core Platform department at AWS, situating me in their vibrant Dublin offices. It was a moment of elation, reflection, and gratitude, witnessing a dream materialize and a journey find its destination.

What’s Next? 🚀

Stay tuned, folks! My next article will be a reservoir of tips and tricks to not just survive but ace the internship! I’ll be sharing insights, learnings, and snippets from my journey, aiming to illuminate the path for many more aspiring individuals. Whether it’s about acing the tasks, integrating into the workplace culture, or making the most of this opportunity, I got you covered!