In late 2019, we launched the pilot Amazon Web Services (AWS) Next Generation Internship Program in Sydney, to provide early career talent an opportunity to gain exposure to the AWS business, and our peculiar Amazonian culture.

Over the three month summer break, we welcomed 15 interns from a range of universities across Australia into our Amazonian world. The applicants which stood out to us were passionate about solving business problems, innovating, and building new processes. To put their talent to the test, the interns were placed with different teams within the AWS commercial business division, including Sales Strategy, Operations and Enablement (SSOE), Sales, Business Development, and Channels and Alliances.

We recently sat down with four of our standout interns, Patrick, Joseph, Libby, and Bianca to talk about their highlights from interning at AWS, top tips for aspiring interns, and what it’s really like to work in the world of Amazon!

Biggest highlights of the program

One of the opportunities our interns valued most is the exposure to different leaders within the business. Libby and Patrick are quick to call out the weekly “Lunch and Learn” sessions, where senior leaders share insights into their roles and the career path they’ve taken to get them to where they are today. Libby said that through these sessions, the passion our leaders had for continuous learning was clear, and she was impressed by how they’re always looking at ways to build their skill set, and help the people around them.

Through catch-ups and coffee chats with both Amazonians around the business, we all feel inspired and learnt more than we expected in that moment.

Patrick was also particularly impressed by the AWS culture, which he describes as “incredible”, and says all the teams he worked with were made with people who were always willing to offer an alternative perspective towards solving a particular problem or brainstorm ideas on new ways of working with customers.

Top three tips for aspiring AWS interns

1. Get to know Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles—These are the qualities that are ingrained in AWS culture and are integrated into every facet of the work we do, and the solutions we deliver to our customers. AWS employees live and breathe these principles every day and while they set the bar high, they also constantly work towards raising it.

When I started, I didn’t expect the leadership principles to be so embedded into everything we did, but they actually were, and they helped us do the best work we can.

2. Hit the ground running—Every intern is treated like full-time member of the team and you will get hands-on experience in developing AWS products and services. Expect to work on actual solutions that will go to production and benefit customers.

No two days were the same for me. I was able to go to Melbourne to sit on some client proof of concepts, attend team offsites, spend time coding, and learn more about AWS as a company.

3. Be a champion—Nearly every product or service has an intern’s fingerprints on it. Interns have the chance to put forward ideas and lead initiatives, with guidance and support, of course! AWS is customer obsessed so if you have an idea that will help our customers, be ready to lead and champion your idea.

Every company has core values, but to my knowledge, Amazon is the only organisation that integrates the Leadership Principles into every facet of the work they do for the company and their customers.

A day in the life of an AWS intern

Our four interns unanimously agreed that the one question they were asked frequently by friends or others interested in joining the company was: what does a typical day for an AWS intern look like?

I spent time with clients based outside of Sydney, developed code for client projects, and have learnt so much more about the AWS environment. There was never a dull moment for me.

The response: there is no average day! The dynamic nature of our work means that different teams have different focus areas, so every minute is an opportunity to look for new ways to use cloud solutions to uncover customer insights and solve their challenges. That may sometimes mean meeting with clients, or working with AWS solutions architects to develop automation tools. Beyond the work, there are also plenty of social activities where networking with the wider AWS team is encouraged.

My major is in finance and accounting so being an intern at AWS has given me the opportunity to try something outside of my comfort zone. The culture of innovation and customer centricity will always be something that I carry with me.

If you are excited about working for AWS, learn more about the Next Generation Internship program here.