Ethan Arrowood on Finding Two Co-ops and a Job at Microsoft

August 1, 2019

Ethan Arrowood—a Computer Science student graduating this August—is proof that the road to a top tech company like Microsoft may not be easy, but it is incredibly rewarding.

Throughout his undergraduate career at Wentworth, Arrowood has been actively involved in Accelerate, Leadership Institute, Phi Sigma Pi honors fraternity, and the ultimate frisbee team while still finding time to study abroad and complete both co-op semesters at Microsoft’s Cambridge office as a software engineer.

In his first year at Wentworth, Arrowood was already applying to first-year programs at organizations like Google and Microsoft. When he wasn’t selected for these programs, Arrowood took the rejection in stride and used it as fuel to sharpen his skills. Over the next year, he worked on open source, attended conferences, taught himself important industry skills, and worked toward his sophomore year co-op search.”

 “At the conference I learned valuable tools like GitHub, how to specialize in different frameworks, and a bit of the industry terminology,” he says. “You don’t need to be an expert in any one field, but being able to discuss and understand the different aspects of computer science has proven really valuable in my co-op search.”

Wentworth has also been instrumental in advancing the skills that led to his two successful co-ops with Microsoft. Arrowood proactively scheduled one-on-one visits with his Co-op + Career advisor, took Co-op Institute, and worked with the Department of Computer Science to build a schedule that challenged him and included an independent study, allowing him to further explore the computer science industry.

As for Ethan’s biggest secret to success? Arrowood says Accelerate, Wentworth’s Innovation + Entrepreneurship Center.

“Accelerate has been one of, if not, the biggest reasons I got my opportunity at Microsoft,” he says. “A project I was working on in Accelerate caused me to create my Twitter account, which started my personal brand and got me recognized by my current boss.”

Through Accelerate, Arrowood learned that having a personal brand meant continuously engaging in the software engineering space online by listening to what other developers were saying, adding in his own opinions, and being regarded as a problem solver and helpful developer on the internet. After seeing a tweet from Accelerate about some work Arrowood had been doing, Ben, a Wentworth alumnus and Arrowood’s eventual supervisor, reached out. “Ben invited me to tour the Microsoft space, meet some of the team members, and he even shared my resume with a recruiter, thus spiraling into my interview story and securing the co-op opportunity,” says Arrowood.

Arrowood would go on to receive offers from Twitter, Google, and Facebook, in addition to Microsoft.

Over a year later, Arrowood is confident he made the right choice in pursuing a co-op with Microsoft. “I chose Microsoft because they offered a fantastic experience working with a legitimate engineering team and I got to see what it is like to be a real engineer,” he says.

Arrowood’s experience was so rewarding that he continued at Microsoft for back-to-back co-op semesters and officially accepted an offer as a full-time software engineer beginning after his graduation from Wentworth later this month.

Reflecting on the path that led him to Microsoft, Arrowood’s best advice for other computer science students looking to pursue a similar journey is to build a personal brand and have a growth mindset.

“You don’t need to be Twitter famous or writing blog posts, but if you’re online, interacting with other developers, that will be tremendous for your career because you will know the terminology,” says Arrowood.

He also advises that having a growth mindset has helped him thrive.

“If you keep yourself open and willing to learn,” he says, “that will show in your experience.”

To learn more about Ethan’s experience at Microsoft, check out his video interview.

--Lauren Rodolakis

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