The changing seasons are notoriously difficult to distinguish in San Francisco: our weather patterns are essentially the honey badger of the meteorological world, so a day in February feels just like a day in June. This year, however, the OpenDNS offices have received a clear sign of fall: students!

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Jason and Taylor, our interns!

Even though a short conversation with the Labs team can feel as informative as an hour-long lecture, For the past few weeks USF computer science students Jason Narine and Taylor Wolfram, have been working on a project with the OpenDNS engineering team. As part of their senior year coursework at USF, Jason and Taylor have the opportunity to work on projects with real-world applications. Luckily for us, they thought the OpenDNS project sounded the coolest.

While we can’t reveal all the details just yet, we can say that Jason and Taylor’s project will extend the functionality of Umbrella and have a major impact on OpenDNS customers. According to our student interns, that impact is one of the best things about the project. “I like working on something that someone actually uses,” says Taylor. “The most gratifying thing is to have something out there.”

In addition to building cool things, our interns are here to get a feel for what its like to work on an engineering team, so we’ve given them a fair amount of independence to work on their projects. It’s important for them to experience the kind of responsibility that’s difficult to recreate in a classroom.

“We’re exploring new things that OpenDNS doesn’t do yet,” says Jason. “So if customers like it, it’s because of us. If they don’t like it, it’s also because of us.”

Sounds like a lot of pressure, but they’d better get used to it—both Jason and Taylor plan to stay in the Bay Area and work for tech companies after graduating later this year. And they’re definitely liking the experience so far.

“Some of the other projects just meet in a cafe to review work,” says Taylor. “So it’s been a really good learning experience to actually get to be in the office.” While they can’t come into the office every day—those little things called “classes” seem to get in the way—Jason and Taylor have gotten involved in the OpenDNS culture when they’re here. They both mention meetings with senior engineers and live demos of new features as highlights of their time here. Jason and Taylor are here for about 10 more weeks, but it will take us a long time to get used to no longer having them around. They brought a fresh new energy into the office, and they’re building fresh new features for our customers.

There’s nothing like the buzz of new students walking around the halls at the beginning of a new school year. But because all of OpenDNS can’t go back to school—we brought school back to us. Maybe this is how our college and university customers feel! We’ve been thinking a lot about them recently as we gear up to travel to Anaheim for EDUCAUSE 2013. If you’ll be there, please be sure to join us at a welcome reception or come see us at Booth 721. And if you won’t be there, you can find more resources for Higher Ed on our web site.

 

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