Ryan Seys

engineer at verily / google life sciences

Mozilla Internship FAQ

July 19, 2014

Over the past year I have received numerous emails regarding my internship at Mozilla. I wrote this post to answer some of the more common questions that I was asked. This is my experience based on a technical position so it may be quite different for non-technical roles. Regardless, this FAQ should give you a good feeling for how the Mozilla internships work.

Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee you a similar experience, but I do guarantee that what I say here is true for what I experienced for my intership at Mozilla.

Can I intern at Mozilla?

Absolutely! If you love the web and stand by it as a platform, you should love what Mozilla is doing for it. Freshen up on their mission and think hard about whether Mozilla is right for you.

How did you manage to get an internship at Mozilla?

Believe it or not, I just applied online! I didn’t have references within the company, I just went to their careers website and applied. In the cover letter section, I wrote a little blurb about why I think Mozilla would be a good fit for me and what I could bring to them. If you have to think really hard about this part, you may not be the best candidate.

What was the interview process like?

All the other interns that I spoke to had varying experiences when it came to their interviews at Mozilla. Here’s a few things I found that were similar:

  1. You typically interview directly with a member / members of the team you would end up working with during the internship.
  2. You will be interviewed for your technical ability in a wide variety of areas. This is very dependent on your team.
  3. You will likely have numerous interviews. I had five (5) interviews total before an offer was given. Expect two interviews at the very least.
  4. All of my interviews were remote video Skype calls. Your interviewer could also whip out a Google Doc for you to code on.

What were the technical questions like?

The topics covered in your technical interviews will vary greatly from team to team. The format of such questions will also vary greatly. Some teams will prefer to ask you more formal problem solving questions and expect more formal coded solutions. Yes, expect to code in your interviews.

Other teams prefer a more conversational style interview where you’ll discuss with them previous projects, your skills in an applied context and more open ended problems that require you to think a little harder. In all cases, relax. Your interviewers want to see you succeed just as much as you do.

Does Mozilla provide housing for interns?

They did provide housing for me. I didn’t have to find housing or roommates. In fact, I had little say in where I lived for my internship. Housing situations change from year to year and greatly depend on your office location.

If you already have housing or otherwise prefer to find your own place, they also offered a small stipend instead. This stipend was much less compared to the value of the housing they provided so I greatly recommend letting them provide you with housing if given the option. It was also hassle-free and super close to the office.

How does an internship visa work?

I acquired a J-1 visa for my summer internship. It was sponsored by a company whom Mozilla arranged to work with me. This means that a company guides you through the process and collects all information and documentation neccesary for acquiring a visa for the internship. As a Canadian, getting a US J-1 visa was very straightforward, however I do not know how the J-1 visa acquisition works for other countries. See here for more information about the J-1 visa process in the US.

How long did the whole process take?

Overall my process took about 4 months from application to offer. This is greatly dependent on when they look at your application and how quickly interviews can complete. It also matters what months your internship takes place. A friend of mine applied after I received my offer in March, got his offer and started the same day as me that summer so it’s all variable.

As an example, the following is my timeline:

  • Nov 2012 - Apply for Mozilla online
  • Early Jan 2013 - Response from Mozilla recruiters requesting interviews
  • Jan to Feb 2013 - Interviews with Mozilla (five in total)
  • Early March 2013 - Response from Mozilla with offer
  • March to May - Visa application, flights and housing planning
  • Mid May - Start internship at Mozilla :)
  • Late Aug - End internship at Mozilla :(

What’s awesome about interning at Mozilla?

A lot! Read my post My Summer At Mozilla here for more details (and pictures).

Any last tips?

Contribute to open source! Mozilla just loves to see that stuff and it’s just good karma in general. Fork a project from Mozilla on GitHub and start sending pull requests. Even if you don’t land that internship you can still contribute to what Mozilla is doing for the web.

Best of luck in your internship endeavours. If you have any questions I didn’t cover in this FAQ, email me.