Ryan Seys

engineer at verily / google life sciences

My Summer at Mozilla

September 01, 2013

As of writing this, I am currently on my flight back to Canada wrapping up my internship at Mozilla for the summer. I just wanted to take this time to reflect on my experience working there and why Mozilla has been a truly life-altering experience! Overall it was AWESOME, but WHY, you ask? Well keep reading there cap’n, and I’ll tell ya!

1. The projects were awesome


My internship specifically took place with the Identity team, the good folks that bring you Persona. I hacked on a new initiative to bring authentication to WebRTC in Firefox. In addition to this, I also hacked on Persona (more specifically, browserid) to support this new authentication module, allowing any website that uses Persona to seamlessly authenticate their users’ WebRTC calls.

During my time at Mozilla, I also built a WebRTC demonstration web app called Tin Can to showcase the importance of WebRTC auth. This app was such a hit with Mozilla and looked so damn polished thanks to a couple amazing Identity designers, it prematurely hit Hacker News and climbed to the front page due to shear awesomeness of what WebRTC + Persona means for the future of web calls.

Unfortunately, Tin Can is not quite ready for public consumption so it was promptly taken down for now but like all Mozilla projects, it is open source so please contribute to this project by forking it on GitHub and send me some sexy pull requests. :)

You can learn more about the details of what I did by watching this screencast on Air Mozilla.

2. The places were awesome

Mozilla flew me out from Ottawa, my homebase, to San Francisco, CA! Having never been to California before, what an adventure it was and has been! Now those from San Francisco warned me about the weather in the “summer” here, but you just can’t beat the lack of humidity in SF.

In Canada (Ottawa at least), contrary to popular belief, we do have hot summers and boy are they ever humid. It was a nice change to spend my summer in jeans and a hoodie. Plus, if the fog ever got me down, I’d just hop on the Caltrain and head down to the Mountain View office for the day. I also went to France! But more on that later!

Mozilla provided us SF interns with housing just a 6 minute walk from their San Francisco office. This may have been so we stayed at the office longer, but who wouldn’t want to stay in the office when it provides you with free snacks and drinks, and a view that just cannot be beat.


Which brings me to my next point…

3. The perks were awesome

Interns at Mozilla, myself included, are truly spoiled rotten. Competitive pay, free travel/housing, free snacks/drinks and catered lunches every week were really just icing on the massive cake that was my internship!

Oh, and did I mention that Mozilla also sent me to Paris, France?! Yeah, it happened. For my final working week, myself and a handful of the Identity team met up in the Paris office and hacked on Persona, and ate… and drank… a lot!

It was quite the trip and I feel very privileged to be apart of it, but it was only as good as it was because of the people. Mozillians are really a different breed of people, which leads me to #4…

4. The people were awesome


Working at Mozilla wasn’t work, it was long conversations over espresso with some abnormally smart people. It was scribbling on whiteboards at 6pm that kept getting more detailed as the sun fell. It was morning conference calls that would span several different timezones and continents. Sounds like work right? Well, at Mozilla it certainly didn’t feel like it. Now don’t get me wrong, the Identity team is composed of some of the most productive people I’ve ever worked with, but they also know how to party!

A hard day’s work does not go unnoticed or unrewarded at Mozilla. The work-life balance is something that is not an after-thought, it’s your right as a Mozillian (after your patches land and pull requests are merged of course).


Interning at Mozilla has really been a life-changing experience. I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so much along the way. I would highly recommend to anyone that’s awesome, apply for an internship (or job) there, you won’t be disappointed. During my short time with them, I was able to contribute to Mozilla in ways I never imagined.

Mozilla, keep rockin’ the free web and thank you for the rockin’ summer! :)

If you have any questions regarding my personal experience at Mozilla, discuss them with me here on HN or email me at ryan@ryanseys.com

Disclaimer: Yeah, I worked at Mozilla but these thoughts and (rather awesome) experiences are my own and may not represent the views of Mozilla or their employees. Individual results may vary. Ask your doctor if Mozilla is right for you.