Ethan Arrowood – Passion in Open-source to Interning at Microsoft

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Ethan Arrowood
Photo Courtesy of Ethan Arrowood

Will: Tell us about yourself.

Ethan: Hello! My name is Ethan Arrowood and I am a third-year student at Wentworth Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Applied Mathematics. I am currently a Commercial Software Engineer co-op at Microsoft Corporation in Cambridge, MA. At Wentworth, I am involved with Accelerate, HackWITus, Computer Science Society, Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity, and Concrete Jungle Ultimate Frisbee team.

Will: How is the Computer Science program at Wentworth Institute of Technology?

Ethan: The Computer Science program at Wentworth is flexible because students can take courses ahead of time. The Computer Science department helps the students succeed and the Department Chair, Charlie Wiseman, is very approachable. Being in the program, I was able to take algorithms and data structures at the same time which enabled me to study abroad. This summer, I was able to do an independent study on graph databases, which is a leg up from the traditional databases class.

Will: Tell me about your experience being a FreeCodeCamp and Node.js contributor.

Ethan: I started out in web development and I got really interested in it. This is when I started giving back to the community and began my open-source contribution. I started out refining JavaScript code and this is how my journey began. Sophomore year, I attended the Node.js Code & Learn at the Node.js Interactive North America conference in Vancouver, Canada. This gave me an opportunity to learn more about FreeCodeCamp. I decided to take my skills to the next level. I learned React, Fastify, and Node.js by contributing to open-source. I spent a lot of time with source code and I am releasing my own things with open-source. As a Commercial Software Engineer co-op at Microsoft, it is awesome that I have an opportunity to contribute to open source.

Will: Heard that your contributions to open-source landed you an internship at Microsoft, tell us more about that.

Ethan: Earlier in the fall of Sophomore year, a Wentworth alumni found me on Twitter through a tweet by Accelerate. He reached out and offered to give me a tour of the Microsoft office space and speak to me about co-ops and career development. I then applied on the Microsoft careers page and went through the same interviewing process as every candidate applying to Microsoft would. My personal brand and strong GitHub profile helped me in the application process significantly.

Will: What advice would you give to students interested in learning React?

Ethan: One advice I would give is understanding the basics of JavaScript. If you do not know JavaScript, try to dedicate time in learning the basics. React is a strong framework and understanding the basics of JavaScript is key to learning React. The best advice is to look at other React open-source projects and keep practice. You can only learn by doing. There is a lot of free content online for React and the barrier of entry is low.

Will: You have been funded through Wentworth’s Accelerate program, how was that experience?

Ethan: My history with Accelerate started during the first week of college. I was really interested in getting involved with Accelerate. At Accelerate, I was able to understand the whole process of getting an idea funded, from start to finish. At the end of the day, I was able to work with a lot of mentors and it was amazing that my idea was funded. To be transparent, my project is currently on hold because I do not have the developer experience to build the infrastructure for my project. I would have to dedicate more time learning the engineering process before I would get things running. Being in Accelerate was great, I was able to become a coach and had the opportunity to work on the Hacker’s program through HackWITus.

Will: Tell us about your role with HackWITus.

Ethan: HackWITus was started by computer science students. I was able to jump on the first event and spent a lot of time making sponsorships for HackWITus. For our last event, I was mainly apart of event execution.

This year, I am functioning as the lead organizer and have focused our event planning on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. We wanted to dive deeper on how students with privilege can help the Wentworth community in becoming more diverse. We wanted to make sure underprivileged groups at Wentworth are being heard. We are working with NSBE, SWE, SHPE, WITA, & Center of Diversity this year to make this event successful.

Will: Any final words of wisdom?

Ethan: A lot of students are tired after a day of school and are looking for motivation. They are always wondering how they can achieve more. You would need to attest to the idea that the work you can do now is going to set you up for success. Self-care is important too. Take an hour to watch Netflix and spend time with your friends. Stay motivated, but don’t forget to live a little.

Will: What is your favorite place in Boston?

Ethan: Pavement Coffeehouse is my favorite coffee shop in Boston. I love all the locations. Going to the Charles and walking along the Charles River is also one of my favorite things to do in Boston. There are a lot of areas you can sit and relax in Boston.

Will: What music do you listen to?

Ethan: When I am not coding, I am listening to Lo-Fi and Chill music. When I’m coding, I listen to rock, metal, and rap. Listening to my favorite songs helps. I definitely recommend the Spotify Lo-Fi stations.

Will: What are your hobbies?

Ethan: Other than coding, I love hiking, skiing, ultimate frisbee, and running. I love playing video games, building Legos, and watching/reading horror movies/novels—especially the classics.

Will: What are your plans for the next 5 years?

Ethan: I want to continue to work at Microsoft and stick around Boston. I also want to enjoy my young adult years. I see entrepreneurship as a viable option. Traveling, locally or internationally is something I would do. On my bucket list, I would go to Europe, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Locally, I would like to go to Colorado and mainly explore the North East (Maine & Vermont).

Will: Where are your favorite places to eat food?

Ethan: I love Blackbird Doughnuts, Neighborhoods Coffee & Crepes, Chicken & Rice Guys, and Il Mondo Pizzeria.

Will: Any shout-outs?

Ethan: I would give a shout-out to Ben Greenier and the whole CSE (Commercial Software Engineering) department at Microsoft for making my summer awesome. Charlie Wiseman, Chris McIntyre, and the whole Accelerate Team (Tory, Monique, Max, and Ryan) from Wentworth are awesome too. Additionally, I’d like to shout-out my roommates Kathesh, Julia, and Paige. Living with them is the best thing. Being with them day to day makes everything more positive. Last shout-out, my parents. Thank you for all of your constant support.


Connect with Ethan Arrowood on Linkedin!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out Ethan on Twitter.

You can also find Ethan on GitHub and check out Ethan’s website 🚀


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