TBT: Extreme Blue
The summer of 2009 is one that I look back on with immense fondness. It was the summer I participated in IBM's Extreme Blue program. Extreme Blue is a prestigious internship at IBM. There are 1000's of applicants vying for just a few spots across the globe. Labs exist in Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, and San Jose, CA...with a few more in Canada and Europe. A lab will usually host three to four Extreme Blue teams with each team consisting of three technical interns and an MBA intern. The goal is unlike any other. Groups within IBM apply for the opportunity to sponsor a project. If they're so lucky, they put the applicants through rigorous interviews in finding a team that will solve their problem. On day one, you meet your mentors and are given that problem. Then, well, that's pretty much it. You're told "go" and expected to have a working solution in under 12 weeks. The mentors keep tabs and provide advice, they want to make sure that what you're building can become an IBM product or be added as a feature to an existing product.
Each week you meet with IBM executives, IBM Distinguished Engineers, and IBM Fellows. In addition to coding into the night, you must practice, practice, practice for the culmination of the internship - Expo. Three times a week with speaking coaches, that is. Expo, where each team in the US and Canada fly's to Armonk, NY and are given four minutes to pitch their project. An entire summer, countless hours and late nights summed up in four minutes. It's exciting, scary, but oh so rewarding. I personally shook Sam Palmisano's hand and explained our project to him at Expo.
My particular project was sponsored by WebSphere and had a goal of providing customers with an easier way to build RESTful web services. Our solution was a set of plugins to IBM Rational Application Developer (RAD) that automated the development and implementation of a RESTful facade on top of JPA Entities and Controllers. Talk about exciting for Sam Palmisano to hear about! :)
Here's to one of the best summer's of my life. Long Live Extreme Blue.