Southeast Computer Science Student Goes Behind the Code with Amazon


Southeast Missouri State University student Grant Reid is getting a bird’s eye view of the world’s largest e-commerce company this summer, serving as a software development engineer intern with Amazon in Seattle, Washington.

Reid, a senior computer science major with a minor in mathematics of Pleasant Plains, Illinois, works with Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) Cognito team. As a subsidiary of Amazon, AWS provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments. The Cognito team specifically helps companies, large and small, with authentication, authorization and user management services for web and mobile apps.

“The service helps with their account and login procedures, and handles user accounts for entire companies,” Reid said. “It is surprising how many websites actually use AWS.”

With the demand for high-speed, high-quality and secure services growing, Reid is part of a team dedicated to meeting industry standards and needs. He’s learning about Amazon’s software development process which supports millions of users and customers.

“There is so much potential to learn, and I have already learned so much, he said. “I am also learning skills specific to Amazon Web Services, and every day is a new challenge that teaches me how to solve problems efficiently.”

As part of his internship, Reid must complete an improvement project for the Cognito service.

Southeast student Grant Reid in front of Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

“I’m updating and changing the code in the Amazon Cognito Service and improving the customer experience,” he said. “I’m working on speeding up the email sending process when customers use the Cognito service. When I’m finished, other companies that use Amazon Cognito should see a noticeable increase in speed with parts of their apps.”

Working for one of the world’s Big Four technology companies has been exciting, starting from his first orientation day.

“It was the entire day and it takes you through Amazon and the leadership principles that define it,” he said. “You can really see the philosophy that made the company so successful and how to think like an Amazonian.

“Amazon is a huge company filled with very smart people and their cloud services are cutting edge and industry leading. I have never worked for a company this size, so I’m getting some great experience with huge systems,” he added.

Every day brings new challenges, but Reid credits much of his success at Amazon to the computer science and honors courses he’s taken and student organizations he’s involved with at Southeast, preparing him for this real-life industry opportunity.

“The challenges of the Jane Stephen Honors Program have helped with my education immensely,” he said. “I’m also a member of the Computer Science Club and Competitive Programming Team, which have really prepared me for applying and interviewing for software engineer jobs. The problems that we tackle in competitive programming were basically the interview questions, and that helped me get where I am today.”

Reid hopes to gain real-world experience from his time at Amazon that could lead to a career.

“After graduating from Southeast, I will definitely pursue a career as a software engineer or software developer,” he said. “Hopefully, I will receive an offer from Amazon after this internship, but I am also learning skills specific to Amazon Web Services, which can translate to so many jobs with so many different companies and opportunities across the world.”