When I started my university degree six years ago, the thought of working for Microsoft as a software development engineer in test was nothing but a pipe dream. Thanks to a friend who referred me to Microsoft, I managed to land myself an internship at what was and is the most successful technology company in the world. Having worked my way up from intern to full-time employee post-graduation, I am now part of the team responsible for the back-end online service that supports Windows Defender, Microsoft’s anti-virus software. How could you follow suit?
Here are five smart ways to lay the foundation for your own career.
1. Get focused while you’re still in school.
So often people study a degree without understanding why they are taking certain courses or how the course will someday benefit them in the workplace. This is what’s great about an internship. With the Students Excellence Program, you get to study and work at the same time, giving you a true preview of what it is like to work in the tech industry. It really helps put your course work into perspective and ensure you are investing your efforts in the right place. For me, testing was always my passion but had I not worked as an intern at Microsoft, this would have been harder to realise and to further refine my skills.
2. Never stop wanting to learn and develop.
During my internship, I got a lot of on-the-job training, and everyone I worked with was helpful and encouraging. Microsoft also offers additional learning and development courses. And you have the opportunity to get a mentor or career coach, which is invaluable. I recently decided to undertake a MBA qualification, and my manager was so supportive. I am now working full time and studying in the evening, thanks to Microsoft’s flexible working environment.
3. Don’t let location hold you back.
I started my career as an intern in Israel’s Haifa office, but when I became a full-time employee, I decided to move to Herzliya. Again, after an open dialogue with my manager, I was able to move locations, as our teams are extremely collaborative. Although I have always been based in Israel, many of my colleagues have relocated to Israel from abroad and vice versa. At Microsoft, it’s all about doing what you love from anywhere in the world.
4. Let yourself consider testing. You might find the satisfaction surprising.
There seems to be a belief that if you work in test you don’t need to know how to programme. This is not the case at all, and is one of the things that makes Microsoft so different from other companies. If you want to work at Microsoft, you need to have top-notch technical skills, the ability to take ownership for the quality of the product you are testing, and continuously refine the processes used. You don’t always get this level of autonomy and ownership at other organisations.
5. Apply on campus or online.
I was lucky to be referred but had I not been, I may have missed out on this great opportunity. You can either apply online or attend a recruitment fair at your local university.
Whether you’re a student, recent grad, or working professional, apply for jobs on our Global Careers Site.