Tag Archives: Microsoft

I’m not dead!

So yeah, it’s been a while.  Did you miss me?

This is the end, beautiful friend…

I did intend to blog about my placement at Microsoft, however I lead too busy a life and with the extra work I had to put in for university in addition to working full time five days a week and trying to find time for my family, I made the decision to take a break.  I really need to learn how to say no!

After an intense but very fun year working for Microsoft, I handed in my security pass at the end of July and tried not to get too emotional at my leaving do.  I ended being more emotional when given my leaving presents but shhh, don’t tell anyone…

…they know me so well!

I already miss everyone as I can genuinely say that Microsoft is the best company I’ve worked for (so far).  The work culture is fantastic, the opportunities are plentiful and the office is a five minute walk from the bus stop and train station – handy for lazy gits like me!  However, I knew it would end at some point as my return to university loomed so I made the most of my time there.  I even managed to get some certification under my belt and am the proud owner of a bit of paper saying I’ve passed the Security Fundamentals exam, hurray!

Going on placement was worth it on so many levels.  In addition to the tremendous amount of experience and kudos I gathered while working there, it was actually a good feeling just to be back into the world of work.  I probably should expand on my experiences a little more, but having just written a massive end of year report for university my brain still hurts too much.  I’m sure you can imagine though, dear reader, how ecstatic I was when I got the call last May asking if I’d like to go work for one of the biggest and oldest tech companies on the planet and how fortunate I feel after 13 months of industry insight and the opportunity to make some wonderful friends and professional contacts.  I intend to put everything I’ve learned to good use when I’m back in the world of academia and ultimately post graduation, which fortunately is an awful lot.

Although my placement was an absolute blast, I was more than ready for my holiday to France.  Sitting in a gite in the middle of rural Brittany drinking the local cidre really helped me to put my thoughts in order, plus I had ample opportunity to put my shiny new Band through its paces as we holidayed.  Being so busy and then suddenly not having anything to worry about always gives me a strange anti-climactic feeling as I don’t always enjoy having nothing to do, but the holiday was a welcome tonic and I returned to dear old Ecosse refreshed and ready for the next set of challenges with a full set of batteries.

Back to the world of academia

Since returning from France I’ve been working on trying to get back into the swing of being a good-for-nothing student again.  Admittedly I am looking forward to going back to uni, despite the last minute pressures of getting the big report done and feeling I have no brain cells left.  The end of my degree is starting to creep up over the horizon and I’m ready for the final stretch.

I’m pleased to be returning to the role of Interconnect Student Champion for the 2015/16 academic year at Napier and thoroughly enjoyed meeting my fellow champions from across Scotland today at the Equate Scotland office.  I was also recently successful in my application to be a Microsoft Student Partner.  Not sure exactly what the role will entail in the coming year but I’m looking forward to it all the same.  I’m definitely going to have to put my time management skills to very good use this year – I told you have I have trouble saying no, didn’t I?

To be continued…

Life at Microsoft, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bing

You know my last post, giving advice on how to deal with placement applications?  Well, I’ve done something right there because it got me a one year internship with Microsoft.  Hurray! *does a happy dance*

To throw some light on what I’m actually going on about, I shall attempt to clarify.  Instead of spending my third year of studies on campus, I’m out on the job through Work Based Learning.  This means that I’m out on placement from uni, getting some real world experience while keeping a log of my progress with my workplace tutor.  Unfortunately I still have to do some work for uni to prove that I am actually making the most of my placement, but *SHAMELESS PLUG* tools like OneNote come in really handy for taking rough notes for proper write ups later on.  It’s only going to get worse from here on in, I promise you…

My placement started in July and my main duties concern the Microsoft Technology Centre (MTC), where I work as the lab engineer.  The MTC is an environment where we demonstrate business solutions to clients, covering everything from Office 365 to Windows Azure Pack.  Instead of the traditional death by Powerpoint, the MTC gives clients and partners the opportunity to see solutions in action and act upon anything that comes up in the sessions.  This of course means that the room contains a wonderful assortment of devices for folk to play while they learn about how awesome Microsoft products are.  I’m also in charge of the on premises datacentre, on which we host the virtual machines that run our demo environments.  Coming from two years of learning how to do things the Cisco way at uni, it was a massive culture shock to discover how powerful software defined networking is – very rarely do I need to physically configure anything in the datacentre as I can pretty much do it all virtually.  It’s a really exciting time to be at Microsoft as they’re working really hard to show off the wonders of the likes of Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Centre, Azure….the list goes on!

There’s so much to say about life at Microsoft – as you can imagine though, I work in a very fast moving environment and no two days are the same.  In addition to expanding on my initial training, I have the day job to take care of so things can get quite hairy at times; however, my colleagues are absolutely lovely and always happy to answer my inane questions.  Microsoft are also very focused on personal development and flexible working, which gives me the opportunity to pick up new skills or expand on my current knowledge, whether it be through certification or getting involved in work projects.  As long as the day job gets done, I’m free to get involved in whatever takes my fancy – within reason, of course!  The intern programme is a big part of my Microsoft life, with lots of events, projects and activities to get involved with.  I’m really enjoying my time there so far, becoming more and more immersed in Microsoft products as I go.  No doubt I’ll have more enthralling tales for you in the near future.

We do of course talk a lot about our competitors and Google isn’t exactly a dirty word round the office, but I do have to be careful when talking about search engines…anyway, who needs Siri when there’s Cortana?

Take your “pink it and shrink it” and stick it

I’m even grumpier than usual thanks to being in bed for most of the week with some stupid virus or somesuch, so I’ve decided to have a rant as part of the recovery process.  So ner.

As a lady geek, one thing that grinds my gears in particular is the “pink it and shrink it” policy of many tech companies.  Remember that Nintendo 3DS “I’m not a gamer” campaign at Christmas, where various women simpered over their coral pink consoles and told the world that they are actually chefs, coin collectors and dog trainers?

It’s a shame we have an LCD telly, because throwing my shoe at the screen when I see awful adverts like these isn’t the same as when we had our CRT telly.  That screen was tough!  I’m thinking of petitioning Samsung to provide Gorilla Glass protective screens with their new tellies for those of us who don’t want to break our equipment…

Anyway, I digress.  I got over it and carried on hacking things to death on my Xbox, as you do.

Now, I’ve admired Microsoft as a company for many years, especially as they seem to have had a good, proactive approach to women in tech from the very start.  I also had the pleasure of meeting and having a very insightful conversation with a lovely Microsoft rep called Linda (unfortunately I’ve lost her business card and despite some desperate Googling I can’t find her) at a seminar last year.  She had lots of positive anecdotes about her life at Microsoft and was really inspiring.  I subsequently joined the Women at Microsoft page on Facebook and have enjoyed a lot of the posts and articles – until this one caught my eye:

Microsoft’s Dara Ibrahim at a Dubai Women in Technology networking event with a *shudder* pink Surface

Really, Microsoft?  I am disappoint.  Truly.

The two examples above only do damage to those of us trying to make it in a man’s world and it really makes me despair.  I’m so tired of tech companies catering to women on the basis that they only live to play Cooking Mama or only use their devices to play Farmville and shop for dresses.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the colour pink and I’m not a total ice queen when I see a puppy, but not all women who pick up a laptop get upset if the cover isn’t the same shade as their fingernails.  Women are attracted to computing, science and technology for exactly the same reasons as men.

Have you ever considered that, guys?  It really is that simple.