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Yesterday we held a live chat event on our Facebook page featuring Kimberly Wagner, a Microsoft University Recruiter and Wilson To, an Imagine Cup and MSP alumnus who now works for Caradigm, a Microsoft and GE Healthcare Company. From landing a job or internship at Microsoft to top skills for tech industry professionals, we covered it all. See below for some of the top questions and answers from our one hour session. To learn more about Wilson and Kimberly, check out this interview blog post.
My dream internship would be at Microsoft. I'm an economics student at a St. Louis area school. What's the best possible way for me to be able to even have a chance at getting an internship with the best company in the world? (Microsoft, but I think you already knew that :) )
Wilson To: Trust me, understanding Economics has its perks too! I have a background in the biological sciences, so I felt that same awkwardness when I applied for Microsoft. The cool thing is that Microsoft hires folks from all backgrounds because software is everywhere! It's more about developing your skills and showcasing your smarts through things like the MSP Program or Microsoft Imagine Cup are ways that I decided to go through to get noticed!
Kimberly Wagner: Kris - Microsoft is an amazing place! The first step is to apply on the Microsoft University site. I also encourage you to see if there are any Microsoft events that are taking place at your university. This also can be found at Microsoft University or through your career center. Another important factor to consider is how you can make your resume stand out from your peers. Microsoft receives thousands of resumes a year, and it’s important to stand out. Have you developed any applications or worked on any projects outside of your class work? Are you involved with any student organizations? Are you in any type of leadership positions? These are some of the qualities that will help you stand out amongst your peers.
What advice do you have for students to prepare for a job or internship?
Kimberly: This is a great question. My advice would be to make sure that you are always working on your technical skills, whether that be through class projects or development on your own. I also encourage students to contact their manager prior to starting their job or internship and see if there are any reading materials or skills that can build prior, so they can hit the ground running from day one.
I have a deep interest in coding, but I haven't tried any app development, how do I start my career?
Wilson: As a former Microsoft Student Partner, I shared your deep interest in coding and was a little confused where to get started. Fortunately, Microsoft makes it super easy: with the Getting Started Guide - it should help provide some guidance in how to become a student app developer!
What are the skills Microsoft is looking for, for people applying for the software engineering internships?
Wilson: Thanks for your question. Microsoft looks for many great qualities in their engineers. First we look for technical skills, great communication, ability to problem solve, as well as someone who can think creatively and outside of the box.
What is the ideal way to apply for an internship?
Kimberly: You can apply for an internship by visiting Microsoft University.
Would it be possible to get more information on the Explore Microsoft summer program regarding deadlines or other important dates, or should I just apply, wait, and see?
Kimberly: I am happy to see that you mentioned the Explore Microsoft program. Explore Microsoft is a 12 week program designed to expose students to the software development industry. For additional information on the program please visit our website. Regarding the application process, you can apply at Microsoft University. At this time the deadline has already passed, but I welcome you to apply in September when we will reopen the positions.
I'm about to start a degree in ethical hacking (computer security) in September. What kind of job roles are available at Microsoft with that kind of qualification?
Kimberly: Thanks for your interest in Microsoft. There are many awesome teams that work on security at Microsoft. For instance there are many groups in Windows, Office, Server and Tools and many more that all have positions in security.
Wilson: Like what Kim mentioned above ^ - I've had a chance to talk with a few folks from those teams. In terms of technical skills, much of it is similar to what was mentioned in other posts. I would probably emphasize the 'creative thinking' piece of it - that's what hacking is about, right?
When applying for a Software Engineering position, I read that those are always located in Redmond USA, When applying is there any disadvantage if you are applying from outside the United States?
Wilson: I've had the fortunate opportunity to meet folks from all over the world here on campus! Everyone, including those applying from outside the US, has an equal opportunity to start their career at Microsoft! I highly encourage you to apply, and looking forward to an opportunity to potentially work with you!
I am a graduate in IT and I have good coding skills but I am weak in the theoretical part, does it matter at any point in time if I look for a job or after gaining experience switch to another job?
Kimberly: With your IT and coding skills, I am sure that provides you will a strong foundation for many development positions. You will see many students who have experience in one area but are applying for a different position.
Wilson: I can vouch for what Kim mentioned above :)
I worked for Microsoft Mexico from Sept 2011 until August 2012. I left due to a budget decrease. I want to get back. Do I need to wait a year, can I still apply? Which are the recommendations?
Kimberly: You are more than welcome to apply via our careers website or if you are a recent graduate you can apply at Microsoft University. You are welcome to apply now. You will be evaluated individually for each role and do not have to wait a year to reapply. We hope to see your application!
I am a .NET developer and in order to boost my career where should I concentrate? Mobile apps or the cloud? And what are the required qualifications to be part of Microsoft?
Wilson: The cool thing is, there are innovations in multiple fronts whether in mobile, cloud, big data, or (maybe I'm a little biased on this) healthcare. Concentrate in areas where you are passionate about, that way you'll have fun while doing great things.
Kimberly: That is great to hear that you are interested in an internship at Microsoft. I encourage you to check out Microsoft University. We will have all of our current positions listed as well as how to apply.
What is more important in a resume for an internship? Job experience or school projects?
Kimberly: Microsoft values both job experience and school projects equally. I always encourage students on resumes to include what the project was, what their responsibilities were, list any programing languages they used as well as the size of the project. This will really help recruiters get the full scope of your project when evaluating a student’s resume.
Wilson: I wouldn't really put one as more important than the other. Both jobs, internships, and school projects really provide a means to let you showcase your skills and ability to think outside the box. A lot of the interviews that I have been through are more focused on that aspect.
Kimberly: Microsoft looks for candidates that have great technical skills, problem solving skills, strong communication and ability to think creatively.
How can we apply to the Microsoft Student Partner program? And what is it like to be in the program?
Wilson: Feel free to explore and apply for the Microsoft Student Partner Program. Though everything is region-dependent, there are tons of awesome projects from launch parties, to Microsoft Imagine Cup events, to developer hackathons, and LAN parties to you can work on. You’ll be informed about the latest Microsoft technologies. You will acquire the tools and training to lead technology discussions on your campus. You’ll also get a chance to demonstrate your know-how by demonstrating the newest technologies, host tech events, etc.
Also be sure to check out this video:
Do you have any last advice for students starting their careers?
Kimberly: I have had a great time answering everyone's questions today! Thank you to everyone who participated. I believe that passion drives innovation and it is extremely important to be passionate in this industry. I also encourage students to continue to develop on their own and grow their technical skills.
Wilson: Always a fun blast hanging out with students from around the world! I recently started my career 8 months and 19 days ago, so it hasn't been too long ago. I've been offered a few jobs by many different companies and universities, and tempted to sign at the dotted line. But, don't settle. Find something that you are passionate about, and find something that aligns with what your ambitions, whether it is to create awesome technology or to change the world. :) Don't settle.
i am diploma student strengthen my basics in mechanical engineering. Is there any scope for me to the Microsoft, a part of worlds best company???