Application Development Manager
Business Unit: Unified Support
From October 2018 to present
My goal as an ADM is to help my customers deliver better software faster and ultimately give them the ability to deliver value to their customers as efficiently as possible.
In my opinion, there are three essential parts to the ADM role.
All customers that my team and I engage with will have a Developer support contract. As an ADM I deliver technical consultancy for both my customers and my colleagues’ customers. This allows our team to cover a range of technologies and skills. I personally focus in software delivery, DevOps, automation, and Cloud Development.
I am the central point of contact for my customers for everything to do with software development. My team does not limit themselves to the Microsoft stack applications or Microsoft Azure cloud-native apps. We support our customers no matter what they are building, as long as some of their software development touches our stack. This means an application we would help with can be anything from a Java LOB app on Azure to a .NET app running in AWS.
I manage the work around contract renewal for my customers and get involved in positioning our Developer Support offering to new customers in the market.
Team: Modern Apps
Business Unit: Global Delivery
From October 2016 to present
My job as a Premier Field Engineer was to help our customers with their software development across the Microsoft stack.
I had the opportunity to work with customers across the EMEA region, and across a variety of different industries, delivering everything from structured workshops, to custom consulting engagements.
My focus technologies in the PFE role were:
- Application Lifecycle Management & DevOps
- Software Development Lifecycle
- Cloud Governance
- Microsoft Development Tools
- Team Foundation Server
- Visual Studio Team Services
- Visual Studio
- Modern Software Development & Delivery
- Sharing & Artifact Management
- Microsoft Azure (focused around Cloud Development)
Premier Field Engineers deliver a variety of services. They include but are not limited to:
- Workshops & Structured Courses
- These are standardised proactive packages that can be booked by Microsoft customers across the world.
- Custom Proactive Deliveries
- Often a workshop does not quite fit the brief. Thankfully custom deliveries are an option
- Risk Assessments
- For some products, Microsoft offers risk assessment software that can be run by the customer or with the help of an engineer.
- Running this software with an engineer can be highly beneficial as it can educate the customer about how to best read the data and how to respond to issues effectively.
- Onboarding & Migration Support
- My team and I help customers who are just getting to know a new product, dramatically accelerating their learning, and helping them to start using the new piece of software quicker.
- To ensure that our customers can make the most out of these sessions, we deliver a mixture of classroom, remote support, and labs.
- Proactive On-Site Support
- This is when one of the people in my team or I are placed in a development team.
- On-site visits happen either on a regular basis or are focused around a particular project.
Microsoft Azure Infrastructure
Team: UK Windows Support Escalations
Business Unit: CSS (Customer Services & Support)
From September 2015 to October 2016
As a Support Engineer, I helped our global business customers make the most out of their Azure infrastructure.
It was part of my job to give advice on performance, best practices, infrastructure design, and deployments, while also being on hand for break fix support, when a problem with our infrastructure arose. My technical responsibilities ranged from giving advice about effectively configuring group policy on a Windows Azure machine to detecting and identifying malicious software on a Linux virtual machine.
There is a large amount of different problems to solve and customer scenarios to understand in cloud infrastructure, and no two problems are ever the same.
All major responsibilities in a Support Engineering role can be broken down into three different categories:
- Problem Analysis, Customer Support: People Side
- Technical Side, Troubleshooting & Education
- Documentation, Community & Knowledge Capture
Problem Analysis & Customer Support
The cloud market is getting increasingly more competitive. It is a marketplace, where customers have every opportunity to switch providers if they are not happy with their service. This premise requires us to differentiate ourselves against the competition. The only sustainable advantage that can be maintained is Customer Support as prices are already very competitive, and uptime and availability are high across providers.
Technical & Educational
Infrastructure as a Service is a very broad area, which means that the support teams in this area cannot be afraid of having to learn something new. Due to the flexibility of IaaS, customers will often have a very specialised environment but require help understanding the underlying infrastructure and how it relates to what they are doing. To be at their best, any support engineer needs to make an effort to understand the customer’s application and scenario.
Knowledge Capture & Community
Part of the job is to make sure we capture customer problems accurately and correctly, as what our customers do is the very best feedback we can get. Feeding back to the different product teams involved in the development of the Azure platform is important and expected.
This enables us to capture common issues and deploy fixes faster.
The Microsoft MACH Scheme
I am a MACH (Microsoft Academy for College Hires) hire. MACH is Microsoft’s global graduate scheme and the company hires about 30 graduates in the UK each year.
People are hired in four different streams:
- Business Consulting (previously included in Technical)
I came onboard as part of the technical stream. Hiring usually starts early in the university year (October/November time) and successful applicants are hired into a stream. Their final job roles are then confirmed later in the process (February/March).
Being a part of the MACH scheme can help to open many doors in the company. The scheme also provides unique global training opportunities.
In my first couple of months on the job I spent six weeks in Romania for the global Customer Services and Support onboarding.
Later in my first year, I went to Dublin for the MACH skill up training. This was followed up by a couple of global training events in the United States, as well as a final MACH meetup in Warsaw at the end of the second year of the scheme.
Team: Query Formulation Platform Team
Business Unit: Bing (Search Technology Centre)
From July 2013 to August 2014
One thing that I really enjoyed about my internship, was to see that Microsoft recognises talent and allows talented people to grow in their roles and take on more responsibility as they go along.
During my internship I worked in a team that provides the platform for query suggestions and auto suggestions in the Bing search engine.
I soon discovered that Bing is much more than a search engine. In the big network of Microsoft’s apps, devices, and services Bing is an important product that enables Microsoft’s products to implement additional features and provide more information when it is necessary. The platform provides services to all major products in the Microsoft ecosystem, and I got a lot of exposure to teams across Microsoft as a result, working with different development teams.
During my time at Bing, I managed to acquire a deep knowledge of C# and other programming and scripting languages. I developed the ability to read and understand big code bases and experienced – for the first time – what it is like to work on a big software product in a team.
Its aim was reach out to 300,000 young people aged between 16 and 25 each year, and inspire them to take up a job in technology.
Get On was structured into three distinct teams for School Events, “Get Inspired” Events, and Work Experience. I took on a role as the Readiness Manager for the Get On Work Experience team in London.
Readiness Manager for the Get On Work Experience Scheme
From September 2013 to June 2014
As the Readiness Manager my main task was to ensure that each of our work experience weeks ran smoothly. This involved liaising with more senior colleagues who would give talks to our trainees, as well as solving the logistical challenge of having rooms available for all group activities. I was also in charge of ordering and setting up loan devices for the work experience candidates.
One of my other responsibilities was to organise and run our work experience week assessment centres together with the rest of the team. I also prepared and organised my own bespoke training sessions for candidates whenever it was required.
Additionally, I spent time helping out at ‘Schools’ and ‘Get Inspired’ events, which were a good opportunity to connect with young people who are interested in technology. Often, I was the only person in a technical role at these events, which meant that I got a lot of engagement and questions.