Greg Jaworski here again after a long blogging hiatus. Several years back I wrote a popular blog post about becoming a Premier Field Engineer (http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2012/01/16/how-to-become-a-premier-field-engineer-pfe.aspx). To do this day I still get comments and meet people who have been hired by Microsoft who have read that post. I felt it was due for a follow-up. A lot has changed at Microsoft and in the technology world since I wrote that post several years ago. The blog has also grown significantly since then and many of our newer readers may have not read it.
As you can see by the title I put in Cloud/Azure edition. I did that on purpose as the cloud is no longer the future; the cloud is here and is becoming a bigger part of IT. If you read Microsoft’s earnings statement and have seen our share price lately Microsoft Azure is a key driver of Microsoft’s revenue. Now we read Reddit and other technology blogs and websites just like our readers. I’ve seen both the positive and negative posts about the cloud and those who say they (or the company they work for) will never move to the cloud. The reality is just like virtualization changed the way we deploy servers ~5 years ago the cloud is changing the way IT works. Learning or already having Azure/Cloud experience is a huge boost, and still a relatively niche skillset. Yes of course we continue to work with our customers who use our on-premises products, but even then having knowledge of Azure/Cloud and either the cloud based alternative or how to deploy that technology in the cloud is a great asset. I also keep saying cloud because any cloud knowledge/experience will help you. While Azure is the most beneficial for applying/working at Microsoft just understanding cloud technologies is great.
Now I know I still have not convinced some of you. The company you work for or the people you work with say they will never move to the cloud for x reason. I was at a car dealership 15 years ago and overhearing a conversation from a person who was unemployed and who did Mainframe administration. Mainframes still exist even today, but the relevance and # of those jobs have diminished. The cloud is that same turning point. It is not about what your company may or may not be doing, but it is about you staying relevant. The company you work for could be bought out the next day, or maybe you decide to work somewhere else.
· Stay relevant – The new PFE (and Microsoft) is about supporting customers on our current solutions and helping them move to Azure.
· Continuous education – similar to #1 but constant learning is key – As an example my spouse who works in the medical field must have a certain number of Continuing Education Units per year to keep her medical license. While this concept does not exist in IT constant and up to date learning is key both at Microsoft and in the IT field.
· The only constant is change – Adapt and embrace change. We look for engineers who are on the forefront of technology and can quickly adapt as the industry changes. It’s cloud today…(it might be HoloLens tomorrow!)
PFE as I wrote then many years ago is hiring today. If you have not read that post, I still strongly encourage you to do so as it still contains many great tips.