A day in the life of Mark Sewell, Escalation Engineer

Pull up a chair and read the latest in our Day in the Life series. This week we meet Escalation Engineer, Mark Sewell.

Marksewe at work

I’ve worked at Microsoft for around 8 years now and, boy, has time flown. I’ve seen many product releases, from Windows XP (back when I was an intern) through to the latest cloud offerings (BPOS and Office 365). This is a really exciting time to be in IT and Microsoft is definitely leading the way as the cloud momentum grows. I work in the Communications team within UK GTSC and we are starting to get more and more visibility of the cloud offerings, as we now provide third tier support for Live@Edu and BPOS/Office 365, alongside our on-premises work stream. I specialise in Exchange, so there is even potential to be working hybrid scenarios, as we work with customers with a mix of on-premises and cloud based Exchange.

As an Escalation Engineer, we are the last line in the Microsoft support model and we get to work on the most technically challenging problems and issues where changes to the product may be required. I work closely with the Redmond-based sustained engineering developer team (Exchange SE), and between us, we try to assist our customers as much as possible. The majority of my days are often spent looking at some form of debug logging, Windbg and/or perfmon. If I’m not doing this in the course of my own work I will likely doing it to assist our newer engineers or our front line support engineers. The majority of cases are solved by the front line team (something in the region of around 85-95%), so these are the people that have the skills to work on database restores and other common issues. Due to them fielding most of the work, they are also more likely to see trends and common issues. To this end I spend a lot of time triaging cases and helping to remove any roadblocks to solution.

Due to the complexity of issues we typically work upon, it can take days to get a full understanding of where an issue lies and how best to proceed. Fortunately I work in a vastly experienced team and we are always able to brainstorm and get ideas from one another. Alongside the day-to-day case work, the Escalation Engineer role empowers you to be able to find projects to work upon and write tools (if you are that way inclined). All of which go towards helping to make either the core product or the overall customer experience better. The role of an EE is very varied and it’s fair to say, no two days are ever the same Smile


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