Apprentice Role Profile - Microsoft Technology Centre

Name: Robson Smith

Role: Lab and Support Engineer

Department: Microsoft Technology Centre

Location: Thames Valley Park

I attended Aylesford School Sports College in Kent where I studied Media Studies, Sociology Additional Science and ICT for my GCSEs. Ever since I was little I had a passion for Technology and computers. After the Get On team came into my school I was hooked and researched online at working for Microsoft. At the Insight event I was told that they were closing applications for FY16 Apprentices tomorrow so I thought I could be that one in a million.

My Application Process

Online application - The first step for an apprenticeship is to apply. Even though I applied late and managed to get an offer, by no means do I recommend doing the same thing because it’s not a guaranteed option. Try and apply as soon as you can. Then, keep a close eye on your emails as many of them will be confirming details such as contact information addresses and the next process.

Psychometric tests - Take your time to answer Psychometric tests as Microsoft wants to know the real you and your thoughts. Honesty is the best policy.

Video interview - Some questions have more allocated time than others because they require a more in-depth answer. Use all the time given wisely

Assessment centre -At the assessment centre you come face to face with managers from different areas of the company who give you a task. For me this was the scary one as my assessment centre was in the Henley Boardroom which on its own is amazing but also makes you cautious as you don’t want to break anything!

The most challenging part about the process has to be the Assessment Centre. You sit down with someone you have never met before and for all you know they could be Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO).

My top tips for the process would be:

“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.” - Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

  • The earlier you complete Psychometric tests the less time you will be waiting for your next test. Take as much time answering questions but as little time completing and sending off the answers.

  • Check your emails - I felt like royalty receiving an email from Microsoft even if it was saying could you confirm your mobile number. When it comes to assessment centre’s you will need to check your emails for location time and who you are asking for on arrival at Microsoft.

My Role

Microsoft Technology Centre in the UK provides the resources that can help overcome business challenges. We provide three services, each dependent on customer needs. We envision, architect and prove solutions to help customers take full advantage of Microsoft and partner technologies.

In all honesty, when I read the job description I was so confused and scared as it involved computer networking, which wasn’t one of my many strengths. And I also thought, “Working with servers? Networking? That’s really boring! I’d much rather Game test for Xbox!” but I was offered a role in the MTC and I took it, hoping to learn as much as I can and make the best of it.

I started in the MTC with very little knowledge of what I was supposed to do. I work with a very supportive team and they have been a valuable resource. I’ve learned so many things on the go and yet on some days I feel that I know nothing. But the fact is that technology is forever evolving, and in a place like the MTC where you’re exposed to so many new technologies, there’s still a lot to learn. With Windows 10 announced months ago, we get some pretty cool stuff to show off to our visitors including the Microsoft Surface Hub and Windows Continuum (Not even on sale yet!)

No two days at the MTC are ever alike. It all depends on what’s going on in the week, the occasional troubleshooting and technical support. Some of the things I do are deploying rooms and servers for our department or customer engagements, providing tours to visitors, opening up servers and computers to fix or upgrade components, and helping people to project their screens! I initially thought that there were few opportunities to program in this role, but I was wrong! Powershell is an amazing tool used to manage both servers and computers and it has helped to automate so many of our processes.

Time management is key here because there’s just so much to do and some things do take time. Sometimes while my script is running, I start deploying rooms and servers, or tend to a broken machine. Another part of my role is to make mundane tasks more efficient - there’s no point wasting precious time, right?

While applying I would like to have been introduced to the Be Your Future blog so I can read about people’s experiences including events – so make sure you spread the word!

My experience of the company so far

Working for a major worldwide corporation is incredible, you never know who you will meet or what will happen tomorrow especially at Microsoft- surprises are round every corner!

What surprised me the most is that you can get into a lift with Michel Van der Bel and talk to him about anything you want. You will find that colleagues and senior members of staff like Michel love taking to Apprentices (… and interns/grads/MACHs) despite you thinking it should be the other way round.

My #1 Top Tip for making the most of your internship/apprenticeship

Make the most of your time here. Especially in such a big company like Microsoft, there are lots of opportunities to have if you try to find it! I’ve joined the Be Your Future team to share my story and explain how cool and fun an “Apprenticeship” really is. From Get On to dressing up as an Elfangeslist (Technical Christmas joke!) There is sooo much to do at Microsoft there are no limits. People are always wanting volunteers for events, even Future Decoded, so get involved and get stuck in!

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