Intern Insights - Technical Programme Management

Luke Marsden

Technical Program Manager Intern – Bing
BSc Computer Science – University of Reading

Job Role

Hey guys, I’m Luke and I am a current intern at Microsoft working as a Technical Program Manager for Bing Search Technology Centre Europe, based in London Victoria. Bing is a fantastic place to work, and the technology behind a search engine is truly amazing, along with the people who create it. A lot of people aren’t too sure what a Program Manger role entails, but in truth it highly varies between your team. It spans from analytics, programming, research, design, innovation and hypothesis. It’s a kind of cross between a data scientist and a developer.

The Technical Side

As you may expect, being a technical intern at a search engine does require some technical background. Decent programming as well as an understanding of the fundamentals of computing is expected, but you don’t have to be a guru to get an internship here. A couple of the languages we use are C#, C++, Python, PL/SQL based languages and JavaScript.The main thing is how approachable people are, everyone just wants to share their knowledge and help out. If there is something you really wish to gain experience in, I can bet there is someone in the office who is an absolute guru in it; time is allowed for you to develop your own technical skills.

The Highlights

My favourite aspect of my role must be the ability to test out new ideas on Bing. DO some data mining, analyse some numbers, come up with a new feature, code this feature, test it live on Bing and get to see the impact of your work. I have just had the ‘go ahead’ to get my first feature shipped on Bing and as of next week the tens of millions of monthly users will see and use this new feature. This possibility of huge coverage is only possible working at a place like this. It’s truly remarkable.

Microsoft Culture

One of the greatest things about this job is the work environment. I initially thought going from University to full time employment was going to be a real shock, but I couldn’t have been more wrong; Xboxs, Table Football, an outdoor balcony and even a beer fridge on our floor. The dress code is also very relaxed, ranging from shirts, hoodies, shorts, jeans and flip-flops; or even no shoes at all. Working hours? Depends on your team; I personally normally start around 10 but it may be earlier/later depending on your teams working hours. Oh, and two words: Nerf guns.

Opportunitiesluke

One thing that makes an internship at Microsoft special is the range of stretch projects you can take part in. Raising money for charity, educating schools, getting women into technology and so on. These projects are great fun, and you get to collaborate with people whom you wouldn’t normally get the chance to. One of these projects I am involved with entails visiting University placement and graduate fairs all over the country to try and get people to sign up to this amazing scheme. I wanted to obtain some more project and people management skills, and becoming a team lead for one of these projects allowed me to gain experience in an area I had always wanted to. If there is a specific area outside your job role which you want to improve in, there is a way during this internship.

Application Hints & Tips

Much like all technical jobs, interviews consist of a white board coding exercise; in his case also involving discussion around data structures. The key here is to talk about what you’re doing. Most people will make mistakes, that is fine, but speak out load your thought process and that’s what earns you the credits. Also, Bing likes to have an additional 1:1 phone call with you after the assessment center, just to test your metal.

Aside from the technical application advice, all I can say is be yourself and be passionate. Show enthusiasm for Microsoft’s products, show yourself as being willing to learn and think hard about what group projects you have been a part of and reflect on them; any technical group work is a huge plus. Oh, and don’t hesitate to apply!

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