Role Insight: Software Development Engineer in Test – by Kate Pearson
My name is Kate Pearson andI am a Software Development Engineer in Test intern here at Microsoft. The department I belong to is called Games Test Organisation Europe. I know what you are thinking: that suddenly sounds a lot more exciting! Every role at Microsoft has something awesome about it – mine is that I get to work with first-party games before you have even heard of them.
So a little bit about me; I study Computer Science at Aston University. I have found this is the perfect year to put everything I have learned so far into practice working on projects that will last longer than just my internship year! In my first week at Microsoft I was given the chance to work at one of Microsoft’s studios called Lionhead – don’t know who they are? They are the studio behind the much-loved Fable franchise, and getting the chance to see how a game is developed right through from art to sound and game play is amazing. Now here’s where I fit in: I write tools that help us testers to ‘test’ the game, for example automatically collecting game data ready for it to be analysed by the rest of the studio. My team are also moving towards automated testing, where instead of us playing the game to test it (yes we do get a lot of Xbox One play time in!) the tests can be run overnight ready for when we return to the world of Albion.
Something I really wanted to know when applying to a software development role was what language do I need to know?! Well I mostly use C# for all my tests, but don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of experience with that language. When I first arrived my manager sat down with me to discuss what sort of programming I would be comfortable starting with, and I built from there.
Being an intern is great, I have had the chance to work outside my role learning more about other departments, for example creating a website, talking to school students and having a mentor. Not to mention all the great things that happen around Microsoft; for example the other week there was a massive Scalextric, soon the offices will be turned into a winter wonderland, oh and there is ALWAYS cake somewhere!
I know you will be searching foradvice when applying to Microsoft, so here are my tips to you:
- Application: use this chance to really stand out from other applications, don’t use the same examples for each question.
- First Interview: don’t be afraid to think about your answer first. I alsofound it useful to jot down the question so I could make sure I was always referring back to it.
- Assessment Centre: your interviewer will have a copy of your application, so remember what you wrote down to make sure you don’t just repeat yourself.
- Developers: there is a technical interview – just relax and talk aloud your thinking process. This helps your interviewers to understand your thought process even if you don’t get the right answer first time!