In this post, I want to talk about my observations of the potential career opportunities working for Microsoft in Microsoft Business Applications. First of all, when considering a career or ultimately going and working for Microsoft, there are some things that you need to understand. My goal here is to discuss what you should be thinking about if you want to work for Microsoft in Microsoft Business Applications.
Where to Begin
Let’s say you’re at school, if you want to pursue a Microsoft career, perhaps with a view to ultimately join the product team, you first need to take a keen interest in STEM-related courses. That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. The skills taught in STEM are skills used in software development, so as much as possible training in these subjects at school and university is important. Ultimately this does not just apply to Microsoft Business Applications but also applies more broadly to any type of technology role. A key skill in the area of AI will be math, I think math is going to be important in developing algorithms of the future.
Should I Graduate?
Next thing to consider is the Microsoft graduate program.
Microsoft graduate programs are for people coming out of university that want to work in technology and can you set on a great career path.
I have interviewed people like Stephen Siciliano, Ryan Jones and Smith Codio, who all came into Microsoft via graduate programs.
Students and graduates
At Microsoft, we offer a variety of programs designed to empower you. When smart people with a passion for technology get together they create things that change the world. Imagine the impact you can have.
Take a look here at the Microsoft Graduate Program
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is extremely important when communicating about technology because translating technical details into terms that business people understand is necessary for your, and your technology, to have impact.
Therefore, you should be able to read your audience. Many times I’ve seen people that are just pure technologists engage in a presentation or meetings without tailoring their communication. In that instance there is no knowledge transfer, no education, no adoption of the concepts being discussed because the technical expert lacks the emotional depth to understand how they are being perceived and if what they are talking about it received as intended.
The ability to understand if my message is getting across. Am I communicating effectively?
EQ also affects your interpersonal relationships with all members of any team. Whether it be your peers, your colleagues, customers, family, superiors and/or subordinates. EQ is probably one of the most under-utilized or underdeveloped skills that everybody should have.
On a regular basis, do a self-assessment to see where you sit from an EQ perspective. Consider the following as additional reading:
Talking the talk and Toasting
Effective communication is another skill that you need to have and to become an effective communicator you need to work on this as a lifelong adventure.
Public speaking is a skill that I am constantly developing. Learning to be a proficient public speaker is part art, but mostly comes down to practice. It’s not something that people are generally born with, but rather a skill to be learned and repeated.
I take inspiration from world renowned orators including Winston Churchill, Warren Buffett and President Kennedy.
“Broadly speaking short words are best and the old words when short, are best of all.” – Winston Churchill
“The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.”– President John F Kennedy
“I had to communicate with people better. I couldn’t go through life afraid of public speaking.” – Warren Buffett
Learning to become a good public speaker is a key. I recommend Toastmasters International. You can get involved in Toastmasters in your area to become an effective communicator.
Watch Ted Talks to see and understand how relevant good effective communication is.
Putting it down on Paper
Become effective in written communications. So much communication in business comes down to writing. One of the best ways to become good at writing is to take formal courses. It is also fairly important for you to be an avid reader. Read broadly to see how other people communicate. A book that I have found very helpful is Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
More than ever today, between Ted Talks, YouTube, and books, you have access to everything you need to become really good at being able to research and become an effective communicator.
We live in a global world and it is important more than ever that by nature you must be an inclusive person. When I talk about inclusive – I mean equality when it comes to gender, age, sexual orientation, race, religion or political background.
It is easy to develop unconscious bias in our own lives and we must be vigilant in addressing it.
Become known for a deep skill set. Speak at events, write blog posts, comment in forums, create a trail of evidence that you know what you know, and that you are skilled. My thoughts about the importance of becoming known are captured in this video on adding value.
Adding value in the industry, adding value in the marketplace. Creating a quality reputation for being a person of your word, for being trustworthy. For working in an ethical way.
Ethics is another big part of Microsoft. If you look at most of the top tech companies now, the number one ethical technology company is Microsoft. I would say they are more ethical than most governments by a long shot.
Ethics is an important part of what you would need to bring to the table.
Consider how you can develop “T” skills, or what’s named a T consultant or T skilled individual.
I see this in two areas, so if you consider the shape of the letter T, it has vertical and it has a horizontal, so when we consider the vertical it’s about being deep in an area of technology. Know your skill. The horizontal is about having a broad set of skills and understanding of software and technology in your area of focus.
For example – be deep in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement or F&O or Talent or whatever area of your speciality is. Gain a deep and broad understanding from a technology perspective – as well as competing technologies and potential integration type technologies that could be considered in the space.
Know your Industry
The last thing to mention is industry knowledge. For example, do you know public sector, non-profit, professional services or the finance sector?
Be deep in one or two areas but also broad across a range of industries. Set researching as a habit to broaden your knowledge of different industries.
One caveat: The following will be focused on working for Microsoft in the field, or for a Microsoft subsidiary, such as the UK sub or US sub of Microsoft. I will not be focusing on R&D or the Product Engineering team.
Microsoft SSP or Solution Sales Professional. This role often involves working with a customer, involving a TSP where applicable to go deep on the technology. Often an SSP and a TSP will work jointly to pursue an opportunity with a Microsoft Account Manager.
An SSP has a very good understanding of winning the sales opportunity.
Like most roles in Microsoft, you will have financial targets that you need to meet, as well as quotas to retire.
Another role in Microsoft is a Microsoft TSP or Microsoft Technology Solutions Professional.
The TSP in Business Applications will lead technical discussions about to use of Microsoft Business Applications to solve business problems. They will have deep experience in the architecture of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. How does it work at a platform level? How do you integrate it? How does automation work? You should have a very accurate depth of knowledge of the technology from end to end. You would be someone that has worked on projects for some time or come from a related industry or a related software background. The TSP role is a magnificent role that gives you a lot of scope in engaging with customers as well as current, and emerging technologies.
A TSP doesn’t typically handle the relationship with their customer, that is more of an account manager type role, but my focus in this blog post is really just giving some clarity around the various roles and the kind of skills that I see that you need.
A Microsoft Global Black Belt is (in my opinion) a next level TSP.
GBBs are often involved in wider geography and supporting opportunities that are important or mega opportunities for Microsoft.
You will need to have a robust ability to build out demos, demo effectively – highlighting the benefit of the software in a customer’s situation as well as a keen understanding of sales motions.
Partner roles are designed to engage with Microsoft partners. Help partners grow, uncover opportunities and skills development.
I do not have broad experience with partner roles. My experience from working as a Microsoft Partner was as a vTSP (v stands for Virtual) and vSSP as well as a P-Seller (Partner Seller). I’ve also been employed as a TSP and have had an opportunity to pursue a career in a GBB role.
That covers some of what I have learned in working with Microsoft for the past 20 years.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had different experiences, or if you have any questions.