On Monday, May 3rd, as participants started their eighth week of course instruction, we hosted our ninth Town Hall with Columbus Steward, a principal software engineer manager at Microsoft who was looking to hire a software developer to join his ten-person team.
Columbus began his career at Microsoft 15 years ago, starting as a contractor in Redmond, WA. He was eventually hired full-time and moved through various businesses at Microsoft (including Windows, the App Store and Performance) to his current role in Azure. He currently manages an engineering team that builds software which manages demand for Azure offerings and services; he also oversees a data and analytics platform which provides data sets to the Azure Global organization to help them understand the business.
At the time, Columbus was hiring for a seasoned full stack developer with some front-end development, some familiarity with Single Page Applications framework, some services (API development experience), and some type of backend development (some variant of SQL). When hiring for these roles, he said that the soft skills he seeks include communications skills, problem solving skills, someone who is a team player, and someone who has a good sense of judgement. While the role on his team is no longer open, Columbus said that Microsoft is always hiring, and he encourages people to apply for open roles at the Microsoft career site here.
When asked to share advice to people looking to break into their first internship or entry level position, Columbus had lot of helpful tips. “Stay curious, pop the hood,” he said. “When you encounter some piece of code, try to understand how things are working. Ask why this particular thing exists. And do: writers improve when they write, coders improve when they code. So, practice solving coding challenges and speaking the language. Create a GitHub portfolio and LinkedIn profile to create visibility and to stay aware of opportunities.”