1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
So my job title is Consulting Apprentice! Day to day I will be writing software in my job role, and this can be on internal sites to customer projects. So far I have only worked on internal things, and I am making sure I'm 100% confident I can go on a customer project. I will usually send out emails and meeting requests etc, and interact with my team and learn something new each day. I also do my coursework during the week, usually setting aside a few hours to do so each week in order for it to be completed. Every day I will speak to my mentor and usually once a week to three times a week speak to my manager, and then once in a while I will have a whole team meeting. I also meet up with the other apprentices for lunch, attend meetings and sometimes I will have a 1:1 with someone to learn more about their job role and the wider business. My responsibilities are currently to make sure that I am professional at all times, and that I give 100% every day no matter what I'm working on. Currently I am working on a few projects, with web development, one being on an internal website used by the whole of Microsoft UK and then also on Loop, a project that me and the rest of the apprentices at Microsoft are currently working on. Loop is to be an internal website for Microsoft employees to use, and I am a developer for it. Every day I come in, code, eat, code leave! I really enjoy my role and although most of my time is spent coding, I do alot of coursework, attend meetings and I'm constantly learning.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Since being here I have learned XAML, Knockout and TypeScript, these are programming languages that I have been using on projects, I have been taught by myself as well as help from members of my team. I have also been learning how to use Azure AD too for one of my projects, this allows me to use peoples basic information they have linked to their emails such as first names, last names and profile pictures. So far I have not had any internal training courses, I am however currently revising for an MTA in Software Development, Software Testing and Web Development, hopefully I can pass these, as these qualifications are great to have. Externally I have been to QA to do some training and I found this useful, some of the stuff wasn't, however that is because I have had prior training on the things covered in the training. I also feel like I have matured alot since I have been here, I know it's not actually a skill, however it does help with being more professional and also my perception to others.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am really enjoying my apprenticeship so far! I think it was a much better choice for me rather than University, as I wouldn't have had this industry exposure, it's great to be learning on the job. The team I'm working in are very supportive and willing to help out, in fact everyone here is happy to make time for me so long as I ask, yes sometimes I will bribe them with some coffee, but that's just an excuse to learn more about their job role.
4. How valued do you feel by Microsoft?
I certainly feel valued by Microsoft here my manager is very supportive and so is my mentor, they both want me to achieve the best I can. They are very careful about putting me on a customer project at the moment as it may knock my confidence if I am unable to do some things, so I think this is great they are looking out for me and want me to have a great first experience on a project. Otherwise I try to contribute and help out with as much as I can, and I do feel valued here at Microsoft.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I think it is very well structured, the induction was great, although I thought it was long; in retrospect it was because I just wanted to get started! The training so far has been pretty good, and the support within the company has been fantastic, my mentor is great and so is my manager and my managers manager! I do think this program is well organised, and the program is slightly different for each of the Microsoft apprentices, and that's great as its pretty much tailor made to suit each of us in order for us to achieve the best we can achieve!
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I do think that my training providers QA could step up a bit more, they aren't terrible, they just arent great. It usually takes a while for them to respond to emails and things, we see our assessors regularly and I have no problem with that, my assessor also seems very confident and so far has supported me well so far during my time with him. I did find the training a little boring, but this is again because I had prior knowledge about the things being taught.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
If I have any problems at all Microsoft is great, there is always someone who is there to help, and it is usually pretty quick to see someone if it's urgent, thankfully this is down to how supportive they are. They all treat me like a peer, even the head of Microsoft UK, he didn't treat us like children or anything like that, and it's the same as everyone here really: we are all treated like the professionals we are, if we need support that's perfectly fine, people that don't need support at times are machines, everyone needs support.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The pay is great, I can't complain. It pays for my rent and I have no travel costs at all, as I walk into town and get the free bus service. The daily costs is just lunch, and a coffee for a 1:1. The social costs aren't expensive either, and the location of Microsoft is perfect for me, having lived in Reading my entire life.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many opportunities outside of my job role, such as GetOn that encourages students to apply for apprenticeships and internships. Then there are apprentice events too, in order to encourage and inspire. There was also Future Decoded too, a national event that Microsoft runs that I helped out with, this was in London in ExCEL and I really enjoyed working with VR and showing off the new tech. There is also the Microsoft football team I am a part of, this is on a Monday night and we have training for an hour, then on Wednesday I also play 7 a side with some of the guys from the football team too, this is great and I love playing Wednesdays. There are also many other clubs you can get involved with if you like.
9a. Would you recommend Microsoft to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The program is great, the support here is great, and I'm loving what I'm doing each day, and that's what it's about!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Microsoft? *
Be yourself, be confident and if you mess up don't worry! Everyone makes mistakes and the best thing you can do is move on and carry on. I messed up in my video interview for Microsoft and I still made it here. Be sure to include every detail when you apply, got an FA Coaching award you're not too sure you should put down? Mention it! Anything and everything positive you can put in your application is always good! The assessment centres are great, just have fun as you will be so much more relaxed. If the assessors see how relaxed and confident you are then they will take notice, it looks professional and makes you stand out, being shy won't help, if you are shy just pretend you aren't! I would have like to have been told that the assessment centre isn't that scary, it's very friendly and calm throughout the day, I went in expecting it to be a whirl wind, but it just worked and it was like clockwork.
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