What are the coolest jobs at Microsoft?

These 6 people say work is play

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With input from our recruiters, we recently tallied up the 12 Best Jobs at Microsoft. To take a different twist, we decided to seek out the coolest roles and job titles at Microsoft. By no means is this list all-inclusive, but with a little help, we found six to share with you.

To bring you this more-unusual Top Jobs list, we searched far and wide. Kicking things off, we spoke with Larry Hryb, Director of Programming for Xbox Live. Larry is better known by his gamer-tag, Major Nelson – the coolest job title just about anywhere.

“There are a lot of different disciplines people have here, people with varied backgrounds,” he says. “I’ve worked with a rocket scientist who came from NASA, and I’ve even worked with a person who had been a zookeeper. When I heard about his background, it stopped me in my tracks.”

In the words of Major Nelson: ”People come to Microsoft from all walks of life.” Asked what might make someone a good fit, he says, “It’s really about your work ethic and work style; that you’re smart, and you understand technology. People come here from everywhere.”

Tough to narrow it down, but here’s a selection of the coolest jobs and job titles at Microsoft—in the words of the lucky six who live them:

  1. Senior Enforcement Program Manager, Xbox Live Enforcement Team: Andreas Holbrook. Andreas’ team is all about maintaining the integrity of the Xbox Live service. They spend their time combing through millions of user complaints to track down and address the ones that violate the Code of Conduct and Terms of Use. They focus their energies going after the modders, hackers, cheaters, pirates, scammers, phishers, and other miscreants who disrupt the enjoyment of our customers. “Our charter runs the gamut from handling customer complaints and Gamerscore resets to engagement with Law Enforcement, all the way up to threats against the President of the United States. Our team sees it all and thrives in a dynamic, constantly-evolving environment.”
  2. Audio Engineer/Audio Lead, Microsoft Production Studios: Jason Bilyeu. Jason and his team do live broadcasts, and audio post and capture for product launches and events such as WPC, MGX, E3 and CES. Jason’s team does the audio transmission of various Xbox Live gaming competitions, UFC fight events, and concerts. Jason has played bass guitar and provided guitar parts for several projects. Over the last five years, Jason produced custom music for Steve Ballmer’s presentations. Among other Microsoft career highlights, Jason counts broadcasting the “Best Damn Sports Show.” Jason has attended MGX rehearsals for Macklemore, Pit Bull and Flo Rida. Summing up his love for his work, Jason says, “My two biggest hobbies are being an Audio Engineer and playing music. If I retired today, I would still be doing the same thing.”
  3. Senior Producer, Xbox Fitness: Samara Donald. A certified fitness instructor, Samara has worked for 10 years in marketing. Just over a year ago, she found the elusive “dream job”: working with sports and fitness trainers to create new content for Xbox Fitness.  Samara’s team, and specifically its Development Director, pioneered Kinect’s ‘blush’ heart-rate functionality, which is leveraged in Xbox Fitness. What’s Samara working on right now? “I’m developing our Sponsorship strategy: What brands could we partner with to bring unique content to Xbox Fitness?” Together with the team’s Creative Director, Samara is developing ways to incorporate new brands, and she works with the Executive Producer to ensure the ‘fit’ with Xbox Fitness. Given her role’s match with her passion for fitness, Samara says, “I can truly say I understand now when people say, ‘When you’re doing what you love, it’s not really work.’”
  4. Lead Designer, Xbox Fitness Team: Damien Foletto. When Damien came to Microsoft from Sony almost a year ago, he joined a small team to help KALE (Kids and Lifestyle Entertainment, a division of Microsoft Games Studios) come up with ‘the next big thing!’ Thinking big entailed brainstorming, concept and scenario creation, prototyping and presenting. Damien says, “I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and finding ways to bring them to life.” Damien has been working in game development for 15 years, hands-on with everything from level design, raid and boss fight design and implementation, to creative direction. Damien says, “To this day I still learn new things. Game design is a natural fit for me, and being able to make a living from creating interactive entertainment in a variety of different ways is truly a dream come true.”
  5. Dragon Slayer: Paul Roy Owino, based in Nairobi, Kenya, gets developers fired up to adopt Microsoft platforms and tools, specifically Windows 8, Windows Phone and Azure through technical evangelism and audience marketing.
  6. Senior Director, Citizenship and Public Affairs: Akhtar Badshah. Since 1983, Microsoft and its employees have provided over $5 billion in cash, services and software to nonprofits around the world. In his role, Akhtar administers Microsoft’s employee programs and global community investment. Through monetary grants, software and curriculum donations, technology solutions, and employee volunteer hours, Microsoft supports programs and organizations that address the needs of communities worldwide. Akhtar also manages the philanthropic elements of Microsoft’s YouthSpark.  The best part of his job? “I get to wake up every day and help someone somewhere in the world realize their dreams.”

It’s your turn:

Consider what makes you unique. Make your list of the coolest jobs at Microsoft—and make your mark. Visit Microsoft Careers, and you’ll find dream jobs in teams and roles in locations around the world. 

 

Learn more about life at Microsoft:

Ben Gilbert, who runs The Garage, has perhaps one of the most envied jobs at Microsoft: Read about Ben in The Seattle Times, and see how the startup culture is emerging at Microsoft.  See inside Microsoft’s 24-hour idea factory.

Meet ‘the first lady of online gaming: Alex Hebert, a creative producer for Xbox, was an internationally ranked Halo player.  For additional inspiration: Meet five women of Xbox who are changing the game.

Jenny Lay-Flurrie tackled challenges to achieve success and led a company-wide cross-disability group.

Citizenship is a core value at Microsoft. John Fulton tells how Microsoft’s giving campaign influenced his decision to pick Microsoft.

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