When I heard about the idea for Be the Next Microsoft Employee back in February I couldn’t believe it. Hiring at Microsoft is a deep and complex process. Getting a new position added is also a mighty challenge.  So when I heard that not only was the concept for this contest pitched and funded, but that an actual position had been opened for the winner of this contest, I was blown away!

And I was super-excited to get started…

I’m a product planner for Microsoft Learning’s SQL Server 2012 portfolio, so it was natural that as we started designing the contestant challenges, we’d look to the basic themes in our certification program for SQL Server. We knew from the job description that these candidates would be vying for a job where the ultimate candidate would be someone who held the new SQL Server 2012 MCSE: Data Platform certification, so that’s exactly what we did. If you’ve been following along with each challenge, you may have noticed a parallel between the challenges and the exams on the path to MCSE. The basic goal we had was that if someone was already an MCSE, these challenges should be difficult, but achievable. Just like the work we do here at Microsoft every day. Let me summarize them for you:

 Challenge

 Exam

 1. Write a complicated query

 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

 2. Modify security settings

 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases

 3. Propose an ETL strategy

 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

 4. Debug a database problem

 70-464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases

 5. Design an OLTP solution

 70-465: Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012

We were thrilled to sign-up our amazing lead judge Buck Woody, and set off laying out the details of the challenges and recruiting our panel of experts to help us guest-judge each episode. We couldn’t be happier with the incredible support and participation of Tobias Ternstrom, Dandy Weyn, Denny Lee, boB Taylor, and Karen Lopez. All of the judges brought their real-world perspective to the contest, and we couldn’t have done the show without them.

Imagine our surprise when we met the final candidates, learned about their diverse skill sets and backgrounds, and then watched them each have different levels of success with each challenge. It was real world, and it was just like working on a team at Microsoft. Thanks to our contestants Alex, Chris, Mike and Stacy for handling our tricky challenges, our sometimes harsh critiques, and the chaos of filming a reality show all with grace and style. We’d work with any of you…

So, do you want to Be the Next Microsoft Employee?  Get CertifiedWe’re hiring