Premier Field Engineering (PFE) provides technical leadership for Microsoft’s Premier customers around the world to promote health in their IT environments through onsite, remote and dedicated support services.
Okay, so what does all that really mean? If I’m a PFE, what will I be doing?
Cindy Parrish, one of Microsoft’s Recruiters has been talking to our PFE’s to get their personal stories. For the next several weeks we will answer that question, so that you have a clear picture of the PFE role at Microsoft.
Welcome to Wednesday and an explanation of what it’s like to be a PFE by a current PFE in their own words.
Here’s what Ellis has to say about his job:
I am a Transactional Premier Field Engineer (PFE) specializing in systems management technologies, primarily System Center Configuration Manager and Operations Manager.
In my group, we primarily service customers from federal, state, and local governments as well as educational. Demand is strong, and generally I have my calendar scheduled out several months in advance. This includes time for travel to and from customers’ offices, onsite work with the customer, remote (phone and web-based) customer assistance, formal training classes, workgroup functions, office time for completing trip and expense reports, and dozens of other necessary activities I won’t go into here. I have a mix of local travel (within an hour or two of my home) and remote travel (requiring a trip by air). I usually work on the west coast of the US, but my work has taken me to all over the country, as well as to Europe and the Middle East.
Finally, while the major component of my work is directly to customers, I also get to contribute to creating new offerings including workshops, assessments, remediation frameworks, chalk-talks, etc. This is a great way to enhance technical skill while collaborating with other PFEs.
Here’s what I like about my work:
• I am *never* bored – I don’t just learn something new every day, I learn *lots* of new things every day – the variety of customers I encounter is broad and they each surface a unique set of questions or problems to solve. In addition to our new product releases, the variety of customer environments requires me to constantly update my skills and knowledge.
• I am independent much of the time. While I have the support of my manager and a vast network of peers, in the end I have to be prepared and confident in my ability to deliver service. I’m empowered to make decisions based on what’s best for the customer and Microsoft.
• There’s a strong virtual community of peers that support me technically and professionally – while the role is very independent in many ways, I am not alone: There are always people willing to help you through a tough technical challenge or a question about process. I also get the pleasure or reciprocating; I help my peers technically as well as provide guidance to those developing their careers on how to pursue their goals.
• I get to see many different customer environments and build my skillset based on those experiences. After seeing customer environments of different sizes, organization, and culture, I have developed a real sense for what makes a customer successful (and what can make them fail), the strengths and weaknesses of the solutions in place or being contemplated, and how to best help customers with my area of expertise.
• I meet people from all over, with different backgrounds and passions. Many times I will visit customers more than once, typically with months or a year or two in between, and have the pleasure of picking up where I left off to learn more about them and how they’ve been faring.
• I have lots of career options – our company encourages employees to own their career development, and there are so many opportunities within the company to change and grow with the full support of my manager, his manager, and our leadership team.
• Because this is a job in which I’m always busy, which forces me to be organized and thoughtful about scheduling and prioritizing what I need to get done. I like this about my work because I think thinking carefully about what work you are doing is an important element to establishing a fulfilling balance between personal life and work. I have the full support of my manager in making the best choices so that I don’t get overwhelmed and, as a result, get to spend quality time with my family while still maintaining my performance on the job.