Adam Bertram started this GitHub site inspired by the Lifehacker “How I Work” series and Thom asked me to post also a page of me. So – here we go!
Where are you located?:
Microsoft Office in Munich, Germany but i actually live in Ingolstadt.
What is/are your current gig(s):
Well i work for Microsoft as Premier Field Engineer and it´s fun!
But what is this job role about?
Some people think, that i am just a more expensive consultant… other persons even can´t imagine anything… so I will spend some words about my job role.
Premier Field Engineer:
First of all – we are split into transactional and DSE PFEs. The transactional PFEs have more smaller engagements (1-5 days) and the DSE PFEs have long term customers, where they work some days of the week for many months or even years.
I personally am a more transactional PFE and moving fully towards it:
My job-role is divided into proactive and reactive services.
In the proactive services we create or deliver workshops or risk/technology assessments and chalk&talks (and a lot more).
A workshop is easy to explain. You have one or some clearly defined topics, which you need to present with hundreds of dozens of slides and some labs to your customer.
Risk and technology assessments are nearly the same, but you have to gather your material and information previously with tools before you then create the presentation material and explain all found points to your customer.
And a Chalk&Talk is like a small roundtable where we are punched with questions and discuss architecural decisions with the customer.
Sometimes we are also called for migrations or implementations, where we work using Microsofts Best Practices in assistance of well prepared documents.
Then you have the reactive services where we are called, when something is broken or not working as intended. This situations can be very tough. We can set ourselves also to a so called “OnCall”-engagement, where we can get called for 4 to 5 days at every time and afterwards we have to sit in an airplane just 1 hour later in direction to our customer.
Luckily my experience herefore is rather limited till now.
We can also contribute to external collaboration, which is actually not included in our every day work. For example – i love to collaborate (Git/Github/Social Media) and i went to Powershell Conferences as a speaker, have answered hundres of questions in forums, write my own blog and loaded my code to my public Github. But this is my free time.
What’s one word to describe your work?:
I try to automate everything i get onto my table: most of the times to save time, sometimes to create reusable code snippets or just to code. In terms of time – i actually don´t think that a PFE can survive without working 50 hours and more per week. We have to travel a lot, deliver our engagements to our customers, manage and complete our trainings, book the times and expenses, keeping in touch with our colleagues, respond to emails and many many more. Je – we can work from everywhere at every time. We have to – otherwise it would not be possible. You have to be also a great project manager. You have to plan your engagements at the customers, the travel, meetings, note your knowledge down to OneNote or what else and work with daily tasks to not forget something. It´s hard, but you learn to accomplish these tasks.
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?:
Well – a lot! We have internal calendars and timekeeping tools to book our hours to just name the most obvious ones. Lastly i have used ISE with ISESteroids and Powershell a lot and therefore also Github / Git / VSTS / VS / OneDrive and more. But also Office / Skype and so on are important for the daily use. Every day hundreds to a thousand emails arrive in my mailbox, for which you should implement as fast as possible automatic rules. If i would name all the tools which i strictly need to work, then this number would be greater than 40. (which is bad in terms of time consumption)
What does your workspace look like?: (Take a picture if you can)
Well this is my home workspace. I really love my 34″ UltraWide monitor to code and all of the three monitors are fully in use all the time.
On the road i work with my Lumia 950 and my Lenovo high-performance laptop, which i probably would exchange today against a more lightweighter one.
What’s a typical work week look like?:
It totally depends. Actually sometimes you even don´t know till the week has passed. Workshops turn into onhands sessions etc. One thing you know – you have to manage your time to make the necessary phone calls, cleaning up your emails and setting up tasks for integrated TODOs and entering the labor time into the labor tool every day.
What do you like the best about your role?:
Personally i like the proactive part a lot – you have to be a good presenter, learn a lot and stay up to date whole the time. But keep in mind, that the customer thinks of us PFEs as persons, which should know everything – not only the topic, which we are actually delivering. Hey the guy is PFE at Microsoft! Therefore you have to be well prepared at every engagement – the problem is, that you normally do not have the time to be prepared perfectly at every engagement, which makes it even tougher.
What’s something about you that no one knows about?:
I am tattooed all over my body.
What do you listen to while you work?:
If i work from home it would be electronical music – but this is very very rare!
What do you wish you could change about your work?:
I love to present and to collaborate. I love to speak at conferences and to meet cool people at UserGroups. ( The Powershell and Dev guys are the best ones! )
If i could change anything, i would change my work towards this direction.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?:
If you are good in IT and you would like to work for Microsoft, don´t hesitate to apply for a job. Je – it´s hard to make it in, but if you don´t try it, you will never know, if you could had made it!