So, are you interested in becoming a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft? Or do you have a friend or associate who might? If so, I currently have two open positions, and I’m looking for great candidates. Both positions focus on our next version of Visual Studio, code name “Orcas.” One provides broad tools and scenario coverage, and the other relates to our upcoming AJAX technology, code name “Atlas.”
Although I’ve been working on an article that explains what a Technical Evangelist actually does at Microsoft, I don’t want to delay posting about these positions any longer, so the article will have to wait. In the meantime, here are some of the bullet-point attributes that make for a strong candidate:
- Undeniable passion for technology – if I tried to remove any digital devices from your home, you’d say something like: “over my dead body!” Or, you’d pick up your light saber replica, stun gun, or Zero-Blaster and threaten me.
- Ability to communicate with non-developers – yes, there are people out there who don’t write code (I know it’s hard to believe), and you need to be able to translate simple product features into a language that business decision makers can understand. If you find the phrase “business value” to be nauseating, this might not be the right job.
- Enjoy public speaking – yes, you’ll find yourself in front of large audiences, industry influentials, and CxO-level executives. If you thrive in situations like this, a TE position may be right for you.
- Out-of-the-box thinking – to help drive adoption in their areas of expertise, Technical Evangelists constantly push the envelope and define new strategies for tackling problems. There’s nothing wrong with the “tried and true,” but you understand that real innovation demands creative thinking.
- Technical experience – TEs spend a lot of time talking to hard-core developers, internal product teams, partners, and customers. Although you don’t necessarily need to start out as an expert in the technology you’re evangelizing, you absolutely need to have technical credibility and the ability to grok concepts quickly. If you don’t have this, you risk being marginalized.
- Persistence – no, I’m not talking about serialization or permanent storage (but extra points if those came to mind), I’m talking about your innate ability to push forward despite setbacks and frustration. Your friends probably use terms like driven and unstoppable to describe you, and in rare cases, maybe even annoying. Hopefully not too much of the last one.
- Expert juggler – a good TE finds themselves (frankly, puts themselves) at the center of a lot of activity and needs to be able to respond and react to surprises, unexpected situations, and a torrent of electronic communication. If you’re able to slow the world down à la bullet time, you may consider this your Ninjitsu Zen. Think Cato and the Pink Panther, but with a lot more poise and grace.
- Opinionated, yet diplomatic – you’re not afraid to share your opinion and maybe even change your opinion based on new information. Yet, you also understand that without diplomacy, your message may lose its effectiveness.
Does this sound like you? If you’re not sure, have a close friend, relative, or associate read this post and see what they think. Or, if you think I just described someone else you know, please direct them to this post.
But, most important of all, send me an e-mail, and convince me why you’d make the best Technical Evangelist we’ve ever seen.