In my career, if I take any window of time that is two years long, regardless of start and end date, I cannot find a single period where I started and ended the period doing the same thing.  Not one.  Oh, I’ve worked at employers for longer than two years, but not doing the same job. 

I’m about to begin my fourth job at Microsoft.  I’ve been here three years (this time).  It’s a good job.  It’s a different job.

Started in one of the IT groups before moving to Enterprise Architecture.  Loved the people, and made the best of the job.  Then, I move to EA and became an Enterprise Application Architect embedded in the OEM division… which meant that it was my job to ‘govern’ the IT projects.  I’m not much for governing.  I’m a lot better at collaborating, and I really enjoyed collaborating with that team.  Some very smart people and I had a lot of fun working with them.  Since Spring, I was the Lead Systems Architect for a large distributed Enterprise-focused Service-Oriented Business Application (out of necessity, really).  I had a blast.  Just finished turning that gig over to an amazing architect who I have the utmost respect for so that I could move to Central Enterprise Architecture… this time to be ‘Mr. SOA’ for Microsoft IT.

Of course, Microsoft IT has far more than one SOA architect.  My peers are probably better than I am in some pretty key ways.  We have many talented SOA architects working in different divisions.  What I’m hoping to do is take Microsoft IT to the next level of SOA maturity by driving the development of the Enterprise Canonical Data Model, Business Event Taxonomy, Enterprise Solution Domain Integration Model, and the Periodic Table of Services (a set of planned services that are needed to drive SOA forward).  This is one of the toughest jobs I’ve taken on in years (since co-founding a dot-com).

I’m ready. 

It’s always a bit hard, and a bit sad, to leave the ‘comfortable’ and go to the ‘new.’  There are a great many good people who I won’t get to work with daily any more. I’ll miss that daily contact.

On the other hand, there are a great many good people who I haven’t had the chance to work with, but will get that chance now.  Looking forward to that part.

Microsoft IT is a great place.  If you are an IT professional, and you are the best darn architect or developer or tester or PM or operations specialist in your team, I encourage you to seriously consider joining this organization.  You can truly build a career here, if you are gutsy, and smart, and most importantly, passionate about being excellent at what you do.

There is no way to go higher than when you are soaring with the eagles.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

4 thoughts on “As the role changes…”
  1. heh… I’ve done a lot of different things in my 15+ year career in IT, but on a much smaller scale 🙂  A few months ago I took a friend’s recommendation and an invitation to to apply for a dev lead position at Microsoft.  I was turned down. The reason given was that I was much slower at solving problems given to me than an average MS hired recent college grad.  I can’t say that I’m sorry I couldn’t recite from memory how to write a prefix notation calculator, but I have decided that I will never consider joining MS again.  

    … I guess I’m still bitter about the whole experiecne 🙂

    thank you for your ever excellent blog!

  2. @dmb,

    Sorry to hear that.  I would be bitter as well.  

    Without giving you all the gorey details, suffice it to say that I had to make multiple attempts to come in to Microsoft.  The company isn’t a ‘single minded’ kind of place.  

    Don’t think of it as a company.  Think of Microsoft as a shopping bazaar in Italy or Mexico, with two dozen different merchants doing their own business, mostly cooperating, mostly being friendly, but completely and totally independent of one another.  

    So if you got a ‘no’ from one group, don’t let that stop you from interviewing for another group.  You could end up with a better position in a job you would like even more… and would probably never see the folks from the previous team.

  3. @Casey,

    Thanks.  I appreciate the sentiment.  

    This is where I come to think "out loud and in public"

    — N

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