Microsoft is following the trend of many companies in having international development centers.  In SQL, we've been doing this for awhile, but at a relatively small scale.  Now, however, we are planning on increasing the size of our development teams in Hyderabad, Beijing and Shanghai.

If you've worked with cross-national development teams before, you know that it requires careful arrangement and some new management skills.  One of the success factors that we've seen is making sure that each development organization has it's own charter: a product or component that is large enough, important enough, and separable enough to sustain commitment and growth for its own team.

Another critical success factor is getting the right people to "bridge" between teams.  This means bi-lingual and bi-cultural.  Some of our best successes have been with people who have worked at Redmond for a while before moving to one of our other officee --- and eventually, when the other offices have been around for longer, the reverse path (e.g. start in Shanghai, then move to Redmond as a "bridge") should work as well. Time at the "other" office builds personal networks and that irreplacible in-house knowledge about how things really work.

All of this means that people who have "bridge" skills today are in high demand.  And building those bridge skills, no matter what your background, is a very viable career path.  Your intent could be to move permanently to a new location, or to do it for a few years, or even to go back and forth over time.

If having one of those "bridge" careers---in any direction between Redmond and Hyderabad, Beijing or Shanghai---interests you, drop us a line.