Editor’s note: This article was originally written by s.t. johnson for the Student Developer blog. Additionally any MSPs or other students can seek guidance from an MVP Mentor by filling out the Mentor request form
This post is part of an ongoing series on preparing for a career in technology by the Microsoft Student Partner Program. For more career advice and to learn how you can get a jumpstart at your local university follow @MS_Student on Twitter and share your questions using the #WhyMSP hashtag.
Justin Wunder (@donchawunder) is a former MSP and Senior at the Louisiana Tech University and majoring in Computer Information Systems. We sat down to get some insight into his experience as a Microsoft Ambassador and what advice he has for the next wave of students that might be applying for the program now (deadline for applications is September 15th). Here’s what he had to say.
What inspired you to become an MSP?
Two main things inspired me, firstly my brother, who always taught me to strive each and every day to reach each and every goal. Secondly, Microsoft itself inspired me to become an MSP, because of how the company always looks ahead to be the very best, and accepts nothing less.
How would you describe your role as an MSP?
I feel as though my role is one of the most important roles there is. We (as MSP's) are, in some cases, the only representation of Microsoft that some people will ever see. Our outgoing personalities and love for technology and code shows others that even to the very bottom of the totem pole, Microsoft and all of its partners have a passion to be great, and have a solid belief in the company. MSP's exist to ignite the passion for technology (with Microsoft) in others.
What are the benefits of being an MSP?
The hardware and our payment are both great benefits of being an MSP. However, the greatest benefits MSP's receive is the ability to say they have worked with Microsoft and the networking we are able to do while in this position. Who you know goes a long way in the career hunt and being a partner with Microsoft is one of the greatest possible achievements that one may put on their resume.
What is your favorite thing about being an MSP?
My favorite thing about being an MSP is the opportunities I have been given through this program that has allowed me to meet so many people who share my passion for technology.
What was your most memorable moment as an MSP?
Hands down my most memorable moment as an MSP happened while I was in Seattle as part of the MSP Summit 2014. I stood by the water peering out across the lake at downtown Seattle, and it hit me that I have achieved something I had been working towards for a long time. I was officially one of the best MSP's across the globe. Hitting that achievement/milestone is something I will never forget the rest of my life, and it has inspired me to aim even higher and continue with my passion for technology and to continue on my path towards my dream job, a full-time Microsoft Employee.
Are there any skills that you have learned or improved on since becoming an MSP?
I could have an endless list of skills that I have learned and improved on, but one of the best skills that I have improved upon is networking. I never truly understood the power of networking until I became an MSP and I had to use all resources to complete my tasks. Now that I have been working towards making my networking skills better, I find myself knowing someone anywhere I go, and having that power is one of the greatest benefits.
What are you looking forward to accomplishing in your MSP role for next year?
This upcoming year my main three goals are:
1. Have a team compete in the finals for Imagine Cup 2015.
2. Gain a Microsoft presence on both Louisiana State University, and Southeastern Louisiana University, as well as start development groups on those campuses.
3. Dramatically increase the number of developers on my campus.
How do you think the MSP program helps you beyond college?
After college, the skills I have learned such as leadership, networking, programming, communication, teamwork, and time management will give me the upper hand no matter where I choose to work. The friendships and connections that I have made can also help me achieve a career and stay on top as one of the best of the best.