Earlier I mentioned we’d be profiling some of our Escalation Engineers in Commercial Technical Support (CTS). This week we’re featuring Ron Stock of our Las Colinas, Texas campus.   Ron is one of our outstanding Engineers who focuses primarily on the Windows product, but in addition to that very important work, he also helps lead the ntdebugging blog efforts – publishing articles (primarily written by his peers at Microsoft!), sharing debugging tips and tricks, and above all else connecting the debugging community across multiple social networking platforms.   Read more to find out about Ron’s passion for debugging and the work he does here at Microsoft.


Name:  Ron Stock
Job at Microsoft:  Escalation Engineer 
What is your Microsoft anniversary date? Apr 20, 1998
What office/campus do you work at? Las Colinas Texas
What is your current role in Microsoft? ESCALATION ENGINEER with PLATFORMS ESCALATION Services. I debug Windows problems and work closely with the Windows Product Team to get bugs fixed.

What kind of projects are you currently working on? Currently I have a handful of projects in the works in addition to my usual debugging and bug work on behalf of Microsoft customers. My main passion is around the work I do on the ntdebugging blog with my partner in crime, Craig Augenbraun, also known as the Debug Ninja. I’ve been a part of this initiative for nearly three years and enjoy working with the debug community. The majority of the articles we publish on the blog are written by my team, Global Escalation Services, one of the most brilliant teams in Microsoft which translates into very technical and deep level content. Working as an administrator really leverages my Project Management skills. Craig and I coordinate articles with writers and tech editors on a fairly scheduled basis. We do this in parallel of other maintenance duties including evangelizing the initiative both internally and externally, working with our global peers, and answering comments from our readers. We wear many hats! 

Connecting with our blog readers is the reason we use the various Social Networking outlets to both advertise the blog and maintain a dialog with our followers. I believe this extends the credibility of our brand in this Social Networking Age. We have a presence on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ntdebugging which has steadily climbed to 736 followers over the last year. This is big considering how niche the topic of “debugging” is relative to other technical topics. The consistent increase in followers has a lot to do with the ‘debug tips and tricks’ tweeted by the Debug Ninja each week. We also use Twitter to alert people to newly posted articles and answer questions about existing articles. It’s less formal than the blog but provides a quick listening system to fix issues, answer questions, and send out updates about hiring. I actually alerted the MSDN team about a corrupt ISO download during the Windows 7 launch on a tip from a Twitter follower. We also have a Facebook Page used to discuss debugging issues and announce job openings. I encourage everyone to join and participate. There’s a lot of good exchange in the Social Networking venues.

I really enjoy technical writing. In addition to contributing to the blog I wrote two articles for Windows IT Pro Magazine this year. Here's a link to both articles Part 1 Troubleshooting Kernel Memory Corruption (May 2010) and Part 2 Pinpoint the Source of Memory Corruption (June 2010) Our team takes turns submitting content to the magazine. It’s another channel to educate our customer base and I believe it provides a competitive advantage over the competition.

I’m also plugged into the MSDN and TechNet Forums as a dedicated Forum Lead for our Platforms group. Working alongside the Microsoft MVPs and general Microsoft external community just blows me away. There’s a lot of smart people in the ecosystem.

The most interesting thing I’m working on is a process automation project in SharePoint and SQL for my Director and Management team.  It’s really stretching me outside of the Windows Operating System area I’m so used to, and it’s sharpening my business intelligence. Being a trusted advisor to management requires straddling both the technical and the business side of the organization.  

How did you get to this role – what is your background and career path so far?  I have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Texas in Arlington but never practiced accounting after school because I started with Microsoft immediately after graduation. I always had an interest in computers and answered a newspaper ad to get the first interview. My first role at the company was to support consumer customers running Windows 95 and Internet Explorer 4. I eventually worked my way up to a Debug Escalation Engineer by going back to school to take a few programming classes coupled with a lot of self-study on Windows Internals. I would be hard pressed to leave my current role where I work closely with the Windows Product Team. Here’s a link to a PodCast called Life as an Escalation Engineer illustrating what I do - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jobsblog/archive/2007/01/26/jobcast-life-as-an-escalation-engineer.aspx

Any advice for potential candidates looking to connect to Microsoft? If I had to provide advice to potential candidates I would encourage them to be research the role they are interviewing for before the interview and prepare well. It’s well worth the effort. I’ve worked for the company for 12+ years and can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Any resources you’d recommend to candidates looking to connect to Microsoft – especially those interested in escalation roles. The blogs are a great place to start. A lot of the content comes right out of our day to day work. I highly recommend our ntdebugging blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ntdebugging/ and other development type blogs such as Raymond Chen’s at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/  Also the work by Mark Russinovich and David Solomon on Windows Internal 5 is a must read book for the Platforms team I work on.

What types of social networking activities do you participate in? Social Networking is starting to replace personal email for me. With the exception of customer interactions most of my personal exchanges are through Facebook and Twitter. And the majority of my RSS feeds have been replaced by following interesting people on Twitter. In fact most of the technical news I read is usually from a tweet from someone I follow. To sum it up I have a Linked-In Page, 2 Twitter pages, the Nt Debugging Facebook page, and a personal Facebook page.