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  • FE blog

    How do I get a job at Microsoft?


    You may not be surprised to learn that it’s a frequent question that I get asked. And in the summer holidays I know that people’s thoughts often turn to their future, so I thought it was time to share the answer more widely.

    imageThe answer is partially straightforward – you watch http://careers.microsoft.com/, which is where all of our permanent jobs are posted. It allows you to search in different parts of the world, or different specialisms, or on key words. I think the keyword search is important, because many of the jobs are described in Microsoft-centric language (with references to internal acronyms etc) – so if you want to find a job related to education, I’d recommend that you use the keyword search first!

    We also hire quite a lot of people into contract posts – and they will often be dealt with by local employment agencies. The links are all on the careers site too.

    But, of course, finding a job advertised, and actually getting that job are two different things – because there’s the screening and interview process to get through too. The Xbox team have done a great job of describing some of the things you can do to help with that process in their blog post “How do I get a job at Xbox”, which also links to some of the recruitment team’s Career Communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

    As an aside, if you’re into gaming, the Xbox Engineering Blog is brilliant for detail behind the scenes of the gaming world. Like the post on “Xbox LIVE Avatar Technology” which talks about the science behind creating dynamic avatars in games.

    And finally, your students may be interested in finding out about the graduate and internship schemes. The graduates join on our specialised scheme, which takes candidates who’ve graduated with a 2.1 or above. And each year we take just under 100 interns into our placement scheme in the UK. These students are normally in between their second and third years at university. More information on the Microsoft graduate and placement schemes can be found on this link.

  • FE blog

    It's arrived - Office Ultimate 2007 for Students - for £38.95!



    We have been working on this for a while, and it has finally arrived. Yesterday we announced the availability of Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for UK Higher Education students, as a download, for £38.95.

    The headline summary is:

    It's a time-limited offer available to students with a .ac.uk email address as a digital download, containing the full Ultimate package.

    This also means that some colleges, who provide .ac.uk email addresses for their students, will also qualify! And, if you don't provide email addresses currently, drop Sarah Finch in our FE team a call (0118 909 4304) to talk about Windows Live @ Edu - a free, hosted email service for students.

    This is a pilot in a limited number of countries - UK, US, Canada, Spain, Italy and France - and it's good news that the UK is in the pilot. Most UK students think that Office costs £000's of pounds, and aren't very aware of the lower cost licences that have been available (for example, under the Select licence), so this makes it easier for them to buy a legitimate copy easily and cost-effectively.

    We're not going to spend lots of money advertising this - for one thing, it is only available to students with a .ac.uk email address, and so putting adverts all over the media isn't going to work. But we will be doing some on-campus promotions at some universities, using email to students, and many universities have already asked for posters and emails to send to their own students.

    If students in your college have .ac.uk email addresses, and you'd like to get some posters, flyers, or want to check what you can email to your students, drop a line to Sarah Finch in our FE team

    All of the details are on the offer's website: http://www.theultimatesteal.co.uk/?cid=edublog

    ps Have you got questions? Add them as a comment, and then I'll answer them here - hopefully everyone else will benefit from the answer too!

    pps You need to login to add a comment (to avoid comment-spam

  • FE blog

    Online Services event with Perspicuity


    Gemma Yussuf has asked me to let you know about an event from one of our education partners, Perspicuity. We’re hosting it here in Reading on 23rd April.

    If you’re wondering how cloud-based services will influence your IT strategy going forward, then it’s a good opportunity to spend half a day getting a perspective on the scope and scale of the online services we’re offering.

    Here’s the detail from Gemma:

    Please join us, on Friday 23rd April, to find out how the Online Services model could transform the way you deliver IT to your campus

    Learn how you can streamline communication and simplify IT management, without compromising data security, compliance or process control.

    • Understand the cost and productivity benefits of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other online collaboration tools
    • Learn how you can combine hosted services with on-premise applications: we will look at integration; data security and integrity; identity management; compliance; information governance and process management
    • Find out why a subscription approach to system development costs less and delivers better results
    • Hear about Middlesex University’s experiences: the operational and cost benefits of an on-demand approach to infrastructure and development

    The event runs on Friday 23rd April 2010, at the Microsoft Campus in Reading (directions here), either in the morning (10:30-12:30) or afternoon (14:30-16:30)


    If you’d like to come along, then drop an email to Gemma with your full name, organisation and contact details. Or give her a call on 0118 909 7805.

  • FE blog

    Office 2010 for students – via the Ultimate Steal



    Each year we run a special offer (called The Ultimate Steal) on Microsoft Office, only for Higher & Further education students and staff who have a .ac.uk email address. It allows them to buy the software directly from Microsoft, and make a big saving on the equivalent retail price. As we get closer to the release of Office 2010, the number of students buying the software has flattened out (and who can blame them - why buy the 2007 version when Office 2010 is just around the corner?).

    In previous years some colleges have told their students about the deal, via their email or internal IT support website, but this year less have, because students can download the Office 2010 beta for free, and then wait for the full release.

    But there are two good reasons why it’s right to remind your students now about the Ultimate Steal offer, before the release of Office 2010 in June…

    No-cost upgrade to Office 2010

    Since 5th March, any student or member of staff buying Office 2007 through the Ultimate Steal has been entitled to get a no-cost upgrade to Office 2010 when it is released (as a digital download).

    A price increase coming

    It’s just been confirmed that when Office 2010 is launched, the price of the student offer with the new version will be increasing by around £10 (although it will still be significantly cheaper than normal retail prices)


    So here’s the summary:

    • The best price for students to get Office 2007 Ultimate Edition is £38.95 with the Ultimate Steal deal – saving 90% off the estimated retail price for the Ultimate edition
    • It now includes a no-cost upgrade to Office 2010
    • If students/staff wait to buy until the release of Office 2010, they’ll end up paying 25% more

    So there’s a brief window from now until June when students and staff can get the best of both worlds – Office 2010 at the lower Office 2007 price.


    ps You can also pick up Windows 7 with a student discount from The Ultimate Steal site too

  • FE blog

    Can the UK win the World Championships in Microsoft Office……AGAIN?


    Posted on behalf of Kevin Ryan from Prodigy Solutions 

    Last year the World Championships in Microsoft Office attracted over 228,000 students from 57 countries around the world. In recent times the competition has been dominated by participants from many of the Asian countries. With competitors from China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan reeling off title, after title, after title…

    That was until last summer when 15 year old student Rebecca Rickwood, from Sawtry Community College in Cambridgeshire, took the World Finals in San Diego by storm. Rebecca scored a perfect 1000 in the custom build Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam and won a $5000 cash prize and the coveted title of World Champion in Microsoft Office – watch the video.

    Rebecca’s exploits received worldwide coverage on her return from San Diego with articles on the BBC, Telegraph and Metro.

    Well, it’s this time of year again and the search is already on. This year the winning entrants will win an all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime to the World Finals at the BELLAGIO in LAS VEGAS.

    Do any of your students have what it takes to become World Champ?

    To find out more about the UK competition and how your school can participate click here.

    Keep updated through the UK Competition Facebook Page.

    Visit the worldwide competition website: www.officecompetition.com

    For competition rules and more information email competition@prodigysolutions.com



  • FE blog

    Ultimate Steal - Office 2007 offer Update


    We've made a few changes to the Ultimate Steal website (Office 2007 Ultimate for students, for £38.95), all of which are good news. Here's what we've done:

    Added the Backup DVD option to the ordering options
    To be honest, we have been trying to put this here ever since launch, but some technical glitches stopped us. It's now there, so students can order media at the same time as ordering the licence. This is handy if they don't want to use the download service, or they want a backup.

    Added email verification BEFORE entering the purchasing process

    We've been getting hundreds of students who have incorrectly entered their email address during the purchase process, which means they haven't received their licence key after purchase. It's tricky for us to resolve these individual problems quickly, and also inconvenient for students. So now, before you get to the online shop process, you have to provide your student email address (ending in .ac.uk) and then get an email confirmation and website login. This way, if you put in the incorrect email address, you won't get your website login - you'll have to go back and enter it again correctly.

    Even more reasons to tell your students about the Ultimate Steal

  • FE blog

    Building an external website in SharePoint – Esher College


    The number of colleges using SharePoint to provide a portal within their college is steadily increasing – mainly, I think, because it can provide a way to integrate all of the different sets of data across the college – from student information systems, to virtual learning environments, and every day document management.

    One of the things that has been less prominent is the use of the same SharePoint to drive the external website. Often I see colleges with two different web systems, which results in having to manage two completely different content management systems, and often two different technical skill sets.

    Esher College have standardised onto one technology, and are using SharePoint for their external site too – with help from Parabola Software. Although they have three portals – one for the public site, one for student and one for staff, it is possible to link information between the portals and provided the user has access rights it’s seamless.

    I’d be interested in hearing about others using SharePoint for their external website – just add a comment to the blog, and give a link to yours.

    (For more inspiration, take a look at this list of Top 10 SharePoint 2007 sites, with examples from outside of education, worldwide)

  • FE blog

    BYOD in Education: What do you think?


    We are getting some great feedback on the recent BYOD eBook across our various social channels, and just wanted to open up the conversation more specifically to readers of our blogs.

    While we have already posted the eBook on the blog, we would love to hear what you think about the concept of BYOD in education. What kind of impact do you think that BYOD could have within schools, colleges and universities from both a teaching and learning and cost saving perspective?

    In case you missed it, the full eBook can be viewed/downloaded below. Let us know what you think in the comments.

  • FE blog

    Collaboration - do we need fresh ideas?


    MicroSpeak1At today's College Principals' Meeting, I came across a new word "ideation" - which a colleague used on one of his slides. I'm not sure if it's a 'real' world, or one that sounded good when it went on a slide. It reminded me of my first few months when I joined Microsoft - there were all kinds of acronyms and new words that I had never come across before.

    Some it makes perfect sense - when you're trying to describe a complex international business like Microsoft, in a fast moving market like IT, then it is inevitable that you'll end up using acronyms quite a bit, if only to shorten sentences and save breath. But take it one step further - put Microsoft, IT, international AND education into the mix, and you've got a world where whole conversations can be made up entirely of acronyms. And become completely unintelligible to anybody walking past the door of the room!

    Which inspired me to another cartoon - perhaps the first of many, many, many that I could do on the same thing.

    Anyway, enough about the language barrier.

    How did "ideation" get into a discussion?

    IdeationIt came up on this slide - which was in the middle of a discussion about how collaboration takes place, and where ICT supports it. Nick Umney's story was about the fact that 'knowledge workers' (there's another one of those Micro-Speak phrases) tend to spend all of their time in the upper quadrants - living in the world of ideas, discussions and acquiring information. And IT people spend their lives the lower quadrants - the processes of documenting and publishing, and the process of driving processes.

    Which led to the point that sometimes it is difficult for the IT people to see eye to eye with some of the others within a college, because they tend to be trying to pin down the detail, whereas others may want to be more 'creative' with their thinking

    Imagine the downhill spiral the user specification meeting would take if an IT project team had been asked to create a Wiki:

    IT Team: "What do you want it to do?"

    User: "Publish information to people"

    IT Team: "What information do you want to publish and to whom?"

    User: "Anything, to anybody"

    That's the kind of challenge we're facing today with some of the collaborative technologies available. They could allow all kinds of flexible collaboration, and the boundaries aren't well defined, in fact in many cases we're only scratching the surface of what they can do. Which makes it difficult to get users engaged within the college to use them across the organisation - because each person or team may want to use them in different ways.

    What we need are some good role models - some excellent practice which can be held up for others to share, across or between institutions.

  • FE blog

    A chance to get up to speed – with Steve Ballmer in London


    At the end of this month, Steve Ballmer will be in the UK, and providing the opening keynote for our UK conference “Technologies to Change your Business”. As well as the usual slew of new product announcements, I noticed that Microsoft Research will be showing off some of the future technologies. At many events, these can make the highlights, as the team from Cambridge (and elsewhere globally) talk about what’s going on behind the closed doors of the research labs.

    If you’d like to come along for the afternoon, there are still some (free!) places available – you can register on the links below

    image“The fifth [computing] revolution is about more than personal empowerment and social interaction; we literally will get the tools to help us better understand and address global issues that affect billions of people, including education, healthcare, science, and environmental change.”
    CeBIT, March 3, 2008

    Technologies to Change Your Business:  How Customers Are Implementing Tomorrow’s Strategies Today

    The Microsoft Launch Event for IT Managers & Executives with Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft and Chris Ingle, Consulting & Research Director, IDC

    12.30pm – 5pm.  1 October 2008.  Royal Festival Hall South Bank Complex

    Some organisations see new products as an incremental improvement to what they do today – others look for the opportunity to make a step change in the way they deliver services & value to customers.  IT initiatives such as virtualisation, consolidation & hosted services are not in themselves new, and yet many customers still only scratch the surface of their potential – few are yet to embrace these strategies and use them extensively to deliver new value. 

    At the upcoming launch event, “Technologies to Change your Business”, we will not only be introducing the latest in the line up of Server technologies from Microsoft, Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008, but more importantly, showcasing customers who are taking these products and using them as the catalyst for significant change in their business. Additionally, we will be showcasing some of the future emerging technologies to come from Microsoft Research.


    12:15 Registration and Lunch
    13:00 Introduction – Martin Veitch, CIO Magazine
    13:15 Opening Keynote by Steve Ballmer: Microsoft's Vision for Software Delivered as a Service
    14:00 Taking Virtualisation to the Next Level: Achieving a Dynamic IT Infrastructure.
               Bruce Lynn, Microsoft
    14:40 Virtualisation vNext: Customer Case Study and Q&A
    15:00 Break
    15:30 Planning for the next wave of Technologies: Chris Ingle, IDC
    16:00 From Database to Data Platform. Delivering New Value to the Business.
              Keith Burns and Andrew Fryer, Microsoft
    16:30 Deriving New Value from Data and SQL Server 2008: Customer Case Study and Q&A
    16:50 Summary
    17:00 Close

    Register Now to join us for an afternoon of innovation, debate & insight as we launch the next wave of technologies to help you deliver new value to your organisation.

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