MS Premier Field Engineer - how does an app developer get there?
Posted on 2006-11-02
Is anyone out there working actively for Microsoft as a Premier Field Engineer, or has previously done so? I'm trying to develop a specific line of learning that will move me into this position.
After ten years as an app developer, working primarily with MS tools, I interviewed for this position. After passing an initial phone screening, they flew me to Charlotte NC for an in-person. The feedback I got was that I'd make a solid developer, but I didn't have the in-depth full system troubleshooting skills to be a PFE.
I want this position, mainly for two reasons. It branches me away from straight coding, and provides the work environment I want (heavy travel, but in a local radius.) Trouble is, that kind of experience is marginalized away from most developers. If you can write an enterprise app, then that is what you will do - WRITE the app. Others will TEST and STRESS the app, and you may or may not be a part of improving its speed and reliability. If an atomic level of system analysis is required, and you're not already the person capable of it, almost no employer is going to trade off the development work they need from you right now, to support you in becoming that person.
I understand in part what body of knowledge I need, and what kind of books contain it. Some specific tomes recommended by my phone screener were Windows Internals, Degugging Windows(user- and kernel-mode, atomic level of CPU and memory operations,) and Complete COM+/.NET InterNetworking.
But it's not enough to just read. One needs the context of doing, and the insight of one who has already done, to know what one must be able to do.
Generic babble-speak aside, I need career advice from a current or recently-former PFE.