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Deanna Arora

I work to see both growth and success in all our clients, who decide to digitally transform their businesses with our Azure Cloud Services.

Where did you grow up? What experiences have led you to where you are today?

I grew up in Canberra and decided to go to The University of Sydney after attending the National Computer Science School – a summer camp for high schoolers, where I found my passion for problem-solving. While studying I got the opportunity to intern at multiple places like CommBank, Deloitte and eBay, in multiple areas such as cybersecurity, consulting and product management to work out what I wanted to do! 

How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?

Microsoft held multiple events with the Sydney Computing Society (SYNCS), where they shared Microsoft’s vision with the students and helped us understand what impact we wanted to have after university. I had a chat with the recruiters about what I wanted to achieve and they encouraged me to apply for this position. After a few challenging interviews, I received the offer and here I am two months into my job!  

How did you choose your specialisation?

I’ve always wanted to work in a position where I was able to solve challenging problems, make an impact and be able to use my communication skills. I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk doing the same thing every day.

Keeping these in mind, cloud solutions architect seemed like a good fit for me.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?

I had a phone call interview, followed by three onsite interviews and two video-call interviews. The questions ranged from behavioral questions, to talking about my achievements and projects as well as testing my technical ability.

What does your employer do?

Microsoft is a software company that develops software and electronics to empower the world. They’re in charge of Windows, Microsoft Office, Surface laptops and the Xbox gaming console, just to name a few. In the last few years they shifted gears to support businesses in making successful digital transformations by investing in their cloud computing service called Azure.

What are your areas of responsibility?

I work to see both growth and success in all our clients, who decide to digitally transform their businesses with our Azure Cloud Services.

Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?

My typical day starts off site, checking in with clients to help them with any technical blockers. From there, I may draw out architectural solutions for new clients, make demos and proof-of-concept implementations or collaborate with other Microsoft employees on the really challenging problems. To succeed in my role, Microsoft has created an initiative to ensure everyone is trained, so everyone is encouraged to use a part of their day for constant learning as well.

What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?

The future is what you want it to be! Microsoft has a learn-it-all culture, that allows employees to utilise learning tools and mentoring opportunities to upskill themselves for any job they might want, as well as opportunities to work with your manager to grow your skills for other roles such as software engineering, program management, etc.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?

I would want to solve different types of problems, perhaps as a software engineer, security engineer or usability engineer!

What do you love the most about your job?

I love that everything I do, has value and impact. Even if it’s as small as a phone call or a demo, it all builds to a more efficient and transformed business that can now innovate and build a brighter future for us all! I love to help everyone and make them succeed, and this position ensures that I can!

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?

Whenever you start, it can be overwhelming to take everything in. Microsoft believes in learning more than anything, so everyone has been incredibly kind and supportive about putting education of the role and domain expertise first, and everything else will follow. Starting me off slowly with shadowing and buddy projects was a great way to ease me into the work environment. Also, everyone encourages a good, healthy lifestyle, so work stays at work no matter how much you want to do more. Everyone starts and leaves at an appropriate time – as long as you get your work done, it doesn’t really matter.  

What advice would you give to a current university student? 

  • Don’t rule out anything before you’ve really given it a shot; you never know, it might surprise you. Take every opportunity you can get to learn and explore.
  • Put your heart and soul into everything you do. If you care, it will make the end product so much better.
  • Try and do an internship. Internships give you a really great sneak peek of what a company is like or if its even the type of work you want to do. The more internships you can explore, the more you will have an idea of what you love.