Apprentice Joe Farrelly tells us about the learning experience at Microsoft, and discusses his future plans. 

Hi there. My name is Joe Farrelly. I am a Premier Field Engineer apprentice and joined Microsoft in Financial Year 2018. Microsoft is everything I could have hoped for and everything A-Levels was not. Microsoft gives us as apprentices the freedom and responsibility to learn and develop in a professional environment and the best of its kind in the world at that. I have always been a practical learner and coming and starting an apprenticeship allows me to do just that. I am extremely fortunate to be able to work here, as it gives me the opportunity to excel with my passion for IT and be surrounded by an exciting and collaborative environment.

What advice would you give other people thinking about applying for an Apprenticeship at Microsoft?

The difference at Microsoft over others is that when it comes to finding the right apprentices they are not necessarily focused on what you know currently (of course it helps) but more on your willingness to learn and collaborate in a benefitting way for both you and your peers. ‘One Microsoft’ is the new push for collaboration and creativity, promoting a healthy and enjoyable work place. If you have a true passion for something, be that Computer Science, Project Management, Finance or Sales etc. then make that known. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an expert in that field as that’s not what people are looking for when employing an apprentice. Be confident in yourself and don’t pretend to be someone else as no matter how hard you try it will always show through.

What is the learning curve like a Microsoft?

Joining as an apprentice you are not going to know everything and when you start at Microsoft that little bit you thought you did know lessens even more. In short, the learning experience at MS is steep. But that’s a good thing. The training you get is second to none and the experiences you will have are worth even more. The truth of it all is no one knows everything, and no one ever stops learning. In industry, there is no set curriculum and no end test. To carry on being the best at what we do we have to constantly evolve and learn. If you enjoy learning and prefer putting that learning into practice, then an apprenticeship may be the ideal path for you.

“To be the best we have to constantly evolve and learn”

What are your future plans after the Apprenticeship at Microsoft?

I am just taking it week by week and trying to make the biggest impact I can. You never know what is around the corner so for me I don’t particularly know what I want to do at the end of the Apprenticeships, and rather keep my sites set open. The fact is that there are so many different opportunities and things to get involved in here at MS that you may never know what it is you want to do. Either way the one thing I do know for definite is that continuing with my career progression is a must for me and enables me to carry on developing, learning and delivering in the industry I am passionate about.

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