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Claudius Mbemba

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Claudius graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. Claudius had an impactful tenure at Ohio State as a walk-on for the Ohio State football team, as well as involvement in Business Builders Club and other student orgs. Claudius dives into the interview process with Microsoft, as well as how to separate yourself as a job candidate, and how to land a position at Microsoft Corporation. Personal website to Claudius:  https://claudiusmbemba.com/

Claudius Mbemba: Software Engineer at Microsoft

  • Specific Steps in the Microsoft Interview Process
  • How to separate yourself as a strong candidate
  • How to hone your skills as a web developer
  • Best practice tips and how to find your culture fit

Audio:

Transcript:

Pablo: [00:00:00] Hello, my name is Pablo. I know we have Claudius Mbemba. He is a software engineer at the Microsoft Corporation out of Seattle. Welcome to the show to start things off. Tell me about yourself. 

Claudius: [00:00:13] Yeah, hey Pablo good to see you again. So yeah, I moved out to Seattle came from OSU major in computer science played Sports while is there moved out to Seattle 2016 to work at Microsoft and.

I’ve been a software engineer in Seattle for the last two-plus years. It’s been exciting. It’s been great. Love the work. I’m doing they’ll be up to 82 to make impact and do cool work.

Pablo: [00:00:39] You actually were if I’m not mistaken a walk-on for the football team.

Claudius: [00:00:43] Correct are wise. Yeah, so I joined the team right out of high school 2011 is when I joined the team when I played for I was on the team for about.

Two and a half years end up leaving in 2013 due to injuries, but had a great time was a great challenge learned a lot about myself and about just Brotherhood in general have great memories and experiences from that definitely made me a better person. I would say

Pablo: [00:01:10] yeah. Yeah, nothing better than competition.

It’s like it’s our participants for sure especially traveling with the team excetera. So, um talking about Microsoft and software engineering. What made you unique for them.

Claudius: [00:01:23] Yeah, so I in my case. I wasn’t the way I got to Microsoft was kind of an interesting path. I was actually hadn’t reached out to the company is actually recruited via LinkedIn recruiter resets to me had seen my online profile regarding some of the deaf stuff.

I do so the projects I have online and she thought I’d be a good fit for internship there. So she. Reach out to me pretty much said exactly that I think you’d be a good fit for intercept. We’d like to interview and at the time I had secured an IBM interview, but I figured why not check out Microsoft and see what that has to offer as well.

So I told her to share more than happy to come in and just see what that process is like and that to understand the interview process and in the end getting an offer and deciding to except that instead.

Pablo: [00:02:13] Now Roku, how do you think they found you order some online presences that you have

Claudius: [00:02:19] for developers?

And anyone in the tech industry in general GitHub is is a number one place. But then also just your public profile in terms of like your own personal website portfolio. You could also have I also have another site for online challenges in terms of. That work on the it’s called. It used to be called challengepost.

I think it’s called Death post where I used to do and it’s to do kind of online hackathons and so on post projects there as well as on my personal site.

Pablo: [00:02:50] Yeah, really cool. And then on your personal side Claudius member.com, I know we spoke before about this. I have it. I think what I really like about it is that you also provide specially for SEO purposes.

Um where you’re skilled at regarding your technical skills, and I think yeah nice drivers PS as recruiters are searching online OSU or different colleges and then picking up Java Ruby on Rails Etc kind of separates herself with hot possibly within between competition.

Claudius: [00:03:18] Well, I completely agree and it’s kind of a the same stuff you find there.

You can pretty much find on my resume. I try to make sure that is there same there’s a lot of consistency across the two. So yeah,

Pablo: [00:03:31] so I always get a lot of questions people always asking you know, how do I get into Facebook hydreigon? So Microsoft Etc since you’re an expert in the Microsoft field

Claudius: [00:03:42] what

Pablo: [00:03:43] how should one prepare for the position?

Claudius: [00:03:46] Yeah, in terms of what I would call myself an expert, but from my personal experience. I’ll give you my personal experience in terms of preparation. You definitely want to have the fundamentals down. I think Microsoft is similar to most big tech companies in that they all big tech companies do technical interviews and especially in the technical and essentially what that consists of is.

You’re getting grilled about the basic CS fundamentals and having to do algorithm questions on a whiteboard. So my biggest advice is to practice that firsthand don’t leave it to chance for the for the time. You’re actually there like have some practice beforehand because it’s not the same as sitting down in your computer and programming where you have all those tools accessible to you.

It’s also even nerve-wracking to be up there and not know exactly what you’re going to write next. Sometimes people freeze up in that moment. So my recommendations always practicing when I was in college, I had a friend who was interviewing at the same time. I wasn’t so we took the chance to practice together.

And so I also recommend don’t just practice alone practicing Community Practice with friends. I’m sure even your like your roommates would mind helping you do some practice so. If and when you get the chance like find people to practice with and they would provide you good feedback and you will provide them good feedback and it’s a great learning process, but it does and you can really substitute that firsthand practice

Pablo: [00:05:14] Yeah, you know, absolutely so you had a lot of recruiters actually reaching out to you why Microsoft and your opinion?

Claudius: [00:05:22] Microsoft was. So I interview for Microsoft there. I interned for Microsoft massarde adapt it into for Microsoft and see the culture and the company firsthand. This is in 2015 as a result and I when I was interning I got to know a bit about the community. I got the building that I got the chance to network and go to cool intern events that they had put on and I met a lot of great people as a result and just from that experience.

I really felt. This was a company I could grow and learn at and that’s one of the biggest things I looking for something that I could come in and pick up the skills that I really wanted to pick up which is really to understand how to build enterprise software and and for pipelines for pipeline of.

Real software engineering parts of that. I will tell you I was a hacker and I was I was a coder but I wasn’t a strong engineer. I think I definitely develop those skills while at Microsoft and understand the process of from incubation and ideation of a software product to actually. Will they hang out and production making a production ready in terms of the internet and Deb terms essentially.

So I was looking for a company that can do that in a and I’m very happy with the choice I made in. Having the ability to enter in somewhere and test it out is a really a blessing to be honest. Like I wish I was happy to be able to done that because otherwise I would have just picked up the next the next best thing and I wasn’t sure if that was right for me.

So I always recommend to students who are who are young in their careers like get out and intern. Unfortunately. I was again playing sports doing football for. Better half of my academic career and so I didn’t get the opportunity until very later. I was able to connect a internship here again pretty much like my Junior and Senior year and that was that made the world of difference to understand.

What a company is like before getting into it. 

Pablo: [00:07:27] There are totally um are there what’s additional learning look like at Microsoft? As you mentioned, you know, I had the opportunity to do additional learning. So is it clearly just working within product teams and learning that way a clearly but are there additional classes that are provided or.

Claudius: [00:07:43] yeah, so, of course, your day-to-day learning comes in in working with the co-workers and solving tough challenges and wrapping your head around all the problems that you face. But there’s Microsoft is again bass Community vast company. We recently just bought LinkedIn and Linkedin prior had bought a company called lynda.com.

Lynda.com is great learning tool for devs as well as we have access as a result to as a result of the company just being a great company and. Having money we have access to a bunch of learning resources. So Microsoft library has its own courses. We have our own internal courses and under self alone.

Has I think the popular least three or four learning resources everything from Channel 9 to Microsoft Virtual Academy. We partner with edx.org. I think we have a partnership with pull side as well. So if you name it, we pretty much in touch with any of the big like learning resources online. And so you get access to all that pretty much.

As a result and so there’s tons of additional learning on the debit side and the business side. It just it’s you got to go see can find it but it’s there.

Pablo: [00:08:53] No, I liked it. Yeah, always an opportunity improve yourself for sure. I’ve seen you on college campuses. Not only just a software engineer, but you come back and you actually vet students.

It sounds like yeah, if you have a little bit of experience and that just curious to know what do you kind of look for within these kids or what should they have?

Claudius: [00:09:14] Yeah. Yeah. So I love coming back to college campuses osu’s mentally because that’s close to my heart. That’s home. And I help recruiters do technical wedding as well.

As I come back to help promote. The diversity angle Tech in general is very has very low percentage of African-Americans in Tech. And so I come to Showcase that to the students at OSU and they are called as I build. That they can do it too. And so when I go there essentially what we’re looking for is the things I outlined earlier how kind of the recruiters first found me.

I like to see students. Showcase their personal projects first and foremost. Like I always recommend students if they’re not doing a personal project get or start building something on the side because while you’re doing your class projects, that’s that’s great and all it’s great to be taking those courses is great to be keeping up.

That doesn’t make you stand up you’re doing what everyone else is doing? So it’s always it’s always great to see students take that extra step and and do hackathons do personal. Again, the keys are is our commander our personal projects and hackathons hackathons contribute your personal projects.

And the other thing is so cases is that you have a passion for technology outside of school. It’s a really big it’s a small it’s a small thing but it really goes a long way to to know as a recruiter to know that a student is going to put in the extra time that it takes to really solve technical problems and and has that passion because.

Again doing work for school sake is great. But we want to see that you will do it regardless of if there were school or not.

Pablo: [00:10:54] They’re absolutely one of my favorite things that you mentioned when I saw you at one of the career fairs was no language outside of what you’re learning in school, not only projects but also learn a different language and it just kind of programming language and learn specifically.

Absolutely. Um, Since you do meet with a lot of students, I’m sure on a consistent basis during those vetting processes. What are some ways that some students just kind of reach out or maybe start the conversation in your opinion on the technical side.

Claudius: [00:11:24] Yeah. So the best way I the best way I could advise someone to to really kind of spark that conversation is if you again if you have a personal project you were working on something.

Especially if it’s something that you can Showcase in that second like it’s online if it’s a hardware huge Hardware project, of course, it’s a lot harder to do you can take photos in something but if your personal practical working on bring it to the to the career fair and talk to the recruiters about that because that’s a really great way one it showcases your passion and it’s something that you’re passionate about see your easy.

You have your confident and easy to talk to when it’s talk when you’re talking about. As well as we see that passion in your eyes and be like, all right. This is a person I want to like work with their there. They’re doing some really cool stuff and it really helps to get that conversation going the right direction because once you do that and the recruiters can actually see things and my I always say it’s better to show than tell when they recruit actually see things then they really believe you you can say whatever you want and we can we can.

Take your word for it, but it’s not until we see Live code or like like product that we can really believe you but that’s always my recommendation kids. I think sometimes shy away from bringing their laptops, but I’m always like dude if you have a web if you have a website that you’ve been showing your projects on like bring it out show it to me.

I would love to see that kind of stuff because it gets me fired up to talk to you about stuff and then my hope is that if I was you up to talk to me about that.

Pablo: [00:12:47] Yay, technically geek out for those five minutes and it becomes a last Saturday becomes something it becomes. Really separates herself between competition.

I like that. That’s really all the questions that I have. I think this was fantastic cause I thank you for your time. And therefore we will be able to do this again soon.

Claudius: [00:13:04] Yeah more than happy to love what you guys are doing. Keep it going

as a thanks Mac, but box. Yeah, absolutely. Cheers.

 

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