In their words

Editor’s note:
On the eve of the Microsoft College Tour, PressPass asked for graduates from the schools that chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie is visiting to talk about their experiences in college and at Microsoft.

Vince Zanella says Microsoft “at the forefront of technology, in terms of both breadth and depth.”
  • What did you study at the University of Washington, and why? When I started my undergraduate career all I knew was that I wanted to do something in the field of engineering. I loved studying math and physics and wanted to be able to apply them in interesting ways. I quickly selected electrical engineering as my major and began soaking up electromagnetism, power and energy, signal processing, digital and analog circuit design, and very-large scale integration. During the process I took two introductory courses in computer science and I was immediately hooked. I can’t imagine studying a more broad and fascinating discipline. The field has more impact on the day-to-day lives than any other, making it an extremely rewarding area to work in. I finished up my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and then went on to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from the UW.

  • What are you doing at Microsoft now? I’m working as a software development engineer on the Web services portion of Zune. The software I work on runs in the cloud that many different clients connect with to deliver content in new, innovative ways to customers. I’ve always been an avid fan and consumer of all forms of digital media, so Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division was perfect for me.

  • What is a typical day like for you? When Microsoft shipped Windows 7 Oct. 22 I was even more proud to drive into work. I’ve talked a lot about software and the impact it has on people’s lives, and nothing makes this clearer than the Windows operating system. It is depended on by so many people for work and play, and although I didn’t have a hand in its direct development, it’s great to be part of the company that shipped it.

  • What global problem do you hope will be solved by technology in the near future? As technology continues to grow at its exponential pace, there’s no telling what problems it will solve and in what new ways it will enrich all of our lives. One solution I am personally anxious to see realized is the ability to overcome all different forms of physical paralysis. This is a challenging, multifaceted problem that will require many different types of technology to come together. It will require a blend of hardware and medical instrumentation, and it will all be empowered by sophisticated embedded software. I believe prototypes could be complete by the end of the next decade with widespread adoption in the decade following.

  • Why is Microsoft a worthy employment objective for top grads? There are many great career opportunities for new computer scientists and engineers. While it’s a fun and exciting field to be a part of in general, I don’t think there’s a better place to embark on your career than at Microsoft. The company is at the forefront of technology, in terms of both breadth and depth. It has been a wonderful experience working here so far, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a passion for building world-class software.