One of the “Coolest” Jobs at Microsoft

REDMOND, Wash. — May 27, 2010

With so many device possibilities for companies to develop on Windows Embedded Standard 7, it can make for an interesting conversation when anyone in the Windows Embedded Business is asked, “What’s required to build on the platform?” From enterprise and media to everyday use consumer devices, one can imagine how development requirements can differ for each.

For test manager Andy Allred, and the more than 70 Windows Embedded testers on the team globally, finding ways to answer this open-ended question and make development on the platform as simple as possible for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is something they continually think about. The first step was to create a requirement guidelines document outlining the environments for key device categories including thin clients, kiosks such as ATMS and those dedicated to photo printing at stores, industrial controllers, and consumer media devices including slot machines, arcade games and set-top boxes.

What’s one reason so many OEMs build on the Windows Embedded Standard 7 platform? According to Andy, think of it as the Windows platform broken into Lego blocks. OEMs pick and choose blocks that represent a particular Windows feature or set of features, and assemble their own operating system. This concept, also known as componentization, allows OEMs to differentiate themselves and from competitors. Simple or feature rich environment — it’s up to the OEM.

As a passionate test team manager, Andy claims he has one of the coolest jobs in the Windows Embedded Business. Coming from someone who spent nearly 11 years as an electrical engineer in the Navy specializing in electronic warfare and navigation, one would think it hard for any job to compete with his experiences traveling the world.

With Windows Embedded, there is so much innovation and variety. One day he’s helping resolve a browser issue and the next he’s working something multimedia related. Each day is a different technology the team has the freedom to work with along with and the OEMs bringing it all to life.

Along with the variety comes the element of surprise. Andy is exposed to exciting technology being developed on the Windows Embedded Standard 7 platform. Often times he doesn’t see these technologies until the final products come out, leaving him wondering what he’ll see next. A few that come to his mind include a virtual bartender for your refrigerator and an exercise bike game at the gym letting you compete against fellow gym-goers.

Check out this video to see a snapshot of some of the companies currently building on the Windows Embedded Standard 7 platform.

While Andy does admit he may be on the “verge of obsessive compulsive” about his job, he does take time to appreciate how green and clean the Pacific Northwest is as well as attend a Stargate convention or two. He, his wife and two cats also embrace technology at home on their family website.

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