Julie Glixon had a passion for government policy and a Washington, D.C., job that put it to good use, but she was looking for something more. She’d know the ideal opportunity when she saw it: It would draw on her government background and interest in technology while offering plenty of room to advance.
She flew out to the West Coast to interview with various tech and engineering firms, got a few offers and turned them down. None inspired a cross-country move until she visited Microsoft, armed for her interview with her own list of questions, and learned about the company’s opportunities in the cloud.
“The cloud is the future of how we use devices; the potential is infinite,” Glixon says. “To be able to grow my knowledge of the industry now, and then, as my career grows, take that knowledge and build upon it — I think it will totally give me an advantage among my peers.”
Glixon has been a program manager for the Global Ecosystems organization of Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud-computing platform, for just over a year. She works on a team that’s responsible for making sure Azure services meet all U.S. federal government regulatory requirements for cloud services, making it possible for an ever-increasing number of agencies to move to the cloud.
Azure is available in 140 countries, offering organizations more cloud-computing options in more places around the world than any other provider. Microsoft Azure Government is designed to meet the federal government’s strict security standards.
Glixon’s job involves gathering security and control information about Azure services, working through audit processes, doing extensive documentation and ultimately, helping make sure Azure meets the high bars to get federal certifications as the requirements are regularly updated.
She says it’s exciting to be able to help widen Azure’s reach around the world. The cloud platform will “start reaping the benefits of certifications more and more in the coming years,” she says.
“My favorite part of the job is that we’re enabling a huge amount of business,” she says.
Glixon, 24, earned a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech, choosing a major that followed in the footsteps of her father and grandfather. She enjoyed math and science, but she quickly found herself more interested in the project management side of things than deeper, more narrowly focused engineering fields.
“I’m really into technology; I love learning about the way things work, and understanding what’s feasible and what’s not feasible — and if something doesn’t exist, how to bring it into fruition,” she says.
She worked for a small government contracting company for a year before coming to Microsoft. At first, she was nervous about being the least experienced and youngest on her team, but she recalls having a bit of an “aha” moment when she was helping her colleagues tackle a tough problem.
“I realized I was able to speak intelligibly about the issue, and I was able to provide a unique contribution to its solution,” she recalls. “After that, I felt like I was part of the success when we had it.”
Glixon often questions how things are being done and comes up with new ideas to streamline processes, making them easier and more efficient, says Roger Chiou, senior program manager for the Azure Global Ecosystems’ federal team.
In one situation, Glixon found a way to automate a labor-intensive process by pulling information from one system into another, saving time and resources for their team and other teams, he says.
“For someone who hasn’t been at Microsoft for a long time, she brings to the table new insights and fresh eyes to any kind of problem that we’re dealing with,” Chiou says.
“Thinking outside the box is a huge aspect in the work that we do, and she definitely has that strength,” says Nicole Rison, senior security program manager on the Azure Global Ecosystems team.
The Global Ecosystems team is currently made up of about 80 people who have a variety of expertise, including in the areas of compliance, security, engineering and more. Some work in other countries as the number of companies and governments who rely on Azure continues to expand around the globe.
Chiou says that because Azure is on the cutting edge of cloud technology, the team’s work is helping shape cloud-security policies worldwide and defining the boundaries of how Azure grows. That’s why its career potential is so remarkable, he says — because of “the level of impact you can make on an entire field.”
Beyond compliance and security jobs, Microsoft Azure has opportunities for people who specialize in cloud solutions, datacenter transformation, data analysis, custom applications, media services, privacy and many other areas.
Glixon feels fortunate to work “on something that is very groundbreaking,” she says. “We’ll expand out the technology as time goes on, and it will get better and better… The cloud really is the future of computing.”
She says she really likes her team, which she credits with teaching her all about the job and the field, and appreciates working at “a respected technology company that really cares about its employees.”
“Microsoft is a company that enables you to grow professionally and gives you a variety of ways to do what you want,” she says.
Looking to pursue a job in the cloud? Learn more at Microsoft Careers.