On May 8th a coworker Bhushan and I worked the Microsoft booth for the NW Youth Career Expo at the Oregon Convention Center. The career expo gave the high school students a way to look around and see what types of careers are available to them in the future. Some colleges and vocational study programs were represented as well as quite a few companies to showcase the careers available.
The function of our booth was to let high school students know what type of careers were available to them, and what the requirements were for those careers. This was the first year that careers in technology were available at the event.
I will tell you I honestly did not know what to expect. I have a teenage daughter and she can sometimes be surly and flippant. I was very impressed with the professionalism and curiousity that these high school students displayed during the event. The students were very curious about the different types of technical careers, and our booth was very popular.
The day started off a little hectic – our booth wasn’t set up, we didn’t have power, and it turns out the wifi Internet connectivity at the Oregon Convention Center left something to be desired.
Bhushan was going to perform demos concerning the offerings for Unified Communications, UC, at Microsoft – including Office Communicator, a business oriented version of Messenger, Live Meeting, the ability to host meetings over the Internet and Outlook Voice Access, OVA that allows you to voice access to Outlook. We also had a great Devil Wear’s Prada take off video that showcased UC offerings. Without Internet access we were unable to show our demos. I had whipped up a PowerPoint deck overviewing careers and requirements that I gleaned from Microsoft’s college site. This is a great site that showcases the careers that are availabe, and the steps need to get to each career.
Even though we were unable to demo our technologies, the PowerPoint deck overviewing careers went over very well. As students came up to the booth I would ask if they had an idea of a career in technology or just liked the idea of a career in technology in general. Then I would review the slide deck.
I also included resources for downloading a free hobbyist edition for Visual Studio for the hobbyist. Bhushan and I were lucky that Allison, Mary and Rane were there as they brought some cool handouts and give aways that the students really enjoyed.
From 9:10 when we actually had tables to put our laptops on, until 11:30, I was unable to pick my head up. Our booth was crowded with students the whole time. It seemed there were 10 – 15 students around our booth at all times.
I feel positive about the show and I hope that the students got a lot out of it. I have had a successful and diverse career in technology and I appreciate being able to give back.