Joe Long is a Distinguished Engineer that runs a unique team within CSE. Joe and his special team act as a lifeline; when problems are strange, complicated, novel, and challenging, Joe and his team are called in to provide their unique perspectives. Interestingly, Joe started his journey at Microsoft with a degree in physics and only one computer science class under his belt.
He originally planned on going to graduate school to follow up on his Bachelor of Science in physics when he was offered a job at Microsoft, which he rejected. He had taken one pass-or-fail coding class in college in his senior year and enjoyed it, but had a fellowship offer at the University of Michigan. He had his mind set on physics and started down the path to his master’s degree and hated it. So, he called Microsoft back and asked if the job was still available? It was not.
But they had a job working with DOS. Did Joe have any experience working with DOS? Joe told them he did not, but he could learn. And learn he did! In sink-or-swim fashion, Joe became a self-taught coder that rose through the ranks, moving throughout different parts of the company, to earn the title of “distinguished” and now runs a prestigious team. Even now, after 30 years at Microsoft, Joe considers this attitude of ‘learn by doing’ to be continuous, both in the field of engineering as a whole and specifically within the CSE team.
It is hard for Joe to pick a favorite technology due to his years of experience. What he prefers is to use tech to solve business problems. This can involve those in which he is well-versed or learning new ones as the need arises. Just to get an idea of the many hats Joe has sported— Joe has worked in customer service, technical evangelism and as a developer building cloud-based products. However, he considers CSE to be the best and most impactful thread in the colorful tapestry of his career. It is this varied background that enables Joe to answer those interesting, complex questions and problems brought to his team. He brings a fresh perspective and is able to look at each problem through a different lens – inspired by his team, driven by his passions, and informed by his lifelong experiences.