This week we are spotlighting Natalia Kozyura, a 2004 graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program at the Daytona Beach campus. Natalia worked closely with Career Services during her time as a student, completing an internship with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and often participating in Career Services related activities and events.
Natalia is now a Program Manager for Microsoft Corporation, where she has worked for the last three and a half years. Natalia was instrumental in bringing the company’s attention to the great candidates that Embry-Riddle has to offer. Last year, Microsoft came to campus for an information session and this year, they are attending the Industry/Career Expo for the first time. We sincerely appreciate Natalia’s dedication to the university and it is great to be working with her as an employer.
What are you working on right now within your position at Microsoft?
I am currently working on Xbox and Kinect. I am a program manager for video and music applications on Xbox. I’ve been working on these products for the last three years and it has been a lot of fun to work on the first version of the app, as well as be part of the team shipping the first version of Kinect. As a program manager, I work closely with developers, testers, designers, business and marketing teams. We define what features will make customers happy and then build them.
You actively participate in the on-campus recruiting at Embry-Riddle for Microsoft. What qualities do the candidates who stand out the most possess?
In college recruiting I am looking for:
- Engineering degree, preferably in Computer Science or Computer Engineering
- Relevant internship/work experience
- Programming projects (both class and independent)
- Strong GPA
- Leadership skills: class leadership, community involvement, athletics, club/group leadership
What career advice can you share with international students and alumni seeking work in the United States?
I would recommend choosing a technical degree that is in demand in the United States; examples would be Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and other engineering degrees. From my experience it’s harder for international students to find companies that are willing to sponsor H1B visas with more general degrees.
Start early looking for a job, ideally a year before graduating. Networking is very important. Get in touch with alumni in companies that hire ERAU students, attend industry conferences, and don’t rely on job websites in your search. One thing to keep in mind is that you most likely will be rejected a number of times before you land a great job. It is just part of the process. Some people are lucky in finding a job quickly, but most of us will have to put time and effort into it. Try to enjoy the process and don’t take it personally.
What are your plans for the future?
In near future, I am interested in moving to Europe to work for a few years. Long-term, I would like to launch a tech startup and see how it goes.