Featured Woman in Technology: Lidiane Souza
Lidiane Souza is the Senior Group Program Manager (GPM) of the Microsoft Application Virtualization (formerly SoftGrid) team at Microsoft. Virtualization can greatly reduce the cost of application testing and deployment. Different versions of DLLs may be needed for different applications, and when running these applications on the same machine, problems can arise (the classic problem of DLL Hell). Microsoft Application Virtualization remedies this by isolating each application into a sandbox. Therefore, multiple applications can be deployed and run side by side that wouldn’t normally be able to and without requiring prior testing.
Another benefit is "Click to Run". Typically, tools like SMS are used to push out applications to desktops. With Microsoft Application Virtualization, you can click an icon on your desktop (say the Excel icon) and Excel can be streamed from a central server to your machine and runs and behaves like it would if it were locally installed.
Day to day, Lidiane manages the team's schedule, envisions the direction the product is going, participates in customer calls, and builds partnerships with other teams within Microsoft that can leverage this technology.
"The best part of my job is directly talking to customers," Lidiane says. "It's great when we recognize how to make software changes that make their lives a lot easier." She also adds that "it's incredibly rewarding to see software come to life! I love my job."
Lidiane always knew that she would work with software. As a little girl in Brazil, she enjoyed math. When she was about 8, her father gave her an old computer and she learned how to write little programs in Basic on it. In high school, she took programming classes in C, Cobol, and Java. One year before high school graduation, Lidiane decided that she wanted to go to a university in the United States for a Computer Science degree.
However, in order to be accepted at a university in the United States, she would have to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For one year, she studied English as well as taking her normal classes. She needed a minimum score of 550 to be accepted at an American school, and when she took the test, she scored 540.
Lidiane remained determined. She moved to Michigan and started at a community college brushing up on her English and getting prepared for college, and she took the test again. This time, she passed and was accepted into the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Lidiane graduated with honors and was hired by Microsoft immediately.
At Microsoft, Lidiane's career started as a tester in Microsoft Excel for 2 years. She then transferred to a Program Manager (PM) role, which focuses on determining the new features as well as managing risk and schedules for a product. After holding a PM role for Microsoft Project, she joined the Microsoft Application Virtualization team.
Lidiane believes that female mentors have helped her along the way. Her current manager is Angela Anderson, a former VP of Engineering at Novell and "an amazing person for me to learn from".
Lidiane's advice to other women in technology: "It can become challenging to be studying/working in a market that is so male-focused. Never let that stop you from believing in yourself and recognizing the value that women have in this space. Even if it seems discouraging at times, don't give up!"