Principal Program Manager
Even if you don’t know Dona Sarkar’s name, you likely know her work. If you’re one of the 1.5 billion people using Windows, you have likely used something she’s built. If you’ve ever looked for an app or setting on your computer, you’ve probably used the search box that Sarkar’s team made.
Ever used the handy File Explorer tool in Windows? It’s Sarkar’s work. And if you’ve ever logged onto a new device and been elated to find your profile of files and settings intact, you have Sarkar to thank.
But despite the significance of those components, Sarkar sees them — and good tech in general — less as superstars and more as an “invisible fairy godmother.”
She went to the University of Michigan to study computer science and promptly failed her first class in the subject. She tried again, passed the class and began to learn. She interned at design software firm Autodesk, where she distilled the company’s popular AutoCAD software into a free web preview version. Knowing that not everyone could easily afford the design tools, she liked the idea of helping people figure out if the tools were right for them before they bought them. After graduation, she moved to Seattle to work for Siebel Systems, a maker of customer relationship management software.
In 2005, Sarkar started at Microsoft as a software engineer working on the Windows team. She was drawn in particular to the company’s large customer base.
A self-described “absolute device hardware geek,” Sarkar worked as the lead developer for Windows Vista on device-focused features like Autoplay, Bluetooth and Blu-Ray integration into Windows. She relished the opportunity to shape how the system fits with things that “you expect to work flawlessly with your computer.”
Most recently, Sarkar led the developer engagement program for Microsoft HoloLens, enabling enthusiasts to make rich holographic experiences on the Universal Windows Platform. She taught for Microsoft’s Holographic Academy and recently created the inaugural #HoloHacks hackathon, a vibrant event in Seattle that drew a diverse crowd of coders, Unity developers, 3D artists, filmmakers and sound engineers.
Follow Dona on twitter @donasarkar
You can read Dona’s full story here: http://news.microsoft.com/stories/people/dona-sarkar.html