Michael J. Halvorson
Author, Historian, Speaker, Programmer


Michael J. Halvorson is the author or co-author of 35 books on topics relating to emerging technology and history.  He received a B.A. degree in computer science from Pacific Lutheran University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Washington.

Leadership at Microsoft Corporation

After earning a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Pacific Lutheran University, Halvorson worked at Microsoft Corporation from 1985 to 1993 as a technical editor, acquisitions editor, writer, and localization manager.  He joined Microsoft during a period of rapid growth and innovation in the computer industry. (Halvorson was among the first 1000 employees hired at the company.)  Michael worked as a writer and acquisitions editor for Microsoft Press (the book publishing division), as well as a manager in the International Product Group responsible for translating Visual Basic software into French and German.

As part of his early work, Halvorson evaluated test versions of MS-DOS, Windows, OS/2, Microsoft Office, and various programming languages.  He has been an advocate for Visual Basic programming since that product's debut at Windows World in 1991.

In 1989, Michael Halvorson co-authored with David Rygmyr the Microsoft Press book Learn BASIC Now (foreword by Bill Gates), which became a national bestseller and won a Computer Press Best How-To Book award.

Publishing, Teaching, and Research

Since 1994, Halvorson has owned and operated a business that produces technical books for Microsoft Corporation, O'Reilly, Cengage Technology, and other publishers.  He has also written and edited software documentation, provided content for training videos and web sites, worked as a speaker, and served as a mentor and manager for numerous writers and editors in the book publishing industry.

Since 2003, Halvorson has also worked as a history professor at Pacific Lutheran University.  He is a popular teacher and award-winning researcher, as well as a frequent traveler to Europe.  One of his main interests within the PLU community is working with and advising students, and focusing especially on the issue of student retention and addressing the challenges that underrepresented and first-generation students face when they enter college. 

Michael Halvorson’s professional experiences are obviously diverse; they reveal a love for writing, teaching, and publishing, and an abiding fascination with innovation and the dynamics of change in Western societies that come as a result of technology and socially transformative ideas.  His current work is situated in the intersection between the humanities and the sciences.