Microsoft
3.6 of 5 7,481 reviews
www.microsoft.com Redmond, WA 5000+ Employees

Microsoft Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 7,479 reviews

                             

88% Approve of the CEO

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella

(556 ratings)

77% of employees recommend this company to a friend
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    1 person found this helpful  

    Secure, frustrating, ultimately uninteresting

    Data Scientiist (Former Employee)
    Bellevue, WA

    ProsCompensation was good. Job security. Data at large scale means there's potential to do some interesting work.

    ConsDifficult to impossible to do meaningful interesting work. Physical and process infrastructure is so slow and so much contention for the few interesting projects that it's all about positioning, rarely about doing good work. In my area (software engineering as applied to big data problems) not being able to use open-source technologies means your skill set will quickly become obsolete.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Not the place it once was.

    Principal Architect (Former Employee)
    Redmond, WA

    ProsOpportunity to work with some amazing technologies and very smart people. Huge variety of work to choose from across a large organization. Life as a Senior engineer can be great with lots of interesting work and you can focus on engineering not meetings and politics. Lots of chances to interact with customers if you make time for it, even when its not part of your role. Microsoft has huge resources and can afford to invest heavily in research and development for the long term, there are only a few places you can work that are really able to do this. If you want to work on massive software projects that have a huge impact then Microsoft has a lot to offer.

    Lots of opportunities to take on new challenges and learn new things provided your manager is supportive and your group is growing. There are some great managers at Microsoft and they make all the difference. Find a good one and work for them, follow them around if need be. Life at Microsoft is far better when someone has your back, especially at review time.

    The salary and benefits package are still competitive but not as good as they were a few years back. Campus is being modernized and the working environment is good and getting better. For a large company the day-to-day work is pretty low friction in terms of needless rules, engineers have Admin access to their workstations etc.

    ConsBig variability in culture and working conditions between groups. Some parts of the company are great places to work run by people who respect their reports and coworkers. Where people are encouraged to work as a team and do their best work. Other groups are perpetual death marches run by self-serving management. It's very hard to see the difference until after being hired. Once hired you are stuck in that position for 12-16 months. This is long enough to get a poor review which will make it harder to move.

    Competitive culture encourages individuals to show themselves in the best light, even if it means making co-workers look bad or doing things that are not in the group or company's long term interests. The stack rank culture is engrained in the company, don't expect a different review system run by the same people who ran the old system to change things any time soon.

    Decisions are often driven by politics and personalities. At the Principal level politics becomes more important. If you are the sort of person who says what they think, even if it is likely to be unpopular this may be your downfall. Being subsequently shown to be right will not help. The end result can be a a lot of smart people collectively making seemingly dumb decisions and building the wrong things. The Peter principle applies and often the politically savvy get promoted for all the wrong reasons. You come across quite a lot of senior people who are clearly just waiting to vest their next stock grants.

    Over resourcing results in large teams and empire building. Often teams will vote to (re)build existing functionality "we built our own DB because (we thought) SQL Server didn't meet our needs". Lack of willingness to use open source and LCA's slow responses also promotes this problem. Sometimes this is due to valid IP taint issues but a lot of the time it's not. Smaller teams can often move faster because they are forced to make smarter decisions by their limited resources.

    In general Microsoft has been slow to adopt the latest engineering practices. There are good reasons for this on some of their largest products, like SQL and Windows, but in many other cases it is simply a case of "not invented here" and "we're Microsoft, we're different". The fight to get newer (agile) process and engineering practices adopted on several of my teams was a long and painful one. If you want to work on smaller projects using the latest practices then choose your team carefully.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDitch the old culture, it is no longer attracting the best people and in today's (hot) job market new hires and current employees have a lot of other options. There's a noticeable exodus to other employers (management knows this but do not seem to stem the tide). Overall the company is very inward looking, most employees have a very skewed view of the rest of the technology landscape. This skewed vision drives product decisions and fails to delight customers.

    Decide on the company's direction and stick with it. Stop trying to be in every market segment.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    thoughts after 3 years

    Senior Research Software Development Engineer (Current Employee)
    Seattle, WA

    Pros1. Good if you want job security;
    2. single office; enough private space.

    Cons1. politics;
    2. low salary;
    3. high pressure;
    4. work not get reward.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Steady but boring.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsSalary is pretty high, travel to places you wouldn't normally get to, work from home can be flexible depending on the department.

    ConsCulture is non existent. Incredibly boring with an old school feel (like watching the movie Office Space. Tons of red tape to get through to get things done.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Financial Analyst

    Financial Analyst (Former Employee)
    Bellevue, WA

    Proslearned a lot about modeling and excel. Some smart people were working there as well. Senior management was pretty sharp.

    Constons of work with little reward even though I progressed up the ladder.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEither cut back the amount of work for employees or improve the salary. Otherwise you'll continue to lose top talent.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Maximum politics, Minimum capability

    Program Manager I (Current Employee)
    Sunnyvale, CA

    ProsGood work-life balance if you insist. Probably not good for your performance review.

    Cons- Too many unqualified employees. This detracts from any useful work.
    - Everybody is here for the political gameplay. The idea is to seem like you're doing useful work so as to get to the next step. Doesn't matter who you trample along the way.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    A stagnant company - More focused on its "diversity" than results

    Principal Consultant (Former Employee)
    Redmond, WA

    ProsCompany name recognition - If you say you work at Microsoft, people know who the company is. Free access to Microsoft software.

    ConsThis is a company in a cultural free-fall.

    Microsoft used to be its own worst critic - it helped improve its software by internally having high expectations. Now it is full of non-technologists (many are women who "don't understand technology, but are good at communicating, or "big picture people". So concerned about its image and its diversity - if you aren't gay or a particular race with some complaint, you're a minority.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe MACH (college) hires aren't working out. You brought in new blood with no direction. Giving them a Web site and telling them to "learn SharePoint" isn't mentoring.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    It's a job - not a relationship

    Senior Software Development Engineer (Former Employee)
    Redmond, WA

    ProsGood tools and equipment. Products have global impact. Great benefits. Work with some of the smartest programmers on the planet

    Consyou are on your own as far as career development goes. If you ever get a less than 'meets requirements' review you are doomed and the review process is draconian.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop making employees compete with each other. that is not a great way to build teams.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Monolithic

    Executive Assistant (Former Employee)
    Redmond, WA

    ProsMet a lot of great people.

    ConsBehind-the-times, out of touch, moves glacially.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Survived It

    Senior Program Manager (Former Employee)
    Redmond, WA

    ProsVariety of products to work on
    Mostly very smart peers to work with
    Strong benefits package (though not as strong as in past)
    No health insurance premium payments
    Based in the Pacific Northwest

    ConsWeak senior leadership (hopefully Satya will change this)
    Lack of innovation
    Culture of collaboration completely missing
    Stack rank performance mgmt. system (glad to see it's finally going away though)

    Advice to Senior ManagementGood luck Satya. Hope you can turn things around.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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