Microsoft Reviews in Seattle, WA

Updated October 21, 2014
Updated October 21, 2014
8,350 Reviews
3.8
8,350 Reviews
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella
1,080 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Really good work-life balance compared to other tech companies of the same caliber (in 804 reviews)

  • You will get the opportunity to work with smart people solving real world problems (in 959 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance is not good in some places but it really depends on your role (in 530 reviews)

  • In the review system there is a "check box" equivalent to a rank of Underperforming (in 393 reviews)

More Highlights

1,579 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 376 people found this helpful  

    Thoughts after 10 years....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    1. If you love tech, this is a great place. No doubt you'll talk tech (mostly the MSFT stack) from enterprise to consumer - from PCs to phones to Xboxes - from datacenter to desktop.

    2. What were GREAT benefits are now VERY GOOD (took a small step down) but still probably better than you'll find at 99% of large corporations. If you've got family - the value of the benefits is even higher. 401k match is nice.

    3. Even with it's struggles MSFT is still a cash printing machine. This means if you can keep your nose clean and do reasonable work, you can have a stable job, pay your bills, feed your family, and not worry (too much) about layoffs. The stock you own likely won't tank, but probably won't go up much either. You'll get a bonus each year and some stock. It's a decent life if you aren't looking to light the world on fire.

    Cons

    Brand on Your Resume: After many years of losing market share and struggling to be at the front end of innovation and the fact that there's 90,000 employees, don't think MSFT is necessarily going to be attractive on your resume to more agile and smaller companies.

    Managing Your Career: Make you say this out loud so it registers - 90,000 employees work there. Double that for vendors. It is VERY hard to "stand out" and move up in the company. Don't expect your manager to be much of an advocate or enabler to help you meet your career goals - they are basically trying to survive the stack rank every year too. Not familiar with the stack rank? Check out the 2012 Vanity Fair article called "Microsoft's Lost Decade".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'll type it here - but I don't they are listening...
    1. Help proven talent move laterally in the company for new opportunities.
    2. Kill/evolve the stack rank. Here's basically how it's viewed:. 30% of the company gets 1s and 2s - and they are happy. 50% get 3s and that basically feels like getting a "C" in school. This sucks for talented people when a multitude of UNCONTROLLABLE conditions keep you from getting into 1 or 2 range. The 20% getting anything below a 3 are walking dead. In summary, 70% of the company walk away from the review cycle feeling like crap. This is no good.

    After 10 years, I'm leaving - it's just a matter of time until I find the right opportunity. I need to find a company spends 90% of it's time building technology experiences, as opposed to 90% of its time building PowerPoints. And I expect to refuse the exit interview - because if you really cared what I thought, you wouldn't ask me after I decided to leave.

  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Average place. Not a place for innovation. Too much politics.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Software Development Engineer in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Lead Software Development Engineer in Bellevue, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Work life balance. You can go through work without much effort.

    Cons

    Too much politics. Whatever happened to meritocracy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire all people who are not technical and into politics.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work with brilliant individual contributors but less than stellar middle management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Development Engineer Lead in Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Development Engineer Lead in Bellevue, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Everyday is a new learning at work. The people around, especially the individual contributors, are mostly very smart and there is hardly any day when you don't feel like you are not being challenged.

    Cons

    Leadership can sometimes hold you back. Too many people who have been here for a really long time are occupying positions in middle management without making much of a difference to the product/people. Many of these people are too rigid to change and are opposed to any semblance of a change. This is usually the source of slower innovation. I am however optimistic with the arrival of Satya though. He is making the right noises and backing it up with some sound decisions.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Microsoft is a great company to work for with a lot of excellent engineers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET) in Bellevue, WA
    Former Employee - Lead Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET) in Bellevue, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The benefits have been watered down from what they used to be, but still are very good. The deductible at the beginning of the year is high, but MS contributes and I've never had a problem finding a doctor that's part of the system. The company culture varies from division to division, but generally its supportive and cooperative. There are cases where people were promoted that I didn't feel should have been, but they were fairly rare so by in large, promotions were earned and justified. Even more rare were the cases where someone should have been promoted and wasn't. When I was promoted, the benefits were good, generally a 3-5% salary increase (+ merit on top of that), 15%+ bonus (depending on level), and equity shares. As for people, I worked with a lot of different teams and I didn't get along with everybody, but I always felt the vast majority of people were very smart and talented.

    Cons

    A big problem toward the end of my tenure at MS was process and compartmentalization. I'm sure this is a problem with a lot of large companies, but I felt over the years that different groups were spun off to tackle different problems during the shipping of Windows. This sounds good, but in practice it leads to conflicting priorities between groups with the focus less and less on the end goal of shipping a quality, innovative product. For example early on in Windows, test and dev teams owned their own test labs and machines. Now its set up such that there is a lab team and an execution team and their priorities are to keep the lab clean and machines busy, which isn't always the best thing for the dev/test teams trying to ship a product.

    Also, another thing to watch out for is competition. MS competitive review model can lead to grandstanding and throwing people under the bus for the sake of ones own review. Some competition is good, but not when it leads to these negative results, which I have seen.

    Last I would say is honesty of execs. Because of the layoffs and the way they were handled by execs, the morale of the Windows group is pretty low. Some of the recent confusing directives from Windows execs on what exactly is the job function of a SDE and SDET and the constant reorgs are taking a toll.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest with your employees and clean up the conflicting priorities. Everybody for each product should have one goal in mind and be clear on how that goal impacts the companies bottom line. Get rid of the SLA's between groups working on the same product; just do what it takes!

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    You really can do things you've never imagined

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Director Marketing in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Director Marketing in Redmond, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Truly smart people work there. The resources are enormous compared to other companies. For the most part people are empowered to do great work and you can make an impact at the global level.

    Cons

    Budgets get cut 30% every year yet expectations for growth are continually increased. The old boy network and bully culture is still alive but is not getting fed and rewarded as it used to be. Very political and bureaucratic. Hard for an individual contributor to be promoted.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I was super pro Satya until he opened his mouth about women and raises, but generally think he's taking the company in the direction it needs to go.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    20+ year career, varied experiences, the company where I "grew up"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Business Program Manager in Redmond, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Large company with large number of opportunities to gain experience, excellent compensation package, Challenging environment pushes you to produce good work.

    Cons

    Depending on the team, can be overly political and slow. Culture is very entrenched and slow to change. Performance model legacy leads to negative behavior

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Performance Model is the biggest negative for working at Microsoft. It discouraged teamwork, and was demoralizing for personality types that do not enjoy self-promotion. The new model is heading in the right direction, but implementation is unclear and it doesn't appear management is totally bought in.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Overall good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good work culture .. . ..

    Cons

    long working hours .. .. ..

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    I was privileged to work at Microsoft for the past 12 years as an FTE, and as a contractor for 2 years prior to that.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Content Publisher in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Content Publisher in Redmond, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The benefits package can't be beat. Also, the pay is really good, with nice merit increases and bonuses every year (if you deserve them). A recent improvement was changing the performance review system to no longer include the bell curve. There are lots of opportunities for growth, and if you don't like the team you're on or are looking for a change, there's usually another position at Microsoft you can jump to (and it's encouraged).

    Cons

    For me, it was the rapid and constant change in recent years. It seemed like our team re-orged every six months to a year, or we lost people due to layoffs and didn't hire anyone in their place. As a result, the work those people were doing had to either be spread out across the team or just dropped. Also, you never feel really safe; performance or seniority doesn't seem to matter in layoffs.... Also, our team direction seemed to be constantly changing, and in later years, the leadership became micro-managers. Everything had to be signed off to the point that the leadership team became a bottleneck.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward those who have really contributed to the company by not including them in big layoffs. Demonstrate that you know your employees and their worth and that you value their contributions by keeping them around.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Once a Great Company being destroyed by incompetent senior leadership !

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer (SDE) II in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer (SDE) II in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Talented People. Great work place you can learn a lot. Above average salary. Benefits are good (medical, fitness, commute). Some benefits seems great but you will never use it. Lot of free soda and free stuff.

    Cons

    Company Values: In short, you will be treated like a broiler chicken. If they need you honey and milk will flow, otherwise they will show the door. Even when you could be redeployed, they dont do, they just fire you. No consistent strategy. Team change every six months. My team was changed four times in two years and asked to perform :P . Lower level employees fired , for the failures of senior management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have a consistent strategy. Redeploy and retrain people. Just to cheer the market dont take stupid steps which lowers employee morale.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great opportunities, interesting projects, smart people

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Program Manager in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    One of the best things about working at Microsoft is the people - you are surrounded by smart, motivated people. There are lots of challenges and unique problems to solve, and you are always growing and learning from your peers.

    Some teams more than others have tolerance for trying new things more than others but the culture is definitely changing to embrace new ideas and ways to build software. Also shifting to more customer focused solutions and where the market is heading.

    Great work life balance in most groups, compensation, and benefits.

    Cons

    Due to recent company wide reorganizations and layoffs, there is a lack of job stability, questionable leadership and accountability in the management structure. Growth and career trajectory tends to favor type A people or those that tend to be more vocal.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The transition towards rapid development and deployments is still slower in some teams/divisions and needs to happen to a number of key products. Collaboration and decision making across divisions that impacts product direction/strategy needs to happen faster and align towards unified customer experiences.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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