Microsoft

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Great place but substandard pay

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Software Development Engineer In Test IV in Redmond, WA
Former Employee - Software Development Engineer In Test IV in Redmond, WA

I worked at Microsoft as a contractor (more than an year)

Pros

* Great for building your resume!
* Very friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
* Enough challenging projects to keep one from getting bored.
* Free drinks.
* The feeling that the work you're doing actually matters.
* I know there are a lot of cons, but I still felt that my experience at M$ was very positive overall. Obviously, I would've liked to have had the opportunity to continue working there, but I just couldn't get past the beurocracy. It was still fun, though!

Cons

* Pay scale is significantly below industry standards.
* Most positions are contracts, which cannot exceed a year in length (after which you cannot work there for at least three months) and carry absolutely no benefits.
* Extremely difficult to tailor resume keywords to get past automated filters. You can get past that if you're a contractor and they like you, but only if your department has been allocated funds for another FTE by the higher-ups, which is very difficult to get approval for.
* Contractors and vendors are otherwise treated no differently than people who have never worked at Microsoft in terms of applying for full-time positions. Non-FTEs can't even access the internal jobs site to apply; they have to use the public one that is notoriously difficult to reach human eyes.
* I've seen contractors and vendors who have been there for years ("mandatory three-month unpaid vacation," as many have come to call it, notwithstanding of course) and never even been able to get an interview for an FTE position. This is unfortunate because there's a lot of really good talent there.
* If you're an OSS developer, don't expect a lot of job security. Steve Ballmer has frequently expressed contempt for open source software. Though some of the senior leadership is more supportive, Mr. Ballmer has made sure that the few OSS projects/teams that are authorized are given minimal budgets. It's also not uncommon for those departments to be suddenly dissolved by the upper management without explanation. It had just started happening to mine when my contract was up, so thankfully it didn't affect me.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

1. Open source is your friend. Bring more OSS people into your ranks. These people can add a lot of insight about ways to improve performance and security. Like it or not, Steve, Linux is not going to disappear. Apple embraced BSD and look how much that helped them!
2. Stop relying so heavily on long-term contractors. It may save a few pennies here and there but all you're doing is training good talent and then sending them to go work for your competitors.
3. Update your pay scale across the board. A quick Google search will tell you that it's not very competitive as it stands right now.
4. Fire whoever came up with that ugly "Metro" interface for Windows 8. Seriously, it looks terrible. When I see a bunch of Skittles-colored squares with sharp corners, I'm not thinking, "Wow, this looks so cool and futuristic!" I'm thinking, "Wow, this would make a great toy for my 6-year-old niece!"

Recommends
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

8604 Other Employee Reviews for Microsoft (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not a great place for young people

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

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

    Pros

    Salary is good. Benifit is good. Work place is good. People are nice.

    Cons

    Usually young people are hard to take challenging work. Promotion is mainly based on how long you have worked here. Hard to get promotion quickly, especailly in some old teams, like Windows, Office.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good company with great employees

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

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

    Pros

    -Huge company with broad range of products and services - You will find something in MSFT that you are passionate about
    -Employees are treated well, fairness and equality in workplace, lots of perks
    -There are a lot of bright people here that you can learn from.

    Cons

    -Stack ranking: Forced curves
    -bureaucracy: sometimes you have to work your way to avoid bureaucracy
    -internal politics: personal achievement sometimes becomes more important than customer needs

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Be more visionary

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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