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3 people found this helpful  

Good place to go to retire

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

I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

1. Pay and benefits are great. Not excellent, but great.

2. If you don't have great ambitions, you can maintain a good work-life balance. Once you get to the "Senior" level in the career ladder, it's easy to just relax and get lost among the cracks. Management is going to assume that you "plateaued", and let you stay where you are.

3. Company pays a lot of importance to ethics and being a good world citizen. Pays generously to charities and has a great charity donation matching program.

Cons

1. The company is too big and too slow. I don't know what exactly the reason for this is, but everything in the company just seems to happen so slowly, even down to minor everyday tasks such as getting a single bug fixed.

2. People in the company are nowhere near as smart as some people think, particularly the new hires. In a market where companies like Google, Facebook, etc. are soaking up the cream of the crop, Microsoft has certainly lowered their standards and is settling for those who cannot make it into such companies. The really smart people are those that have been around for a decade or so, from back when Microsoft could attract those kind of people. The rest are probably still better than your average code-monkey, but nowhere near as good as they need to be to turn this company around. On rare occasions you come across some surprisingly incompetent people.

3. Performance system is broken:

- Rewards are tied to how much visibility the work you do has, i.e., the more the number of people who know what you are doing, the better your chances of a favorable performance rating. This may seem justified on paper, because the higher the "visibility" of your work, the more important it is. However, what ends up happening is that it basically becomes a popularity contest. You may be working on something that might be the most important thing for your immediate team, but since no one outside your team knows that, it is very unlikely you will be rewarded for your work. The "new" review system that was announced recently doesn't change any of this.

- No matter what they tell you, there is definitely a minimum time period you need to be in each level before you get promoted to the next, no matter how good you are.

- It's all about being in the right place at the right time. Good opportunities are hard to come by, and they keep moving around the company. Currently it looks like all the good opportunities are in the Windows Phone group. People there are getting promoted like crazy. Whereas in Windows, there is a huge dearth of good opportunities. And since the average seniority of employees in Windows in much higher, the few good opportunities go to the senior folks, leaving the junior folks with very little, making it hard to progress up the career ladder.

4. Lack of good vision from leadership: Given the mess we are in right now, we need a Steve Jobs to turn us around.

5. Ancient engineering practices: When I left school, I was eager to get into some actual software engineering and learn cool things like TDD, unit-testing, UML, etc. I am saddened to say that my co-workers and I are still writing code like it is for a class project. I think Microsoft relies more on a strategy wherein junior developers are just not given much important and complicated work until after they have gained a few years of experience. That's no way to do software engineering in today's world. While SDETs churn out huge, complicated, and heavy test frameworks for testing products, the reality is that these tests usually never catch any bugs, and most bugs are found in production.

6. You better be prepared to spend the rest of your life working with Microsoft technologies: They avoid OSS and non-Microsoft solutions like the plague, which, to be fair, might be justified because of the potential for legal troubles. But if you are coming to work here, be prepared to say goodbye to the rest of the technology world.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

I honestly don't know what to say.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

8482 Other Employee Reviews for Microsoft (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    A dystopic G-rated place of productivity/familyland balance.

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

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    + The full time employee FTE benefits (medical/dental/legal/gym/employer match/commute-options.)
    + Career advancement opportunities and merits.
    + Competitive salaries
    + Microsoft Prime / Free orca card
    + Prestige
    + Great places for people who want to work smart / hard / perpetually

    Cons

    - A good or bad manager can make or break your career.
    - Get used to re-orgs shaking up your ant-farm empire of success.
    - Time consuming enough to have cookie cutter time for raising a Microsoft family, driving your SUV, taking DSLR pictures of your trip to Paraguay and talking about your kid's shingles on corporate email threads while justifying your alcoholic tendencies.
    - not often, or in all circumstances but FTEs treat CSGs as "lesser thans"
    - as loyal as you are to them, you need to pace yourself because you may fly too close to the sun,
    - Little creativity.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rethink your bell curves of merit increases.
    Good people get cut for ridiculous management reasons.
    Build a better safety net for those who work hard and reward loyalty with dignity.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Senior PM

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

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

    Pros

    Get to work with very smart people.
    Get to work on most challenging problems.
    Get to understand the full life cycle of shipping a product

    Cons

    Rewards individualistic heroism instead of team effort. Performance system is designed in that way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Redesign performance management system to encourage team work and collaboration.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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