Microsoft

  www.microsoft.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

7910 Employee Reviews (View Most Recent)

Sort: Rating Date

 

Spent a third of my life working there, enjoyed the first ten years

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Engineering Manager  in  Mountain View, CA
Former Employee - Engineering Manager in Mountain View, CA

Pros

When I started there it was a company full of wickedly smart people who all worked tirelessly, and sometimes isolated, to move the company forward. It was always a meritocracy and I was ok with that as you got to work on cutting edge technologies. The career development there was stellar and I was presented with multiple international opportunities that allowed me to make my home in the USA with stints in Europe and Asia to round out my experience.

Cons

Over the last few years the changes to the review model killed collaboration, you became pitched lock step in battle with your peers fighting for a review score that you could apply a dollar amount to. I understand that has gone now and that is the only reason why I give it three stars now as there is a chance that the changes will fix this.

The company has too much middle management and a lot of it is mediocre. Sadly I became one of those mediocre middle managers because I could not connect the work that my 80+ person team was doing with the success of the company and my game face wasn't good enough to help motivate my team. So I got out and haven't looked back since. I just learned my team is about to get cut by 75% as they are being 'merged' with another one.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

With the new CEO at the helm there is a big opportunity for change. He needs to kill as much of the tired, hapless middle management as possible and restructure the company so teams are rewarded for their progress and failing teams are penalized appropriately. Keep it a meritocracy but reward the high performing TEAMS not individuals.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

Other reviews for Microsoft

  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Secure, frustrating, ultimately uninteresting

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Difficult 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not the place it once was.

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

    Pros

    Opportunity 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.

    Cons

    Big 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 ManagementAdvice

    Ditch 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
There are newer employer reviews for Microsoft.

Worked for Microsoft? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.