Microsoft

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Research Intern happy with experience

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Research Intern in Redmond, WA
Former Employee - Research Intern in Redmond, WA

I worked at Microsoft

Pros

Great benefits, incredibly smart people, worldwide impact. You will have all the tools you need to do a great job if you have the energy and motivation. You can meet with anyone in the company if you can find time; everyone is happy to help each other out, to give feedback, to talk about career advancement. You will be paid better than at other similar companies. An internship at MSR is more structured and more productive than at IBM or Google; you will also be encouraged to publish.

Cons

The commutes around Redmond are horrible. There are no trains or light rail options; you must be on the road whether in your car, a bus, a carpool, on a bike or on foot. From near the 520 bridge in Seattle, the commute takes between 30 and 120 minutes. Microsoft's "hero" culture can be tough for new employees to navigate. Shyness will get you nowhere.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Train managers to be managers. Good engineers do not automatically make good managers.

Recommends
Approves of CEO

9236 Other Employee Reviews for Microsoft (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Solid, but at times frustrating

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

    I have been working at Microsoft

    Pros

    As an SDE, you are given a lot of freedom at Microsoft to design your feature from a technical pespective. There isn't a lot of second guessing, and you can use the tools you prefer for the most part. Benefits are A-rate (although the $1500 limit on dental can be costly depending on your situation... but that is the only real limit). There is a huge swath of products the company works on, and it's relatively easy to move around (18 month commitment per group). Co-workers are generally top-notch... you can learn from them. Open and constructively critical culture for the most part.

    Cons

    My main issue recently has the been the rewards system. Basically, rewards are given out based on a stack rank system. A group of even 40 people must fit the curve, and every such group is basically given the exact same pool of money to start with. The result is that, perversely, you really don't want to be a strong team because it's going to be more competitive. There is no accountability for product failure in the market. Every level x SDE in the company is getting paid the same range, no matter what the status of their product. Every dev group (for example), is getting the same pool of rewards. Work expectations in terms of both time and competencies are supposed to be standardized across the firm, but it isn't even close to equal. Recently my group interviewed a bunch of devs from another group whose project was finally cancelled (a rarety!) and none of them could make our hiring bar. I'm starting to shop for the internally weakest group I can so that I can do less work for the same outcome.. it's really quite stupid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think the company needs to get more aggressive and is being lazy in many respects. We are being schooled in mulitple product areas that we were first to market. Take Windows Mobile for example... we had been doing it for 5+ years before IPhone came out, yet IPhone is clearly superior in almost every respect to our software. It's really embarassing, yet we do not seem to be capable of doing anything about it. It's sapping morale... and more generally, to me it points to a problem. We keep adding more and more people, but somehow getting less and less done. The "less is more" crowd, who favor actually cutting the employee base to more elite group, is gaining a lot of currency with me.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Good Company but lots needs to change to be the best.

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

    I have been working at Microsoft

    Pros

    Diverse culture, lot of opportunities, being in the middle of great technology company are the best reasons to work for the company. Medical benefis are great.

    Cons

    Salary is very low compared to the same level for other companies. Work life balance is a complete disaster. Middle management expects too much out of you. They want you to not only achieve your goals but super exceed in every goal to get a promotion or a good bonus. Some of the middle management people are not even managers. they do not know how to manage or asess people if they are good or bad. They think that if you talk more and stay late then you are great and otherwise not. Particularly MS IT is a bad place to work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Match industry salaries for both new and old employees after giving the same type of benefits. Give more and get more. Cut many people in between senior management and employees. Make managers to just not drive people but to listen and trust people under them. There are too many products and services that the company offers. Please do not try to compete in everything and not master anything. Please focus on specific things and master it and be the only one who can give the best of it.

    Approves of CEO
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