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Microsoft Technical Writer Reviews

Updated January 16, 2018
41 reviews

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Technical Writer

4.1
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Pros
Cons
  • Certain groups can have poor work-life balance (in 1124 reviews)

  • Mid level management, review system (in 522 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Technical Writer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Contractor - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Current Contractor - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft as a contractor

    Pros

    They treat you like you are the expert. They don't babysit you or micromanager, but do count on you to succeed or fail on your own merits. I love that kind of environment.

    Cons

    They go through contractors pretty quick. It is very hard to get a full-time job at Microsoft.


  2. "Technical Writer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of freedom to pursue passion projects.
    Very open minded peers and environment.
    Personal offices.

    Cons

    This is really nit-picky, but
    Compensation possibly not as competitive as the competition.
    No free food and just in general not a lot you get outside of getting paid (which isn't bad, just might not be up to par with what competitors do).
    Teams don't feel very close to each other, in social terms. Everyone is friendly, but not a lot of friends.

    Advice to Management

    Make buildings on campus feel more like Microsoft buildings, than just generic office buildings.
    Make employees feel appreciated with various small gestures that won't cost a lot, but will make people feel better.

  3. "Great place for vendors who jump in and take charge"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Senior Technical Marketing Writer in Redmond, WA
    Former Contractor - Senior Technical Marketing Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You hear a lot about how awful Microsoft treat vendors but I guess I lucked out with my team. I had support from the first day and had a blast growing my skillsets. I was given full autonomy to work on my projects and trusted to get the job done on time.

    Cons

    You get little notice when projects abruptly end. The spaces given to vendors are tiny! We were packed in like sardines.

    Advice to Management

    Don't pack your vendors into tiny rooms or in closets.


  4. "A good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    I was an FTE for 12 years and a contractor on and off for another couple of years. The pros for both are: a pleasure working with smart people, some great managers, better than average pay (for FTEs) with lots of possibilities for merit bonus and good benefits (for FTEs).

    Cons

    As an FTE: In recent years, layoffs have lent an atmosphere of instability and less than desirable job security. As a contractor, watch out for the policy that after 18 months of work, you need to take 6 months off.

    Advice to Management

    Clearly stockholders feel you're heading in a better direction over the last year or two. However, consider your employees for what they are--your most valuable resources--instead of being quick to layoff to get the results you want for your bottom line. That's the easy, non-creative way, and you'll lose in the long run, because the good talent out there will learn to stay away.


  5. "Technical Writer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Former Contractor - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Microsoft as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    I had the best boss of my entire career. We worked under high pressure with oversight by international agencies. My boss shielded his contractors from the debris hitting the fans (unlike other teams). We worked our butts off for him. Learned a lot. There were additional training opportunities and tool fares on campus. There were great cafeterias with real food that we paid for with our real wages (not free dried cereal). It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....

    Cons

    The lead editor for my large team of writers was apparently also an "organizational psychologist" working with behavioral science researchers. She appeared to be training a group of people, also working as editors, in "monitoring" (responses to provocative harassment) and "buffering" (social undermining) of employees who have been red-flagged for one reason or another. I had been profiled for ideology while taking classes for a credential (I voiced support for immigration control). Other writers on my team had been in some sort of trouble in their last jobs. The harassment involves daily provocations (race baiting, references to WWII), derogatory spins put on everything you do positive, negative or neutral and opportunistic attempts to draw you into illogical conflicts or to get you written up. As I didn't work directly with her I simply side-stepped her aggressive attempts to 'befriend'.

    Advice to Management

    I understand the need for covert investigations, but without protocols in place to report abuse, there is nothing to prevent malicious surveillance. Also at some point the subject should be made aware of the allegations so that they can respond (even if this means they decide to seek employment elsewhere). Mature adults are going to want to handle petty harassment themselves rather than go running to HR like a sniveling crybaby. They may not even acknowledge the abuse if asked about it by a 'befriender'. They may only admit to engaging retaliatory harassment if they are told that they are the subject of an investigation. Furthermore, the person who takes the subject's affidavit should be unknown and independent of on-site investigative teams and academic researchers.


  6. "Coolest Internship in the Whole World in 1998"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I don't know if it's still as awesome as it was when I was in college, but I got a sweet salary (for a 19-year-old), a rental car, and a free apartment--not to mention the party at Bill Gates' house. The people I met there have been lifelong friends.

    Cons

    Nope. No cons that I can think of... did I mention the party at Bill Gates' house?

    Advice to Management

    Rock on.


  7. "Good work, surprisingly siloed departments"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Technical Writer in Mountain View, CA
    Former Contractor - Technical Writer in Mountain View, CA

    I worked at Microsoft as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Positive work environment
    IT support which is really on top of things
    Nice perks

    Cons

    If your department is doing something interesting and you aren't working for X-Box or Office, then someone from the Office area might try to take what you're doing and make it theirs.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "It's a huge company, YMMV"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Benefits package is excellent, campus is very nice, lots of commute options.

    Cons

    It's tech, and tech has become increasingly unsettled. Management at all levels makes decisions that don't make any sense, and have lead to an increasing atmosphere of uncertainly for employees. I'm back as a contractor now (in 2016) and the general feeling is of a place where people are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    Advice to Management

    Stop with the layoffs, stop using contractors to fill full-time spots. Figure out your staffing and manage it. Employee morale is important, and anyone who's been caught up in the recent churn looks back at all the little lambs who think you still give a damn and feels sorry for them.


  9. "Technical Writer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Writer in Duvall, WA
    Former Employee - Technical Writer in Duvall, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Microsoft (More than a year)

    Pros

    Somewhat decent pay and benefits.

    Cons

    Colossal top-heavy inept management and stale culture.

    Advice to Management

    Instead of trying to manage (delegate) everything to someone else, perform some useful duties yourself.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Large but relatively efficient"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Technical Writer in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good integration of consultants and FTEs, well standardized processes, good communication channels, clear project objectives, relatively few levels of management for a large Fortune 500 company, fairly self-directed and flexible work

    Cons

    Policies have gotten more restrictive over the last decade, individual teams can very different cultures and conflicting goals, workloads can become overwhelming, too frequent reorganizations and name changes

    Advice to Management

    Recent changes seem encouraging, interoperate with Android phones/apps better, recapture the PC games market