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Microsoft Reviews in Redmond, WA

Updated 20 August 2014
Updated 20 August 2014
7,910 Reviews

3.8
7,910 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella
774 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Really good work-life balance compared to other tech companies of the same caliber (in 688 reviews)

  • Tons of super smart people working for the right reasons - to make a difference (in 893 reviews)


Cons
  • And there are times when the workload may impede on your work-life balance (in 476 reviews)

  • The previous stack rank review system encourage a behavior that was very much individualist (in 369 reviews)

More Highlights

3,286 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 331 people found this helpful  

    Thoughts after 10 years....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA (US)

    Pros

    1. If you love tech, this is a great place. No doubt you'll talk tech (mostly the MSFT stack) from enterprise to consumer - from PCs to phones to Xboxes - from datacenter to desktop.

    2. What were GREAT benefits are now VERY GOOD (took a small step down) but still probably better than you'll find at 99% of large corporations. If you've got family - the value of the benefits is even higher. 401k match is nice.

    3. Even with it's struggles MSFT is still a cash printing machine. This means if you can keep your nose clean and do reasonable work, you can have a stable job, pay your bills, feed your family, and not worry (too much) about layoffs. The stock you own likely won't tank, but probably won't go up much either. You'll get a bonus each year and some stock. It's a decent life if you aren't looking to light the world on fire.

    Cons

    Brand on Your Resume: After many years of losing market share and struggling to be at the front end of innovation and the fact that there's 90,000 employees, don't think MSFT is necessarily going to be attractive on your resume to more agile and smaller companies.

    Managing Your Career: Make you say this out loud so it registers - 90,000 employees work there. Double that for vendors. It is VERY hard to "stand out" and move up in the company. Don't expect your manager to be much of an advocate or enabler to help you meet your career goals - they are basically trying to survive the stack rank every year too. Not familiar with the stack rank? Check out the 2012 Vanity Fair article called "Microsoft's Lost Decade".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'll type it here - but I don't they are listening...
    1. Help proven talent move laterally in the company for new opportunities.
    2. Kill/evolve the stack rank. Here's basically how it's viewed:. 30% of the company gets 1s and 2s - and they are happy. 50% get 3s and that basically feels like getting a "C" in school. This sucks for talented people when a multitude of UNCONTROLLABLE conditions keep you from getting into 1 or 2 range. The 20% getting anything below a 3 are walking dead. In summary, 70% of the company walk away from the review cycle feeling like crap. This is no good.

    After 10 years, I'm leaving - it's just a matter of time until I find the right opportunity. I need to find a company spends 90% of it's time building technology experiences, as opposed to 90% of its time building PowerPoints. And I expect to refuse the exit interview - because if you really cared what I thought, you wouldn't ask me after I decided to leave.

  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    I've been a software developer at Microsoft for 11 years.

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

    Pros

    It is geek heaven. You work with people who are as passionate as yourself about software development. The benefits are top of the line. If you perform well, you are rewarded well.

    Cons

    The review process is draining and if your manager doesn't fight for you, you might not earn the recognition you deserve.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be sure your direct reports understand what constitutes for success and then fight for them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    SDE II

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

    Pros

    Microsoft cares for you and wants you to be successful

    Cons

    Sometimes your peers are better at doing politics vs programming which is unfortunate but I guess any place with this many number of people is bound to have this.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fabulous

    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer (SDE) II  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer (SDE) II in Redmond, WA (US)

    Pros

    Microsoft has wonderful work Environment and Peers and Work and Ethics and Location and Morale Events.

    Cons

    Microsoft has below average Salary/compensation and benefits and Leadership and NONE and NONE and NONE.

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great opportunity, poor execution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA (US)

    Pros

    Huge company with a lot to offer, great pay. Culture varies by group. Opportunities to move. Great changes to senior management recently

    Cons

    Heirarchical, each role is very niche, trying to change but up hill battle with ingrained culture.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

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

    Pros

    Good compensation and benefits. Lots of bright people around. Lots of opportunities to learn. Flexible work hours. And things are changing for the better slowly, but steadily.

    Cons

    The old review system sucked big time and distracted lots of talent. Politics are still strong too. Career is #1 concern for many.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Fix the review system. Make people focus on product, not career.
    2. Engineers should drive the company, not the PowerPoint monkeys.
    3. Innovate. Stop chasing market leaders. All those iPhone, etc. "killers" are ridiculous.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work and gain experience

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

    Pros

    Good company with plenty of opportunities and good benefits.

    Cons

    Although they are working on it, the yearly performance review system just plain sucks. They used a bell curve ranking system reminiscent of high school thus in order for someone to exceed, someone must fail even if that person was an otherwise good and skilled worker. The review system also tends to favor the butt kissers and brown nosers more then the people with actual technical talent and skill that are making the products successful. Do a good job, meet all your deadlines, and solve all the problems and you'll be rewarded as "average". But if you cc upper management in every e-mail, bragging about your minor accomplishments, you get rewarded, even if you failed to meet many deadlines and couldn't finish half your tasks.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's fairly obvious that the old stack ranking mentality is still stuck in the heads of many in upper management so it may be a couple years before the new review system can be considered fair to everyone.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Challenging, broad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Software Design Engineer  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Principal Software Design Engineer in Redmond, WA (US)

    Pros

    There are two things about Microsoft that make it top notch for software engineering.

    The first is the focus on the business. This may seem counterintuitive but the business focus is an excellent lens through which to look at software design and execution. I previously worked at a company which was arguably a better engineering company but the lack of business focus led to software projects not having longevity and ultimately to the collapse of the company.

    The second is the people. It's said that if you are a jazz musician and you're the best in your band, you need to change bands. There is very little danger of topping out in Microsoft. There are always excellent skilled engineers to challenge you.

    Cons

    Microsoft leadership stalled for a decade or so where more focus was paid to just business rather than a balance of business and engineering. The top echelons of compensation are epic; competition is fierce and winning is defined by profitability which has led to thinning of the product herd to only the most obviously profitable (or necessary) investments. Satya's leadership has hope of changing this but when you see references to Microsoft's environment being "toxic" this is the root cause with the old stack ranking system in a supporting role.

    Work life balance is clearly your problem. If you are ambitious and/or energetic there is always benefit to trading the work/life balance for work but it can eat you alive. Do not look for your organization to guard your own work/life balance, it's up to you (as it should be but be cautioned).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the focus on profit even if it has negative ramifications on stock price. Use a lower stock price to reacquire ownership of the company in a stock buy back. The competition is growth and share focused, not profit focused.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    It just keeps getting better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Staffing Consultant  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Staffing Consultant in Redmond, WA (US)

    Pros

    I still have moments where I can't believe I get to work for such an amazing company. The people are brilliant. Collaboration and teamwork are encouraged and rewarded. The products we are shipping are beautiful. I will miss SteveB's enthusiasm and energy, but Satya is amazing and inspirational. I really love it here. I have a great work life balance as well. I am able to be home to see my kids after school and weekends are for my family. I know what my responsibilities and deliverables are, and it is up to me to perform and produce results. Leadership knows I will get my work done and they don't worry if I need to take my kids to the dentist.

    Cons

    It is true, there are a lot of meetings. As well as meetings to plan meetings.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Great people to work with, but the company is heavy on the bureaucracy which impacts cross group collaboration.

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

    Pros

    Personal growth and exposure to leading edge technology

    Cons

    Bureaucracy and all that comes with it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop with the stack ranking, open up to other groups ideas, and share!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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