Ahmet Alp Balkan on the Microsoft Azure team reflected on his experiences at Microsoft. His experiences do not exactly match mine (initially on LINQ to SQL, then Entity Framework and finally xbox.com) but I recognize some of his points.
Here is some further discussion along with some other thoughts that have come up over the years. A lot of these don’t apply just to Microsoft and some are useful for people new to the industry to think about.
People think of Microsoft as a single entity with a sole focus and one opinion.
That’s about the worst mistake you can make.
Microsoft is like hundreds of small companies that often work together but sometimes against each other. They have different processes, dynamics, attitudes and goals not only within the same division but also within the same building or floor.
Thinking your experience with one team is a reflection of the whole company is short sighted. Microsoft employs almost 100,000 people including over 40,000 in the Redmond area alone.
It’s like a small country.
Two years ago today, I started Microsoft Windows Azure as an intern, in the very same team I joined right after college and I am working for last 8 months.
I decided to summarize a few points I learned so far in this job during last 8 months. This may sound like the way things work are crappy, it is not. I learned that one will see this sort of problems in all large scale companies. Most of them are not specific to Microsoft at all. Every company has its own problems. I am not saying that I am unhappy and not complaining. These are purely a few lessons I was not aware of in the college (expectations vs reality sort of article). Read on:
One day when I grow up I want to...
Wait, people I work with read my blog (sometimes)... um... err... um...
Well anyway, these two inside views seem to jive with other accounts I've heard and read. But they also jive with working at almost any monster sized company (or even some non-monster sized companies). A number of the points had me nodding, "Been there, done that and I wasn't even a Blue Badge!"(i.e. a Microsoftie).
One thing to consider is that I know a number of people on the inside and they really love it there. Perfect? No. Work is a four letter word for a reason, but sounds like there are much much worse places to be at ("Been there, done..." err... um... cough... DEL DEL DEL... )