What's it like to be a software engineer at Microsoft?

Following are experience pointers:

  • For starters, Microsoft is a massive corporation, large enough that large teams within the firm have their own culture. It is difficult to make universal statements regarding Microsoft’s software engineering efforts.

  • Many people think of Microsoft as a faceless bureaucracy where drones of developers toil away in cubicles till the wee hours of the morning.

  • The opposite could not be further from the truth. Microsoft used to be a corporation full of youthful individuals who worked till all-night hours.

  • However, they have done an excellent job keeping their employees (until recently), and many are still working for the company. As a result, it no longer feels like a startup and more like an established business.

  • Working on code that is used by millions of people is extremely rewarding.

  • People will tell you what the UI should look like, people will hammer your code and feature and urge you to make changes, but you are ultimately the one in the room with the most power—because you are building the pieces that will end up in customers’ hands.

  • Many a (passive-aggressive) developer has used the “pocket veto” to block a change or develop a feature on the weekend despite being told there was not enough time. These rogue coding approaches are illegal, but they show how much power a single developer may wield.