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What is it like to work at Microsoft?

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James has worked at Microsoft for the past year. Before that, he was an independent consultant as well as having worked as a permanent employee and contractor and numerous companies. What is different about Microsoft? What is it like to see how things work “behind the curtain”? How does it compare to what he anticipated it to be like? Come join this session to find out more working for Microsoft: benefits, compensation, training, career advancement, work-life balance, travel, types of jobs, etc. We will leave plenty of time to ask questions!

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What is it like to work at Microsoft?

  1. 1. What is it like to work for Microsoft? James Serra, Big Data Evangelist Microsoft May 7-9, 2014 | San Jose, CA
  2. 2. About Me  Business Intelligence Consultant, in IT for 28 years  Microsoft, Big Data Evangelist  Owner of Serra Consulting Services, specializing in end-to-end Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse solutions using the Microsoft BI stack  Worked as desktop/web/database developer, DBA, BI and DW architect and developer, MDM architect, PDW developer  Been perm, contractor, consultant, business owner  Presenter at PASS Business Analytics Conference and PASS Summit  MCSE for SQL Server 2012: Data Platform and BI  SME for SQL Server 2012 certs  Contributing writer for SQL Server Pro magazine  Blog at JamesSerra.com  SQL Server MVP  Author of book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”
  3. 3. Agenda  My background, reasons to join  Interview process  Microsoft structure  A day in the life of my job  Internal job opportunities  Salary and benefits  Culture  Qualities needed  Internal resources  In closing
  4. 4. It all started when a friend of mine at Microsoft called and said “We have a job opening at Microsoft I think you would be good for, but it would require a move to NYC. I know it’s unlikely but any chance you would consider?” 17 days later I was a Microsoft employee
  5. 5. My background and reasons to join • My work history and how it helped me get hired • Research the position • Job description • Reasons to join • Job location • Family situation • Job details • Career paths • Tired of project work • It’s Microsoft! • Concerns: income, keeping up technical skills, sales, corporate world
  6. 6. Interview process • Recruiter • Phone interviews • In-person interviews • Offer • Time to start learning: Drinking from the fire hose • Into the fire You will feel this way for the first 6 months…
  7. 7. I hope I don’t end up like this…
  8. 8. But I ended up more like this…
  9. 9. Microsoft structure • Incubation • Districts/Field • Sales and services • Geography • Job descriptions • Partners, MCS • MTC
  10. 10. A day in the life of my job • Small business within Microsoft • Work from home with travel to clients • No time tracking – you are in charge of your own time • Set your own priorities • Time spent each day: • Presentations with customers – 25% • Customer calls – 25% • Internal meetings, internal sales calls, conferences, training, career path – 20% • Travel – 10% • POCs/customer demos – 10% • Learning – 10% to forever
  11. 11. Internal job opportunities • Career guidance/Connect: Manager helps you leave his group • Mentors • Switching jobs • Create your own job • Client-facing vs internal Microsoft IT
  12. 12. Salary and Benefits • PTO, Medical, 401k • Stay fit • Laptop and toys • Tuition assistance • AmEx card • Quotas • Yearly review/bonus • Pulse survey • Charity – Microsoft employees raised $142 million in 2016 in support of 19k nonprofits and schools. Since 1983 provided $8.5 billion in cash, services and software to nonprofits around the world
  13. 13. Culture (from a 17-year Microsoft veteran) Good • Entrepreneurial spirit • Generally hard working, generally try to do the right thing, not perfect • Truly believe we can use technology to improve people’s lives and work • Very self critical / always looking to improve / MS Poll – we take it seriously • N-1 model… if the job needs 5 people, we’ll hire 4 and let them figure it out • Frugal (Weenies, not Shrimp – see attached..) • Very serious about diversity, both in physical characteristics as well as thought • Dogfooding! Always latest tech, everyone’s an admin on their box, can rebuild at will, etc Bad • Meetings to prepare for meetings about meetings • Corporate politics, just like any other large companies • Corporate Buzzword bingo! (“all in”, “all up”, “lean in”, “pivot”, “net net”… ugh!) • Cannibalizing • Left hand does not know what the right hand is doing • Dogfooding! (can be a little unstable) Ugly • Quarterly/Fiscal results focus can make us do stupid things (common in public companies) • Dogfooding! (damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead with the latest win 10 build!)
  14. 14. Qualities needed • Solid background • Ability to learn quick • Customer-facing skills • Love to learn • Disciplined, trustworthy, self-motivator, go-getter, work on own, flexible • Not easily overwhelmed • Not a clock puncher • Drink the Kool-Aid • Be comfortable being uncomfortable • Don’t need structure or micro-managing • Avoid being too consumed Don’t sit still…
  15. 15. Internal Resources • Lots of sharp people • Finding the people • Internal videos (academy), white papers, documents, competitor info • TechReady, S4 • Microsoft Elite - Dogfood • Field alerts, NDA web conferences • Ask!
  16. 16. Testimonial When I joined Microsoft almost nine years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the lessons I’d learn. When I left silicon valley, my colleagues at the time were dubious. Microsoft seemed to them an incomprehensible place--a relic of the PC world. They would ask, what do they have besides Windows and Office? Looking back, I would answer the curious: Where else can you see some of the best technology and business minds, working side by side? Startups may sell to the first 100 customers in a limited sphere, but Microsoft gives you the global picture. You have a chance to touch the entire world. Where else can you work on products used in the far reaches of the planet, go to an international subsidiary and work in a different country, then come back and work with the finest database minds on the planet? When my kids would tell their friends, “My dad works at Microsoft,” it meant something even to their limited experience. What makes Microsoft special? It has the brightest business minds in the world: Where else can you grow a multi-billion dollar business double digits year over year. It has the brightest engineers in the world: Where else can you run software used by every business in the world. There are lessons here you can only learn at a place like Microsoft, and could never imagine at a startup. How many multi-national software companies are there with the number of real thriving businesses found here? Not many. Now, it feels like every week I hear from someone new, “I like what I see Microsoft doing.. it’s amazing what’s happened in the last year.” 16
  17. 17. In closing • Concerns?: income, keeping up technical skills, sales, corporate world • Be aware of shiny objects! • We are all selling • Promote yourself • Your success depends on how hard you want to work • Make tons of contacts • Tons of career opportunities Bottom line…best company I have ever worked for!
  18. 18. Resources • Why I just became a Microsoft employee http://bit.ly/1IG8unT
  19. 19. Q & A ? James Serra, Big Data Evangelist Email me at: JamesSerra3@gmail.com Follow me at: @JamesSerra Link to me at: www.linkedin.com/in/JamesSerra Visit my blog at: JamesSerra.com (where this slide deck will be posted)

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