The tech world is experiencing an unprecedented boom right now and like many, you may be wondering the best way to get your slice of the pie by learning how to get a job at Microsoft.
Whether you’re interested in becoming a programmer or have a passing interest in computers, you’ve heard of Microsoft. The company has become an institution all over the world with its Windows software, but it has also branched out into the world of console gaming with the Xbox.
As it is such a big company at the top of the technological heap, it may seem impossible to get noticed by Microsoft when you’re looking for a job. But there are plenty of opportunities at companies like this for professionals at all stages of their careers, from entry to high-level job roles.
Before we dig more into what it’d take to start working at Microsoft, it may be helpful to learn more about the company, its culture, and the people behind the scenes.
Microsoft: Company Background
Lifelong friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded the company that would eventually become Microsoft in 1975. Current CEO Satya Nadella took the reins in 2014.
You probably won’t be seeing much of Nadella if you land a job at the tech giant. Since Gates and Allen started the company, it has ballooned from two employees up to 163,000 as of 2019.
As of July of this year, Microsoft is still by far the most dominant desktop operating system with 77.74 percent of the global market share in that division. Microsoft also offers its Azure cloud computing service, which has become a staple for many companies the world over.
Its success in the field can be partly attributed to savvy executives and entrepreneurial spirit. But more importantly, the company employs an army of software engineers, product managers, designers, coders, and programmers that builds the products, test them, design the rollouts, and more. You could be a part of this army after getting a job at Microsoft.
What’s It Like to Work at Microsoft?
The average workday for a Microsoft employee involves more than just work on the latest version of Windows or the next Xbox. Some coders work on patches and bug fixes for Microsoft’s various software and firmware offerings. Other employees work on engineering hardware or research future products.
Employees tend to have a positive view of Microsoft no matter their place in the company, as Forbes recently ranked the business as the fourth-best employer of 2020.
There are a few qualities of the Microsoft experience that employees talk about more than others. Below are a few of those common threads.
Microsoft has a great work-life balance, according to reviewers on Glassdoor. People report that they’ve had no problem getting a schedule that works well for them and sticking to it.
Of course, with the challenges of COVID-19, Microsoft has also implemented remote work for a large portion of its staff. Though you may still have to move as things change in the future, for now, you have a good chance of working from home.
Many Glassdoor reviewers report that the performance review system at the company can seem unfair at times, and it’s the most common negative job trait among reviewers about their time spent at the company.
The review that users have marked as the most helpful comes from a person that claimed to work at the company for 10 years. In the review, they sing the praises of the company in general but decry the performance review system which gives people ratings that some feel may be unfair.
The reviewer enjoyed their time at the company in general, but keep this review in mind when applying for posts at Microsoft.
Microsoft has a 4.4-star rating on Glassdoor, so it has a well-formed culture that plenty of people love.
A significant chunk of that culture is the intelligent and highly competent coworkers that you’ll find yourself around at the company. The most common positive listed about the company is “smart people,” and if you think that sounds like you, then you should have a long and prosperous career at the company.
You wouldn’t just be showing up and clocking in and out for a paycheck, you’d also continue learning more about your craft during your tenure at the company.
Getting a Job at Microsoft
Of course, before you start thinking about your place in the culture at Microsoft, you need to actually get a job at Microsoft.
There are usually plenty of careers out there for the taking, but as they have such a high reputation and brand recognition, you may find yourself having trouble getting a foot in the door in such a highly competitive application process.
How Hard Is It to Land a Job at Microsoft?
In 2018, Chuck Edward, Microsoft’s Head of Global Talent Acquisition, gave insight into the company’s hiring process in an interview with Fast Company. Edward served in this capacity with the company from 2014 until January of 2020, so the information is still fresh.
Edward says the company gets around two million applicants every year, and they have made a conscious effort to ensure they’re looking at the best candidates across race, gender, and other identity markers.
They’re aided in their recruiting efforts for new employees by a unique AI, which trawls for new talent on career site LinkedIn, a site which Microsoft bought back in 2016.
It can be hard to stand out from millions of applicants, but Microsoft recruiters like Jesse Sparks offer tips to job seekers on Twitter and even take DM’s to answer questions.
Applying for a Job at Microsoft
The first place to start when you’re going to apply for a job is Microsoft’s Careers page. As mentioned above, you may also find yourself speaking with a Microsoft recruiter on LinkedIn without even applying for a position.
Microsoft Application and Interview Process
Chuck Edward explains that the company is looking for honest quick-thinkers that don’t mind learning with an ear to the ground for the latest news and trends.
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Usually, after extending a job offer to a candidate, Microsoft would then fly that candidate out to its Seattle campus and conduct an hours-long interview with several teams that would take up the majority of a workday. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, this experience may have changed recently, so your experience may vary.
Microsoft Career Opportunities: Job Titles and Descriptions
At the time of writing this article, there are over 4,000 job openings at Microsoft across various departments. Below are a few of the jobs that you may want to consider.
- Salary: Around $107,000 a year
- Benefits: Healthcare, Vacation Pay, Maternity/Paternity Leave, Stock Options, and more
- Level: Intermediate
- Required Experience: 3+ years Experience in M365/Azure/ Windows, or other Microsoft products and services, as well as 3+ years Experience support engineer, troubleshooting, and customer support experience
- Required Education: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
This position is based in Reston, Virginia, and it’s a great job for people with a mind for tech in addition to customer service, You would be responsible for helping customers who are having issues with their Microsoft products across a host of different situations.
The qualifications they list for the job opening include knowledge of a diverse array of tech subjects including virtualization, web protocols, and networking concepts, so you definitely need a bit of experience in a tech environment to reach out for this post, along with a willingness to learn.
This opportunity would work great for someone who may have worked in customer support in a non-tech capacity before they got into the world of tech.
- Salary: Around $106,000 a year
- Benefits: Healthcare, Vacation Pay, Maternity/Paternity Leave, Stock Options, and More
- Level: Entry Level
- Required Experience: A year or so programming in Java, C++, or other computing languages
- Required Education: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or another related field.
This software engineer position is specifically offered to people who are on their way to finishing a degree or are fresh out of college.
You’d be helping to solve problems and build technology for customers the world over as part of the Microsoft team.
If you’ve got experience with programming, and are ready to take that next leap into the professional world, you could do a lot worse than having a job with Microsoft as the first one on your resume.
- Salary: Around $126,000
- Benefits: Healthcare, Vacation Pay, Maternity/Paternity Leave, Stock Options, and More
- Level: Entry-Level
- Required Experience: A year or so of an internship or classroom experience working in product development
- Required Education: Candidates should either be within 12 months of obtaining a PhD in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineer, mechanical engineering or related field, or have recently obtained a PhD in those fields in the last 12 months.
This entry-level gig would have students or recent graduates building peripherals for Windows PCs and the Xbox platform.
You should be comfortable working with several different forms of software to design and build hardware. You must keep up with the latest trends in the hardware field to stay current and productive in this job.
Again, this entry-level position would be difficult to top, designing parts and peripherals for one of the biggest tech companies in the world. If all goes well, there’s enormous room to advance.
What Does It Take to Get a Job at Microsoft?
What you need to work in Microsoft is a mastery of your craft and a little bit of luck. There’s a ton of opportunities at this company at any given moment, it’s just a matter of getting your foot in the door.
Follow the recruiters on social media as you get closer to finishing your degree or tech bootcamp, and make the effort to soak up all the knowledge they offer on who Microsoft is looking to hire.
With hard work and a bit of luck, you’ll be working for this tech giant in no time.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.