Steven Sinofsky's Microsoft TechTalk

Discussion for college grads interested in learning about careers at Microsoft.

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  • Blog Post: Interns -- the intern experience in Office

    We’re actively hiring interns from the college campuses we visit. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to talk about what it is like to be an intern in Office. You can read about the specifics of the intern program on the intern web site: http://www.microsoft.com/college/ip_overview.mspx . You can...
  • Blog Post: Dev (or SDE) at Microsoft

    As we hit the college campuses for the second half of recruiting, it seemed like a good idea to pick up where we left off. Development at Microsoft Let's talk about development at Microsoft and what it is like to be a Software Design Engineer (or SDE as we call them, or just "dev"). My last post...
  • Blog Post: PM at Microsoft

    While at Stanford this week I was asked by a number of PM (program manager) candidates to talk about the PM role at Microsoft. The PM role is unique to Microsoft and was actually created in response to developing software that is more usable and at the same time pushes the state of the art of technology...
  • Blog Post: Seattle: The Emerald City (Really!)

    It is not the heat, it is the humidity. -- David Letterman (ok not really, but it was a catch phrase for a while) No matter where you live, people can find a reason to complain about the weather (or is it weather forecasting?). Seattle is no different and while we call it the "Emerald City" most probably...
  • Blog Post: The 100 hour work week: believe it or not?

    So how much and how hard do you have to work at Microsoft to be successful? I was asked this question by a graduating student who has an offer from Microsoft to be a software design engineer. Actually the question was "do I have to work 100 hours a week to be successful?" I went back and forth in my...
  • Blog Post: Release timing and Office products -- how fast is fast enough?

    I've been asked quite a bit by people interviewing at Microsoft about "software release". This post will talk about our strategy around product releases for Office products, since we have been pretty consistent over the years and this represents a balance between some competing interests. The topic...
  • Blog Post: Where should I work? Global development of Microsoft Office.

    "Are you able to shed any light on how much software development takes places outside of the US? Or indeed, what happens at which Microsoft sites around the world? Why would a new grad come to Seattle to work for Microsoft when he can work for Google in Mountain View, New York City or Zurich?" I would...
  • Blog Post: Bureaucracy. Threat or menace? Either, both, or neither? Or it depends!

    bu·reauc·ra·cy a. Management or administration marked by hierarchical authority among numerous offices and by fixed procedures b. The administrative structure of a large or complex organization I was able to spend the day today with students at Harvard Business School. I was fortunate enough...
  • Blog Post: MBA Opportunities at Microsoft

    Before I get started I should point out that I am not an MBA and I don’t play one on TV. The closest I ever came to a business class was when I took Accounting I at the nearby community college in 1990 or so. I’m an engineer through and through. That all changed due to a chance encounter in 1998 when...
  • Blog Post: Ineffective Middle-Management Suckups

    Anonymous said: Managers love to give more reasons why lots of managers are a good thing. Why lots of managerial levels are a good thing. Your explanation of the file/rank structure and their leads is great. And its right on target. A lead with 5/6 reports (ideally 8 or so) is great - one with...
  • Blog Post: What do managers do and how big should my team be?

    The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Butcher, in Shakespeare's King Henry VI The first thing we do, let's fire all the managers. Just about every employee at one time or another since the 1911 release of Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management Today I thought I would...
  • Blog Post: Understanding orgs and helping them work better

    This is the time of year at Microsoft when individuals and managers decide what HR courses and training to take. I just finished going through the process of nominating members of the team for courses that have enrollment limits—ug! There are a lot of options, but for many this all feels a bit like a...
  • Blog Post: The path to GM -- some thoughts on becoming a general manager

    The recruiting season is getting underway and shortly we’ll be “at a college near you” looking to connect. I will be at Harvard Business School the first week of October, where I’ll visit some classes and also participate in a career fair. I hope to see some readers there! I met this week with one...
  • Blog Post: Registration time -- what courses should I take?

    As one of the interns was heading off for his final year, we talked about what courses he is taking. There’s a general question of “what computer science courses best prepare you to be a professional programmer [at a place like Microsoft]”. I admit to having strong views on this topic because I think...
  • Blog Post: Learning as an engineer -- rising from the ashes of failed projects

    Recently a senior program manager asked me for some reading suggestions and I wanted to share a book that had a big impact on how I view projects that I have worked on. The book is called " To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design " by Henry Petroski (I have no connection to the...
  • Blog Post: Do you have to be a computer science major to work on Microsoft products? NO you don't.

    A potential intern sent me the following question: While my major is computer related, I'm afraid it's not technical enough to assure that I become a competitive candidate. So I'm wondering what you would say are the core technologies candidates should have to be competitive and any other tips...
  • Blog Post: On juggling, unicycles, and jousting

    BusinessWeek has an article this week about the hiring binge at some companies in the bay area are doing (ok, Yahoo! and Google). The article raises a number of the standard “new high-tech hiring” clichés that are worth talking about because they seem to repeat themselves. Let’s go back to 1989 –...
  • Blog Post: Thoughts on the first few years of a new hire at Microsoft

    I wanted to write some thoughts on career progression for new hires at Microsoft. Up front I should probably say that I am not trying to sell folks on Microsoft, but trying to tell it like it is. Folks who know me often accuse me of being too honest. What I would say to people looking to enter the job...
  • Blog Post: Changing career paths at Microsoft -- short answer

    Today I was talking with an intern who was having a good, but not great, summer working on one of our teams. He felt that perhaps he would be more successful if he was involved with testing more than development. His question was "is this really possible"? It is good question. Since Microsoft is growing...
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