My First Year at Microsoft

Today (more or less) I celebrate my first years as a Microsoft FTE (Full-Time Employee). And I say celebrate because I am very happy of my decision to work here. And as a year has passed, this is a great moment to look back.

It all started with a call from a good friend (and peer in a previous project) that worked at MS, telling me send my CV as his team was searching for an PM intern. As I was doing a full time PhD, but started being tired of it, this was a good opportunity to try something else without having to throw the PhD out the window. Long story short, I started working as an intern around mid-2013 and after weighting my possibilities, I decided to go all in and make MS my main occupation and the PhD my side-project (which I’m still working on)

Looking back, it has been a very interesting year here at MS with many changes. With the appointment of Satya as our CEO, a wind of change started to blow all around. I had very interesting discussions with many employees about how the company is changing and how it must change to embrace new technologies. Microsoft became more and more active in open-source projects even open sourcing the next-gen compiler; embraced Git as a first class citizen in its development platforms; kept its word on being a “mobile first” company by delivering Office apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android; moved into more rapid engineering practices and adopted “combined engineering”; and on a personal level, my team delivered a private preview of our service (Azure AD Application Proxy), a public preview of it and took it to GA level, and I gave a presentation at TechEd EU 2014. Ah, and MS bought Mojang (as my kids love Minecraft, they are happy that I now work in the company that owns the game, for whatever that’s worth :-)).

But as always, there are things that still need improvement (how politically correct of me, ah?). First, if we liken companies with boats, then MS is a Supercarrier. And it takes time and effort to change the direction where this ship is going, especially as this ship is still moving forward very fast, and the change is not 1-2 degrees but something like 60 degrees. And in the era where patience is not widespread, this makes some people (like me) hesitate and think that maybe the change is not really happening. While collaboration has improved impressively and development velocity is also much better, there is still much room for improvement. We’ll just have to wait and see. On the technical side, Azure had a number of major glitches this year (1, 2), which was expected as usage increases and new features are added, but is still sad.

Unrelated of the technical elements of my job, Microsoft is a great employer and community member. In 1013, it donated $113M to charity with a 1:1 employee donation matching (I donate $1 and MS also donates $1, also before tax, so my actual donation is even less!). And has donated more than $1B since 1983. That is really impressive. And while I have been experiencing some personal problems this year, I have received the full support of my managers and peers in every step of the way, which is something that can’t be taken for granted. And for this I am very grateful.

It has been a great year. Let’s make the new one even better.

P.S. we (the Microsoft Israel Development Center) are hiring. Interested? Contact me :-).

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