Tuesday, October 04, 2005

People are asking why Microsoft (Benefits of working inside Microsoft)?!

During the last several days I got these questions several times: Why you're so happy because you're going to Microsoft?! And what's the difference between it and any company here like IBM Egypt, Sakhr or ITWorx?! And why you're still asking for it and you're supposed to have a personal project which if succeeded will bring you much much more money than that you'll get after working inside Microsoft?! To answer all these questions, I must list all benefits in points, but before this list, for me the most important reason that I DO LOVE MICROSOFT AND JUST WISH TO MAKE IT BETTER AND STRONGER, for other reasons which are related to mind rather than emotions, here you're the point, so stay tight because it'll be a bit long

A- Company directly related benefits as employee:

1- Effectiveness: you as employee inside are not treated as a new comer who has no right to talking about higher policies in the company and the software you're working in, on the contrary, since the first day you'll find yourself as important as any one there, people of higher positions there like managers ore listening so well to your comments about everything, as example you may give a comment about some sort of feature in your product in the first day and you may find that the team is working with your advice and it has really changed the feature according to your feedback, really amazing!!!

2- Role: knowing the fact that you're working in things every person in the world is using is sooo amazing, unlike many other companies here like those I mentioned before, Microsoft's product is widely used around the world, not only by normal users, also by IT professional, software developers, and business users, etc, so you'll find yourself sooo excited by working in a product which you may find your own family is using everyday, really amazing!!!!

3- Innovation: you have the chance to completely invent and create new things even they are looking mad, no one will come and tell you that the features in your mind can't be achieved because of the company size is still not that big compared with your ideas, in other words, as much as the size of your ideas and the speed of your expansion, Microsoft will be bigger :)

4- Experience: no need to mention this part, most of us had at least used a single product from Microsoft, but lets talk about software developers whom will be concerned with this point so much more than others, at least any of you (I mean software developers here) had used at least a single application or library or piece of code coming from Microsoft and see the amount of professionalism they are creating the software with, furthermore, I had met myself, many team members of many products, like SQL Server, Windows, Visual C++ compiler, in addition to tons of movies on channel 9 of MSDN, and I can prove it to you, that a single year here in Microsoft may be equal to 10 years or more in any other company in Egypt and even in any place in the world, this is because you won't spend your whole life working in only one part which is too small compared to the whole IT world and after 8 or 10 years, when asked about any thing new, you say I don't know!No, you may work today in SQL Server, several months later, may leave and join Windows Team, many months later, may leave to join VC++ team, Xbox team, and so on, so you're working in a very huge organization which is having one simple rule, as much as you wish to work in any field, you'll find it out there :)Although, Microsoft will give you the chance for Professional Development, in other words, Microsoft will pay you all the tuition fees for any courses, Masters, PhDs, or any advanced program for increasing your skills as long as you're taking such courses in things related to your job at Microsoft (I think more than 95% of IT related fields are related to Microsoft work).So your experience in both Scientific and Technical sides will be so huge compared with others in other companies.

5- Freedom: the most amazing part here in Microsoft is the freedom every employee has, I'll list you some of them, first of all and the most important point, no attendance, in other words there's no place for the dummy rule of coming everyday from X to Y and even more, you're not supposed to come anytime but forced to come over certain interval of time (like Harf and ITWorx), and more than this, you're not forced to stay for X hours, you come and leave whenever you want as long as you're doing your job fine and are meeting your deadlines well, also you're free to Blog within Microsoft, free to work and to have another job even related to IT (as long as it's not affecting your work with Microsoft), and so they are not making things like here in Egypt as you sign tons of papers stating that you're not allowed to work in any thing (related or not related to IT) through your job, also after leaving it, you can't work in many fields (some companies extended it to whole IT fields) after leaving the company with several year, nothing like that, also, no one even your manager will force you to do something you're not convinced with, if they asked you to do something you're not convinced with, you'll sit together and talk, and he may find that you're right and he's wrong, and he will state this fact very bravely (he won't tell himself that I am the manager and he's still a new employee so I have more experience than him and so I must be right and he must be wrong), Microsoft Policy as Steve Palmer said (Microsoft's CEO) is Developers Developers Developers, so the developer is the main building block out there, and he's the most important part, so he must be very satisfied by working inside Microsoft.

6- Trust: There's no over-control rules like many companies here in Egypt, in other words, no rules that preventing you from accessing tons of sites, or sending emails within the company or upload files, or connect to messenger service or get your laptop with you inside the company, nothing like that, even more, you can take the code offline to complete it at home (even not only your code!), so the idea that you'll feel the amount of trust the company is giving you (with code which everybody is believing that it worth more than any other code in this country!!) and this will give you the happiness and making you very faithful to the company, also you could access your work and Microsoft's Intranet from anywhere in the world through your blue card within your PC or laptop ;)

7- Internal Environment and Employees Care: I hadn't seen any company all over the world which is caring about its employees to this extend!!Starting from normal free soda and juices all over the place till the health clubs!!!You as an employee inside Microsoft, has tons of benefits, I'll list the things I remember:

1- Health Club: This is known for everybody from its name.
2- Tons of play yards inside the company.
3- Tons of Xboxes, Arcade Video Game, Pool tables, Baby Foot, massage chairs, and many many things around every office which are increasing the fun factor inside the company.
4- Has a separate office (or at max sharing it with one or two members, but in most cases a separate one), no cubicles any more.
5- Tons of green spaces around you.
6- Vacation days: once starting, you have 21 vacation day which will be increased every interval (2 years as I remember).
7- Paid Holidays: Eight US holidays plus two personal holidays to take at your leisure.
8- Relocation: Nearly everything (nearly here means every thing except some rare things like Piano and such things) even furniture, will be relocated by them through some sort of transportation company, your ticket, a starting amount of money (outside your official salary) and many things related to your relocation to Microsoft.
9- P.R.I.M.E Discounts: discounts on many thing, including automotive, computers, restaurants and many thing.

10- Hour Health Line: Available 24/7, the Health Line provides useful, easy-to-understand health information that can help you make appropriate healthcare decisions.
11- Shipping Events: Huge trips after the shipping of each product, as example VC++ team is planning to go to Hawaii when they Ship Visual Studio CodeName Hawaii, so it's usually things like that :)
12- Tons of free stuff and discount on tons of other stuff.
13- Free drinks (the most fun part :P ), which are including soda, juices, soft drinks, etc.I can't remember more than these, but I am sure there were more items than these.

14- Free buses with Wi-Fi
15- On-site showers and lockers.
16- Flexpass: which you can use to ride all these selections for free: buses, trains, metro, even get a free car with free gas if you're more than 2 using the car!

8- People: people here in Microsoft are sooo great and friendly, I had dealt or talked to more than 20 engineers working inside Microsoft, in addition to many HR employees, all of them are great, dealing with you like a dear friend whom you know well since years, really it's so great to find people like that.

9- Management: there's no need to talk about management power inside Microsoft, it's all about management which makes Microsoft reaches this level of professionalism and experience.

10- Professionalism: Also no mention for how much professional Microsoft is, every thing is well arranged, every thing is amazing inside, side by side with great freedom which makes every thing very very very amazing.

11- Diversity: Iam a strong believer in the value of diversity in increasing both technical and community sides of any person, inside Microsoft you'll be working with people from very different cultures, different countries, different languages, and different ways for solving a specific problem, creating you a huge variety of cultures which will affect directly the way you think and the way you solve any problem.

12- Additional Degrees: What about making masters or PhD?
What if you want to make additional degree in your career?
In Microsoft, they won't only put your studying hours inside your working hours (which means if you're studying 20 hours per week, then now you'll work 20 hours only per week and the other 20 are paid for study), but also they will pay all expenses including books, materials, labs, etc, have you ever seen any thing like that?!!!

13- Finances: Very good and competitive package compared with all big companies in USA (of course we can't even think about comparing Microsoft's salary with salaries of any company inside Egypt), Bonus awards, Merit increases, furthermore, Stock awards, in which employee may be eligible to earn stock awards in the company (actually once you started you've stock awards waiting for you, in addition to awards every given interval), not only these.There're investment programs which will help you to secure your financial future, from there programs:

1- Saving Plus 401(k) plan: 401(k) savings plan lets you defer pre-tax income up to 50 percent of your eligible compensation (up to the IRS maximum). Microsoft matches 50 cents on every dollar you defer pre-tax up to a pre-tax contribution rate of 6 percent, excluding catch-up contributions, for a maximum matching contribution of 3 percent of your eligible compensation. You can also contribute up to 7 percent of your eligible compensation on an after-tax basis.

2- Employee Stock Purchase Plan: during any quarterly purchase period, employees may purchase stock at a 10 percent discount off the market price.

3- Goal Planner Investment Program: this program helps you save money from your net pay ― after taxes ― for anticipated future expenses such as college tuition (although in most cases, it's covered completely by Microsoft without any additional fees on you) or the purchase of a home. The program provides a personal discount brokerage account, direct investment deposits through payroll deduction, and financial planning tools that help you make informed decisions. You may enroll during any month.

I wish I hadn't forgotten any thing in this part.

B- Company in-directly related benefits:

Being at Redmond inside Washington, gives you tons of options you will like very much:

1- Redmond City and Quiet Life: Redmond city is sooo quiet, a lot of green spaces, very well arranged, and overall, it's a very perfect place to live within, but other people may ask, what if I'd like to go shopping in a huge city?
Or even want to make ice skating?
Or to swim or to camp?

This will be a simple question, to go to a huge city, just head west, a few miles (exactly 13 miles) you'll find yourself inside Seattle, were a lot of lights exist, and the true meaning of a city with very high building will be available :)

To make ice skating, head north, you'll find a ton of snow out there :)Wanna to camp? Just you'll find tons of forests around you, because northwest is rich with forests and mountains for camping and hiking and rivers and lakes for fishing, boating, kayaking and windsurfing :)
Also minutes from Microsoft, you'll find many Lakes and also heading west you'll find a lot of places to enjoy swimming :)

2- Being inside US, will give you a lot of options of buying cars or houses or any thing with much easy financial options.

And Finally take a look on some photos of MS (Most of these photos are more than 8 years old), it contains a satellite image for building 35, my work place and the SQL Server building:


Also you can see Steven Sinofsky's article on the same subject on:

Mmm, I don't remember what else, but there're many more options (another personal option at least of loving this company so much even before joining it or even before the wish of joining it), I'll try to update this page as soon as I remember any thing, but till this moment, stay updated with my blog, because I am gonna switch the mode of the blog a bit and I'll jump into some technical posts concerning with Microsoft's new technologies and product like Visual Studio Whidbey, Windows Vista, and my beloved SQL Server Yukon. So stay connected :)

Catch you later.....


K.G.R. said...

What about career in microsoft? I think for most people it's one of the most important aspects when evaluating a company. Specially that there are 63,000 employees working at MS and most of them are talented people. So is there a chance to grow in MS? No one wants to remain a developer for the rest of his life.

Mohamed Meshref said...

In MS the development of your career is up to you, you can be a VP in 1 year if you could.

In other words, we've levels, every level has some roles, if you fulfill them, then you'll be ready to move to the next level, and so on.

There's no minimum time or something like that, if you made these roles in your first day, then you'll be ready to move to the next level

Ahmed S. Mostafa said...

Salam Alikom Mohamed,

It is my first time to comment on any one's blog although I keep reading your posts frequently, I don't why this time I wanted to comment on that blog !

Although I don't see working in Europe or US or Canada is financial worthy, I'm sure that all of us know that these benefits are general benefits of working outside Egypt (in a western mentality specifically). I have seen these benefits in many places other than Microsoft (because I'm a Java guy not .Net :-))

Actually, I was hoping you list us the disadvantages of working in Microsoft, and working outside Egypt, and working outside a Muslim country.

I hope you can send me your personal email for further communications as I would like to discuss your thoughts and blogs if you don't mind.


Senior Web Designer said...

in Our Dreaaaaaaaams!!

Mohamed Meshref said...


Actually I don't see any disadvantage for working in MS, and in general for working abroad it'll be just about missing friends and family and you'll get used to it later on.

@senior web designer:
howa eh belzabt?!

Ahmed Essam Naiem said...

Peace be upon you

how are you Mohamed? I always like to follow up ur news,

you know, for me it's a dream to work at Microsoft, I didn't get any chance to go there, but I hope to get one, first of all company like Microsoft, is really a success story we should at least say that they are doing things right, they are working with human as it should be treated, in Egypt it is really sucks, companies are like big joke, every company in Egypt has a problem, nothing is near to complete, I have now about 2 and half years working in this field I work in 5 companies, 1 of them was Imaginet (known as Pocket PC Arabizer -some kind the official Arabizer (HTC and iMate)-) and there was always problem in handling stuff, I never saw developer that is satisfied about the company he is working for except a very few companies, it was a very good step for you to catch such company, Microsoft is one of the greatest companies in the field no one can deny this, the only disadvantage is being away from your home, for some people it mean nothing to be far from Egypt,

I just liked to comment on your post :)
thanks for reading this :)

Steve said...

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