Microsoft ABD’de hem staj hem de full-time başvuru, mülakat süreci ve iş fırsatları üzerine orada tanıştığım bir full-time çalışan arkadaşım olan Yenel ile Türkçe bir blog hazırladık. Umarım staja ve full-time’a başvurmak isteyenler için faydalı olur: This is my blog post after How is it like to work at Windows Azure?  During my internship at Microsoft, I learned, enjoyed, experienced and met new people a lot. For tl;dr guys; I don’t want to advertise Microsoft but I will be talking about what’s good and bad about working for Microsoft.

Is Microsoft evil?

I don’t know. I was such a open source and free software fanboy but I’m only a lover now. If you have a similar mind, probably your perception is telling you Microsoft is a bad and such an old-fashioned copycat company; Google and Apple is so cool. Yes they’re cool, I agree, I’m an Android and MacBook user. I develop free software. However, the point is, this is just a “company”.

I was also missing this point when I came here. Companies hire people and try to make money, that simple! 90% of the time, rest of the discussions are because of fanaticism.

If you’re looking for a real answer, let me tell you a recent news. You remember that Linux 3.0 kernel has just released and top contributor of 3.0 is a Microsoft employee and Microsoft is ranked 5th active Linux kernel developer company, and there are lots of similar stories you can hear about Microsoft’s open source contribution.

How big is Microsoft?

  • In terms of employees (90,000) ≈ Apple Inc + 2 * Google

  • In terms of total assets ($108B) ≈ Apple Inc + Google

  • In terms of annual profit ($23B) ≈ Apple Inc + Google

  • Number of summer interns (>1000) = 1/2 all of the Facebook (Source: Wikipedia) Main product teams are in Redmond & Bellevue, Washington and there are many development center, Microsoft Research campuses, sales offices worldwide. Even Microsoft Research receives a grant of multi-billion dollars annually from Microsoft. This is really a lot and intimidating.  :-O

How are the salaries and benefits for interns?

Microsoft pays a monthly wage which is almost the same as Google and Facebook. (If you really wonder how much, you can use Bing) Assuming life is cheaper and there is no state tax in Washington, that’s a lot of money for an intern. However this is not just enough to seduce a college student to accept working for the company. :P

[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”233” caption=”All interns got an XBOX360+Kinect!”][/caption]

Here are a few benefits from an international intern’s point of view:

  • Relocation package: Microsoft pays your all plane tickets, taxi fares and $600 for shipping your stuff and even food at airports. They have a good legal team which arranges your visa very quickly.

  • Rental house: Microsoft pays some portion of your house rental and arranges a house for you. If you can find one yourself, you can get that money back.

  • Bike or car plan: I have chosen bike plan since I have no license, MS gives you $350 to buy a bike and pays for your 24 taxi fares throughout the summer.

  • Gym membership: Pro club is almost in the Microsoft campus and one of the best gyms in the US west coast. I used this gym a lot for free.

  • Conferences: Many important guys give speech only for interns. I listened to important stuff from those guys: Steve Ballmer, Steven Sinofsky, Andrew Lees, Erik Jorgensen and maybe others that I don’t remember.

  • Top Secret Project Sneak Peeks: I have seen Windows 8. :) I also know lots of top secret projects in the company. That feels good, because what you are seeing is called cutting-edge technology.

  • Gifts: I got a lot of gifts. Sometimes full-time employees feel jealous. That explains it pretty much. All interns got an XBOX 360 and Kinect bundle this year and my division has also presented bunch of gifts. It was fun! :)

  • Transportation: You use buses and trains in the area for free. In the campus there are also MS shuttles that you can call to your building and go to another MS building (because campus is really big, probably 3 times my university campus) in a few minutes.

  • Company store: MS company store has software, games, mice, keyboards, t-shirts and lots of cool stuff very cheap. I bought bunch of XBOX games.

  • Blue badge: Well, this card does not mean a lot, but you can unlock doors of all Microsoft offices worldwide. Especially useful for unlocking my building entrance. :P

What does Microsoft do?

Pretty much everything that all its competitors do, but not limited to. They make the most selling operating system, the most used web browser, a webmail,  a search engine, a phone, a music player & store, a cloud platform, a video game console, an office platform, a collaboration server, a programming language, a web framework, an IDE, a commercial database, an IM client, lots of video games, CRM-ERP software, and most importantly research. Should I tell more? I think there should be around hundred product teams in the company. It really is a huge company and it does pretty much everything related that can bring money.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”576” caption=”Interns started on Jun 6”][/caption]

What is expected from interns?

Interns are usually assigned to real-world projects and involve in actual development or testing life cycles in the projects. That’s a huge experience because real-world development and software life cycles are not usually taught at school and you have the opportunity to see there’s really no a silver bullet. I’ve seen many interns that are assigned to difficult projects and had great workloads. However the point of the internship is they are not expecting you to complete everything, instead, they want to see how you can approach problems and whether you can come up with good solutions or not. Because big companies usually don’t have time-critical development cycles and deadlines are mostly flexible or really longer than expected development times.

After-internship opportunities

Companies like Google, Microsoft hire a lot. They always have open positions somewhere in the company. Therefore after doing an internship, it is likely to get an offer unless you really screwed it up. Because they see what you can do in 3 months and you become in front of the many candidates. Again, companies like Google and Microsoft believe in “college hiring” a lot and accept hundreds of interns every year. That’s why those companies organically grow from entrance level. :)

How is it to be like an international intern?

Microsoft Human Resources has a special program for international (studying outside North America) interns. They regularly organize events that introduces Seattle area and people from different countries meet each other and establish a network. Those events were really fun, especially when you really don’t enjoy with guys from USA (no offense, there’s that cultural difference thing at first days). :P

How to apply for internship?

For tl;dr guys

It is not bad as you think. Microsoft is a good company and if you couldn’t find a better one, it can be a great experience for a college student.