There is a lot of advice online for people interested in joining Microsoft as a Software Engineers.
In this post, I decided to share with you my first-hand experience and answer the most common questions I’m receiving throughout my career from Developers interested in working at Microsoft.
I’m sure that my article will help you clarify some of your doubts as well as get a better understanding of how to get a Software Engineering role at Microsoft.
[Read about my journey into software engineering]
*please note that the below answers are based on my work experience and refers to Engineering teams in Europe
1. I’ve never worked with Microsoft Teams / Dynamics / Bing.com / Office365, etc. products / Microsoft technologies. Can I apply for the Software Engineer role?
Yes! What we’re always looking for are strong programming skills and a passion for technology. You don’t have to know C# / .NET to become a Software Engineer at Microsoft. Our Engineers work with various programming languages & tech stack.
I’m part of the Microsoft Teams team and I code in TypeScript.
Want to learn more what we’re doing in Prague? Then have a look at the below LinkedIn post!
2. Do I need a certificate in advanced English to work as Software Engineer at Microsoft?
No, you just need to pass the recruitment process in English and be able to work in this language 🙂
3. Can I change teams/locations?
Yes, you can grow your career within MS across different product groups as well as different disciplines if you choose to!
I was a Talent Sourcer based in Warsaw and working as part of the EMEA Engineering Recruitment team and now I’m a Software Engineer (I live in Prague).
One of my colleagues moved from recruitment to sales team, another one made a switch from software engineering to a PM role.
4. Are working hours at Microsoft flexible or do I have to work 9-5?
Working hours at Microsoft are flexible and it’s up to you how you plan your working day/week.
5. Do you offer visa sponsorship?
Yes, if you require a visa we will help you with the application process.
6. Do you help with relocation?
Below is how Microsoft Prague Engineering Hub looks like!
7. I don’t know the local language. Is it a problem?
No, English is the main language used at Microsoft and teams are international and multicultural.
I’m based in Prague and as part of the benefits, I’m having Czech lessons once/week (this is totally up to you if you want to learn the local language).
8. What if I apply and then fail the interviews? Can I take part in the recruitment process one more time?
Don’t be afraid to apply! First, you’ll have a call with someone from the recruitment team who will tell you more about the role, the team as well as will help you prepare for the next steps.
If you won’t pass the interviews, you can always re-apply in the future (my recommendation: stay in touch with your Recruiter / Talent Sourcer and contact them once you’re ready to try one more time). Some of my candidates made in on the 2nd or even 5th try!
Still not convinced? Below is (one of many) messages I’ve been receiving from my candidates 🙂
9. Do you hire only Developers with a CS degree? I don’t have one but I already have several years of professional working experience.
This might depend on the team and requirements, but yes, Microsoft is hiring Software Engineers without a CS degree.
I don’t have such degree and I’ve met many candidates who didn’t have it as well when going through a recruitment process.
10. I work only on Mac, so I guess I won’t be a good fit for a Microsoft.
It’s up to you what you’re coding on and yes, you can work on a Mac 😉
11. I’m a C++ / Linux Engineer, do you think there’s a role for me at Microsoft?
Definitely! You can check all openings on our career website.
12. Do you offer internships?
Yes! We have a special section on the career website dedicated to Students and graduates, you’ll find all details here.
13. How do I prepare for a remote interview at Microsoft?
More details will be shared with you by someone from the recruitment team, but you can check some of the general information before you decide to apply and take part in the recruitment process:
- Interview guidance,
- Virtual interviewing,
- my article on “How to prepare for technical (live coding) interviews?”
14. What can I expect during the interview process for a Software Engineer role at Microsoft?
Interviews at Microsoft for software engineering roles checks both technical as well as soft/professional skills.
Depending on your level of seniority you can expect to receive questions related to e.g., Design, Coding, Testing, Problem solving, Algorithms & Data structures.
Always make sure to ask your Recruiter / Talent Sourcer what you should prepare and focus on. Here you can read more about Technical interviewing at Microsoft.
Not sure what to ask your interviewers? I’ve prepared 15 questions that you can ask in your job interviews.
15. I’m a Senior Software Engineer and I’m not interested in becoming a Manager. Do you offer a career path for ICs?
Yes, you can grow your career as an IC from a Junior Software Engineer up to a Distinguished Engineer or even a Technical Fellow.
***Interested in joining Microsoft? Make sure to check below post, I’ll be happy to recommend you***
Thanks for reading & have a nice day,
13 thoughts on “Becoming a Software Engineer at Microsoft [Q and A]”
Thanks Ela for sharing, it does help to demystify the myths and culture at Ms.
Thanks for reading.
Which answer(s) was/were helpful?
Thank you for sharing, Ela!
Thank you for reading.
Many thanks, Ela – this was quite a reassuring read! I am learning to code in Python nowadays amd a, planning to change my career – I absolutely love to code. Reading this boosted my motivation even more 🙂
Thanks, Aga! I’m super happy to read you find it useful and got extra motivation!
Many thanks Ela for sharing.
glad to hear you find this useful, thanks! 🙂
Thank you very much Ela, I’m very good in ASP.NET and make many projects and have 9 years experience but unfortunately bad in algorithms, and every time I apply for a job at Microsoft they want me to solve algorithmic problems:( even if the job description not contains anything about algorithms, I started thinking that all Software Engineers use algorithms at their daily work.
Hi Salar, I think there are a lot of factors and probably the best answer would be ‘it depends’: on the team, their current requirements, the product they’re working on & more:)
I’m a software engineer based in Nigeria and I hope to one day work at Microsoft, but I’ve been struggling on how to even go about applying.
This is an awesome article. Answered a lot of my questions, Thanks so much.
I wanted to ask, how can I get in touch with a Microsoft recruiter? I don’t know how to go about finding or contacting one.
Hi, glad to hear you find this useful! When it comes to getting in touch with a Microsoft Recruiter – I’ve shared some tips in this article: https://elaintech.com/2021/04/19/how-to-look-for-a-job/
Good luck! 🙂