Becoming a Software Engineer at Microsoft [Q and A]

Becoming a Software Engineer at Microsoft Q and A

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 the most common questions I’m receiving throughout my career from Developers interested in working at Microsoft, together with my answers.
*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 / / 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.

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?

Yes 🙂

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!

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:

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.

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 this post, I’ll be happy to recommend you***

Thanks for reading & have a nice day,


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8 thoughts on “Becoming a Software Engineer at Microsoft [Q and A]

  1. 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 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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