I have received an offer from Microsoft office (MS Excel), any thoughts? How is the culture, how is work?
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- A lot is changing to attempt to modernize Office, but it’s a process. Different spots are further in the past.
Work life balance is good. People are nice.
Things may seem slow. Partly because of the added complexity across so many platforms and versions. Partly because of the massive legacy to bring forward.
At the same time, Excel has some interesting things.
- I just left the team (having worked there for 4 years) a few months ago for amazon so I think I’m pretty qualified to answer this
-work life balance is amazing, some days I went in at 10 and left at 2pm
-benefits are substantially better (medical, 401k, etc)
-cheap and decent food in the cafeterias
-a good place to learn traditional swe best practices: unit testing, code review, naming conventions
- super old code base, a large portion of which no one understands, gotos, jumps, etc are all common place
- tech stack is ancient: everything is c/c++ forget about getting to learn any new technologies, scalability, etc. there’s no git
-builds take a long time, particularly if you have to do a sync beforehand expect 1.5 hours for 64 bit debug, substantially longer if you need other flavors
-tests take a long time to run
-waterfall with daily standup to make it seem like it’s “agile”
-can take a very long time to get code checked in, especially if it’s an area where multiple principles have differing opinions on
-very political, don’t expect a promo or decent bonus if you are not best buds with your boss. That alone is more important than any deliverables
-really shitty documentation, the team uses wikis which no one updates because it’s a pain in the ass to, most things are tribal knowledge
Ultimately it’s up to you, if you love working on legacy code and value work life balance above all else I’d say go for it. But the skills you develop outside the few pros I mentioned above aren’t really transferable- a lesson I learned when faced with system design questions when I decided it was time to leave. But hey at least the awesome work life balance means you have all the time in the world for leetcode :P
Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions
- It can take 2 weeks to get an official build and deploy to test environment
- Microsoft statelessI was in Office for a while. For Excel you will be working with ancient C code with Hungarian names, and also a lot of C++. Check-in is slow and quite painful if you’re trying to move fast, because they do build for multiple platforms (Windows, Android, macOS and iOS) and if your change breaks the build it gets backed out.
Culture wise it’s okay, but of course depends on the team.
Career advancement depends on how you play politics. Doesn’t really matter if you’re a superstar or not. If you pisses off the wrong person, then you’re fucked.
- I heard MS office is the oldest, slowest, most conservative organization in all of Microsoft. Until recently, they followed classic waterfall development.