Coding can’t be your only asset

Communication skills will open more doors


Xbox intern Nic recently shared with us what it’s really like to be part of the launch of Xbox One. In addition to telling us about the tech he’s working on, Nic spoke openly about what it takes to succeed at Microsoft. (Hint: It’s not just about coding.) Some of his input about the experience might surprise you.

“I wanted to take away from the launch experience how people are able to rise to the challenge. When I’m back on campus, I’ll look back, ironically, on some of the more stressful moments and how we as a team figured out how to work through it. When things go well, sure it’s a nice time, but that’s not what I needed to learn. I want to take away how we move on when things break, a feature has to be cut, and when there’s change at the last minute. For me as a student, I want to see how people lead, how they respond to conflict and crisis.

I think understanding people is an underrated skill in the 21st century.  If you’re good at writing code, that’s awesome. But if you are bringing that as your only tool, it’s limiting. If you can write code and negotiate and bridge ideas together, you’re even more valuable as you go into the workplace.

On my resume I don’t list only my CS classes. There are other classes besides computer science you need to be an effective leader: public speaking, technical writing, and leadership all come to mind. If you took C++ or Intro to Java—and I hope you’ve taken those classes if that’s want you want to do—that’s great, but there are other skills I think are forgotten about.

A positive internship experience happens not only because of the product you’re working on. It’s the team you’re working with. When I tell people I work on Xbox, people say, it must be fun to play games and be there every day. When I was an intern last summer I worked on Visual Studio, and I didn’t get the same response, ever! Even if your team doesn’t make the shiniest new toy on the block, if you have a great, compatible team, you can have a really good experience. This summer, my housemates worked on Office. They loved it because of the people they got to work with.

On November 22, I hope I will be celebrating with my team, somewhere I can see the fruits of our passion and labor.”


On JobsBlog:                                      

Read more about what Nic’s been working on.

This nifty infographic sketches out how to get the most of a summer internship.

Our interns rocked with Macklemore, and got amazing work experience. You in?


On Microsoft Careers:

Find your fit as a summer intern. Apply now

  • Share on:
  • LinkedIn
This entry was posted in Geek Grads, Insider Tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Join our Talent Network

Sign up and receive customized job alerts. Learn More


  • Photos image
  • Photos image
  • Photos image
  • Photos image