Interviewing at Microsoft never made a whole lot of sense for me. I’ll explain why:
- As a lifetime Apple fan, Microsoft was that outdated “business software” company.
- As an East Coast recent grad, Seattle was the weird place those terrible Twilight movies took place.
- And, as part of the generation that has been told it can and should “change the world,” being another cog in the Microsoft machine didn’t seem in line.
Now, months deep on Xbox One, I can say definitively how wrong I was about Microsoft’s culture, Seattle, and the impacts I have been given the freedom to create.
Before my interviews were over, my outdated “business software” perception was replaced by the collegiate and entrepreneurial culture I witnessed firsthand. Here’s what comes to mind: I think about the Xbox team congregating in Studio A for dinner each night, laughing, joking, and unwinding from the flurry of activity leading towards launch date. I think about the cutting-edge technology my team is designing and engineering daily, which to an outside eye seems nothing short of magic. And, I think about my now colleagues/friends, who are fiercely going into the unknown to redefine technology for the next generation.
Likewise, Seattle has proven to be one of the best surprises. Given the array of large tech companies and start-ups, it’s pretty much guaranteed most folks you meet are working on something cool. Pair that with phenomenal food, outdoors, night-life, and sports scenes, and it’s a pretty incredible place to live.
And, for those who want to “change the world,” I can’t imagine another place you could make your impact bigger. From hospitals to cockpits to classrooms to living rooms, Microsoft is an integral facet and is aggressively pursuing innovation in nearly all aspects of our daily life. Whether it is in the incredible product you will see with Xbox One this fall or the dozens of products in the wings to come, Microsoft’s scale, resources, and passion enable each employee to deliver impacts on an unprecedented scale. Needless to say it can be intimidating, but there is nothing more rewarding than knowing millions of people are using something that emerged from a moment when you and few teammates were joking around—with “what if” brainstorming possibilities–over a few drinks at happy hour.
So, although I still have an iPhone, hate Twilight, and love making an impact, I found to my surprise I can have that all while pursuing a meaningful career at Microsoft, loving Seattle, and expanding my imprint on the world daily with the products I help create.
My advice to you? Don’t let whatever your perceptions may be hold you back from a fulfilling career. Learn about who this company really is and come join us in our pursuit to change the world.
In his work, Matthew drives engineering on next-generation computer vision and machine learning technology.
Meet other interns, recent grads, and industry pros who are contributing to Xbox One, Kinect, and natural user interface (NUI) technologies:
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