What it does: Iconic tech company
Staff stats: Globally, around 114,000
The good bits: Working for an organisation that’s changed the world
The not so good bits: Large company, long hours, lots of pressure
The Microsoft story
Bill Gates and his mate Paul Allen were two hyper-intelligent nerds who got into computer programming when it was first starting to take off in the early 1970s. They developed a programming language for the world’s first microcomputer on spec then sold it to the microcomputer’s manufacturer. Shortly after that, in 1975, Gates dropped out of Harvard and formed a company called Microsoft with Allen. At the time, the focus was on hardware but Gates and Allen realised computing devices would need sophisticated software. In 1980, IBM asked Microsoft to come up with an operating system for a personal computer it was about to release. Gates kept the copyright in the belief that lots of other computer companies would want the same operating system. It turned out that they did.
In 1985, Microsoft released the first version of Windows. In the following years, it released the Office suite, including such world-conquering applications as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. By the mid-90s, Gates saw the impact the mass take-up of the Internet would have and adapted Microsoft products to make them web-friendly. In 2001, Microsoft entered the game console market with the Xbox. More recently, the company took on Apple in the smartphone market, releasing the Windows Phone in 2011 and buying Nokia in 2013. In 2012, it entered the tablet computer market with the Microsoft Surface. The company also now owns Skype and LinkedIn. Microsoft is the world’s largest software maker and for many years has been included in the list of the world’s top 10 most valuable companies. In 2016, it had revenues of US$85 billion and total assets worth US$193 billion.
Microsoft’s Mission is to “empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”
Microsoft set the standard for the tech industry’s commitment to diversity. It has never discriminated on the basis of race, sexuality or disability. It has seven major employer groups and 40 employee networks aimed at supporting Microsoft staff who are disabled, LGBT, parents or members of a particular ethnic group. Microsoft is also working to improve the gender imbalance found in the tech sector. It has several programs devoted to enabling female school students to attend tech conferences and study computer science at university. They believe technology is a powerful force for improving people’s lives. It could be students discovering the magic of creating something new with code, or health workers who use cloud services to better diagnose illnesses, collaborate with colleagues, and treat patients. From robotics to genomics to artificial intelligence to cloud services, Microsoft hire amazing people to do amazing things.
Microsoft believes it has a “responsibility to address economic, social and environmental issues in our world today”. To this end, it partners with human rights organisation to safeguard the rights of its own and its suppliers’ employees. It has policies in place to guarantee responsible sourcing. It works to ensure its customers can control their data and maintain their privacy. It aims to meet high standards of corporate governance and ethical business conduct. The company has been carbon neutral since 2012 and seeks to minimise the amount of water it uses and waste it generates. It also aims to incorporate sustainability into its product design, minimise packaging and encourage the recycling of Microsoft products at the end of their life cycle.
Technology can only change people’s lives when they have access to the capabilities it provides and the benefits it provides. Right now half the world does not. Nearly 4 billion people lack access to the Internet. It is the purpose for which “Microsoft Philanthropies” was created: to advance a future that is for everyone. In Asia, they work in 18 countries: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Their work spans across three critical areas of work:
1) Leverage the power of technology and cloud computing for solving key economic and development problems
2) Strive to create local economic opportunities by providing young people with the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy.
3) Mobilise resources during times of humanitarian crises resulting from flooding, drought, disease and war.
The recruitment process
Microsoft needs staff to think up, create, market and sell its ever-growing range products and services. Whatever you’ve studied, you can potentially get a position at Microsoft. However, you’ll need to be customer-focused, empathetic, a good listener, comfortable with diversity and someone who finds deep meaning in their work.
Like many companies, Microsoft gives priority to those who’ve completed internships when hiring grads. The company claims to be focused more on finding passionate people who love technology rather than judging internship applicants according to which university they are attending or what their grades are. They hire both Interns and Graduates in our Australia offices. Applications usually open in August.
The Microsoft Australia Internship is a paid one-year program where you will experience an Intern Learning Week joined by all our Interns throughout the Asia Pacific region for 1 week during your internship period. Upon completion, you will get the chance to apply for one of their full-time positions in a competitive graduate program. For both their Internship program and Graduate full-time positions, they are open to students from all degree backgrounds and don’t base their judgements on your grades.
The process to apply for Australian roles is as follows;
a) Complete the online application applicable to you on this website to begin the process.
b) If you are successful after the initial screening process which is based on eligibility and your application form, you will be invited to take an online test.
c) If you pass our online test, you will then be invited to a phone interview or video interview, and if you are successful in this stage we will then invite you to join us at an assessment centre or interview day at one of our local offices near you.
Other opportunities include Software Engineer interns and graduates to build our products in the U.S from Australia every year. Applications for this open in March.
Like most tech giants, Microsoft offers generous salaries and benefits to attract and retain top talent. As well as a competitive salary, you can expect free or heavily subsidised personal insurance and the option to work flexibly. Even while you’re still in the grad program, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel overseas. You may also receive Microsoft stock, though probably not while you are in an entry-level position.
Microsoft Australia advises they spend a considerable amount developing every graduate. Given this outlay, it’s not surprising the company offers those who’ve completed the MACH/grad program a rewarding career path. There are an amazing range of opportunities. You might become an expert in a field or build proficiencies across many areas. You might be an individual contributor or become a manager. There’s so many kinds of jobs in so many different places, you can stay in one building, city, or country, or you can cross borders—in person, or virtually.
The vibe of the place
Intense competition has seen Microsoft transform from a siloed company to an open, collaborative place to work with a flat structure. Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, the corporate culture has emphasised collaboration. Employees are now rated (and rewarded) based on how they’ve helped themselves, their team and other Microsoft staff achieve more. One thing is certain, you’ll never stand still at Microsoft.
From the Employer:
"Achieving that mission begins and ends with people. Our people and the people we provide products and services to, whether they’re organisations or individuals.
We seek deep meaning in our work. We are a customer obsessed, diverse and inclusive family of individuals, united by a single, shared mission.
At Microsoft we hire all sorts of people. Of course we want those who can create ideas and build technology, but equally as important we also embrace those who can sell and market the finished products to individuals and organisations across the world.
We look for people who can listen, understand the needs of others and ensure that they get the very best out of all that we are offering. We also love to have people in the background working out how we are getting on with all of this, thinking about what we could do differently or do better, analysing data and reporting back.
As such we hire across all areas of the business, so whatever you’ve studied it doesn’t matter, there’s a role for everyone.
Put simply, you don’t have to be a computer scientist to work at Microsoft!"