Reflecting on my first month at Microsoft
— Microsoft — 3 min read
It's been a little over a month now that I've been at Microsoft full time and the whirlwind still hasn't stopped! I got incredibly lucky and landed on an awesome team doing really cool work. I got shuffled around a little bit from where I expected to land after my internship but I'm still working on Office and have some really cool projects in the works!
In the last few weeks, I've noticed some key differences from my internship experiences but also some similarities. I've also refelcted a little on how my education prepared me for this job and what I'd do differently if I were still in school.
Intern to FTE
I feel like I cheated the system somewhat coming in to my full time job with "6 months experience" from my internships. No doubt about it, it's a whole lot easier to ramp up a new job when you already have an understanding of how the company works, what some common acronyms are and even a vague understanding of the product area. Onboarding in the time of COVID-19 present plenty of challenges and any advantage I can get is of great use.
One thing that I have noticed has differed from my internship is the general pace of things. Everything is moving faster when not artifically paced by the 12-week timeframe of a Summer internship. Part of this might be because I picked up a few projects that were alredy somewhat moving but I do just generally notice things going faster.
There are no two ways about, onboarding remotely sucks. Maybe this is a side effect about onboarding remotely in a company that wasn't remote from day 1, maybe it's because I crave the in person interaction, but I'm not too sure. That being said I think it's gone about as well as I could expect it to. The thing I find the hardest is getting a read on people's workload and escalating from chatting to a call is a lot more friction than swinging by someone's desk and seeing if they have 5 minutes to chat about something.
I also miss the deep hallway conversations about forward looking designs and concepts. I was having a chat with a colleague at the end of the day and while we were both making great points via a Teams chat, I couldn't help but feel had we been in the Office and started talking about this we would have sat in an office and whiteboarded about different ideas in a depth we could never replicate remotely (maybe even over a beer 🍻!).
Reflecting on School
Thingking about the courses I took in school, it's become pretty obvious what courses are intemately useful for my day to day job as a PM and which ones didn't matter as much. Critical courses for me were:
- Intro to AI/ML
- Algos and Data Structures
Stats and Prob play a way larger role in my day to day than I would have expected. I am constantly running experiements on users and understanding the significance of the results is critical when making a decision about how to move forward. As for AI/ML and Algos and Data Structures, I'm not exactly implementing these things myself often (if ever...) but understanding all the concepts at a high level really helps to propose ideas that are firsly possible but secondly also (also least somewhat) innovative. Databases is an every day thing. I'm constantly writing quick queries to analyze incoming data and extract relevent measuments.
Though more important than any one of these courses was the combined experience of my extra curriculars and side projects. The work I did at HackMcGill, CSUS and the SSMU Board taught me infinetly more about working in the real world, producing a product and working in a team of highly skilled collaborators.
We'll see how all these thoughts eveolve over time, but for now that's where I stand. I'm still enjoying it excited to be building what's next in productivity for Office.