After three years, the time has come for me to part ways with Microsoft.
In January 2020, I was over the moon to get hired as a full-time employee at the Microsoft, a company of talented people that’s learned from its failures, reinvented itself, and become a beacon of long-term success as a technology business. I joined a UI engineering team within Marketing to work on an existing platform-agnostic component library — a la Bootstrap — for the homepage and product shopping sites.
This was a shift from the React app work I was doing at SAP Concur, but I learned a ton about browser and element APIs, system-wide CSS, package versioning, documentation, and more, all with a huge focus on accessibility (which Microsoft takes very seriously). I’m thankful for this experience of maintaining a library with multiple consumers across the company.
Eventually, I started noticing some limitations of our project’s impact and what it would mean for my career. It was difficult to envision a future of significant technical growth or professional advancement, due to the project’s odd staffing structure and our team’s unique position in an organization lacking other engineering teams with a similar discipline.
To test the waters, I attempted three times to interview with other Microsoft engineering teams but didn’t receive any offers. The ability to get interviewed was much easier as an internal candidate, but the process itself was as challenging as expected — primarily data structure and algorithm questions — and my current work didn’t prepare me well enough to succeed without significant after-hours study.
A new manager soon brought excitement about modernizing our technical offerings — especially with IE11 support finally ending. A couple of coworkers and I invested significant time researching web component technologies and laid the foundation for the future of our framework with tools for development, publishing, testing, and documentation. I got to deep-dive into this exciting area of web development for low-level design system primitives. Although I won’t be around to publicly ship any custom elements, it was one of the highlights of my time at Microsoft!
After six years working in “big tech” I’m excited to join Planning Center to build web apps for church management. I’ve been a minimal product user for over a decade, and the time is right to round out the next phase of my career at a small (~120) company. In this season, I’m attracted to the small teams, faster feedback, application development, 4-day summer workweeks, and other intangibles. I have a hunch I’ll thrive better in this kind of environment, but I won’t fully know until I try.
Thanks for everything, Microsoft! 🍻