Reflecting on 3 years at Microsoft

Feb 20, 2024

February 16, 2024 marks 3 years for me at my dream job at Microsoft. I've loved Microsoft since long ago when I was learning MVC from Scott Hanselman, Jon Galloway, Phil Haack, etc via blogs and tweets in 2012! I've had every Xbox we've made, every Zune we made, and even bought my 2011 Ford Fusion because it had Microsoft sync. 🤣

A couple of things I got into early on in my career were networking, and content creation. These types of activities were instrumental in me getting to land my dream job here!

I started with a super basic blog where I wrote down some stuff I was learning about MVC and Javascript, then started speaking at user groups, and ultimately conferences. It's absolutely critical, in my opinion, to learn in the open. The conference speaking I did in early in my career led me to meet amazing folks like Ben Illegbodu who got me a job working with him at Eventbrite, which in turn led me to work with folks like Kyle Welch and Jamie Kyle on a large JS monorepo there.

I wrote a series of blog posts on monorepos, started a DivOps movement, and met lots of folks along the way. The blog posts on monorepos directly contributed to me getting discovered by Microsoft!

I can't stress enough how important it is to network, create content, and learn in the open.

Ok, now I'll reflect on my first 3 years here at Microsoft, and explain why I'm here for the long haul.

Proof I'm a Microsoft fan

😍 Microsoft believes in OSS

In case it wasn't obvious with Microsoft's acquisition of things like Github, NPM, and the amazing VSCode editor, we care deeply about OSS. We are encouraged to leverage it, push things to the open source, and work in the open. The OneDrive team owns Rush. If you're not working in the OSS inside Microsoft, it's only because you've chosen not to. Other than that, we're very much enabled to do so.

Another thing that blew my mind when I joined the Office Engineering org (now ES365) is, we hit scale issues with git with our Office Monorepo (different than the one we maintain, 1JS). Rather than inventing some net new thing ala , we actually sent developers over to Github to make git work at scale! We also built the new git credential manager directly into git also.

Inside my direct 1JS team, we contributed directly to NPM with the Isolated Mode RFC which brought some of the goodness of pnpm to NPM, and also directly to pnpm as well. Collaborating with Vincent Bailly on our work of a pnpm like fork of Yarn called midgard-yarn-strict has been one of the highlights of my career!

Our task runner Lage (the one that inspired Turborepo), is also open source, as well as many of the other tools we use for maintaining a monorepo such as Beachball, workspace-tools, Backfill, and many others.

🐋 The Scale

Microsoft has 250,000 employees or something like that as of 2024, a great deal of which were hired after 2020.

On the team I work at, 1JS, we maintain a Javascript monorepo which has reached 1,000 active monthly users. Our engineering system ships thousands of commits to production every single week. If I don't git pull for a few days I'll pull down several hundred, possibly thousand commits.

This means you have to think a little harder about certain workflows you make changes too, features you add, etc because you're literally affecting the day to day lives of about 1,000 engineers. 😅 It's super important to keep your customers at the forefront of your mind because there are a lot of them.

The scale was definitely something that really surprised me coming from Eventbrite where we had ~90 engineers using the system compared to the 1,000 here!

🦄 My team is seriously awesome

My direct team of 7 alone, the one I interact with daily, is based in Vancouver, I work in Nashville, but extends all the way to eastern Canada.

We represent 5 countries, India, Bangladesh, Mexico, US, China, and Canada. That's just my team of 7. The team has an incredible culture, we genuinely care for each other first, our jobs second, and we never shy away from a task. We're in the process of uniting two huge engineering systems into one, and it has been a tough gig, but we've all learned SO much together, and we're mostly the same core team over the last 3 years.

If you include the broader x-geo 1JS v-team (virtual team), that begins to include, Norway, France, Kenya, and I'm sure a couple others as well.

That type of diversity of thought brings an incredibly fresh perspective on things!

In 2022 I got to travel to London for a conference, Remond for a team offsite, and Hyderabad, India for another team offsite. That was a heck of a year. 😄

I'm so proud to be a part of such an incredible team. I've made lifelong friends here, and had a ton of fun with them!

🥰 It's big, but somehow feels small

One of the things I'm most impressed by is, despite how large the company is, I am never overwhelmed by the size. The organization structure lends itself well to feeling a part of your immediate organization. My manager's manager (skip), is amazing, and does such a great job keeping our org communicating, encouraging us to use our time off well, and really makes us feel included in the broader Microsoft ecosystem.

The leadership all the way from my org, our parent org, which does Engineering Systems for all of Office, and up into Office itself does such a great job of making us feel like people, and not like cogs in a machine.

💻 Yes, I have a mac too

One that I get a lot is, "oh you work at Microsoft, you must love working on Windows", while yes I actually do love it, ala working with WSL, I actually am writing this post on my Microsoft provisioned Macbook Pro. I frequently take meetings on my iPad with Teams (which is a great teams device), and I answer emails on my iPhone 15 pro max with the awesome Outlook iOS app. Microsoft products run everywhere y'all!

🚀 Here's to the future

I couldn't be more proud of being a part of my team, and Microsoft. I am very excited the work I'm doing now, and can't wait to see where it takes me over the next few years of my career and beyond!

No company is perfect, but I am sure glad to be at Microsoft!