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Microsoft Program Manager

Can anyone give insights into on-campus -- meaning on university campus -- interviewing for Program Manager positions (the 1/2 hour kind for those who made it past the initial resume screening). There are a number of sites with info on MS interviewing in general:

What I am mostly wondering is whether a person interviewing for a PM position is likely to get a significant number of "reverse a string in place" type programming questions or whether things will focus on logic puzzles and design questions.

Any thoughts, especially from those who have been through the process recently, would be appreciated.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

during my interview w/ ms on campus, i asked what the various positions did and got the following answers:
sde = software design engineer
ste = software test engineer
stde = software test design engineer (or something like that)
pm = program manager
(be warned, i'm pretty sure those were the names of ste's and stde's, but if not, it's pretty close)

sde: expected to produce production quality code immediately

ste: write tests and test software

stde: same as above but w/ a better chance of transitioning to sde (60% time writing test code, 40% in meetings and reviewing production code (aka, learning :) )

pm: spend 80% of your time in word writing docs for ppl.

Be warned, while I am fairly confident in how I described the positions, dont take my word for granted. The interviewer I had was very friendly and good about answering questions. I dont forsee you reversing a string for a PM position though. my 2cents, discounted to 1.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I was asked to code during my first PM interview, but I also listed SDE as my second choice.

During my follow interview at Microsoft's Cupertino office for a PM position, I was asked only one psuedo-coding question. Really more of an algorithm design than code. They wanted to see that I could understand the complexity of implementing the features I would be documenting.

FWIW, I did not get an offer but in my defense I was in the middle of finals and really didn't give it my best shot. I didn't take it seriously. I regret few things more.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Don't worry about coding in a PM interview. Sure, you _may_ be asked to code something, but PMs don't code for a living so your coding skills aren't going to be weighted all that much in an interview.

Instead, focus on what PMs do day in and day out -- take ambiguous notions ("Hey, Word's help should be more accessible to users") and develop them into concrete features (Clippy).

And, as in all Microsoft interviews, process is more important than results. If you're asked to design a car, for example, the interviewer doesn't care what you end up with. She cares what questions you ask, and how you apply the answer to the problem at hand.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Most of the Microsoft PMs I have known are people that definitely *could* write code.  In fact, some of them have described the PM role as "a coder who doesn't".

I interviewed Microsoft, once and it was not for a PM job, so I don't really know what a PM interview is like.  But it seems clear to me that PMs need the ability to code and the ability to choose not to.

Eric W. Sink
Thursday, February 20, 2003


Thursday, February 20, 2003

Nobody is reading this topic any more, but I'll just let people know what happened. I did have the interview, and I even though I was interviewing for a Program Manager position I was asked a small coding question. I did put that I knew how to program on my resume, so I imagine she was just verifying that.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

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