How do you feel after changing from working in Microsoft to Google/Amazon/Facebook or vice versa?()

I moved from Microsoft to Google in February 2016. It was a definite upgrade. Some of the high points in my experience:

  • Trust at Google is much higher. People work openly to do the right thing without respect to org or level. There is relatively little politics. People still disagree and have personality conflicts, of course, but we’re much better at working through them.
  • Overall employee quality is much higher. There are some brilliant people at Microsoft, but the average Googler’s capability is much higher than the average Microsoftie. Night and day difference here honestly.
  • The default answer at Google is yes. At Microsoft I got used to proposing 4 good ideas in order to get one approved; at Google everything got approved (and then I had to deliver on 4 things!).
  • Google is committed to doing the right thing. If there is an ugly tradeoff, which happens often in my field (security), we try to engineer our way out of the tradeoff. Technical debt is usually incurred intentionally and with a plan to pay it off. Ethics are considered non-negotiable. To head off the flamewar: sometimes the right thing is debatable or the company faces a tradeoff between what users want and what we need to do to make money (after all, everyone would prefer ad-free no-cost everything, right?), so we can’t always satisfy everyone, sometimes we just get it wrong, and sometimes individuals behave badly, but I have very consistently seen leaders focused on truly and deeply giving users what they want.
  • Microsoft tracked budget closely. Google mostly doesn’t care at the employee level. If you want a second pair of headphones, nobody has to approve it. There’s a saying at Google, “We treat you like an adult.”
  • Google’s engineering infrastructure is amazing. The tools are robust, integrated (one codebase for the whole company) and fast. Microsoft’s is highly fragmented and slow. At Google it’s easy to do things like fix a typo in an error message in someone else’s program (I did this, took <5 minutes), or debug a problem in an API. At Microsoft you file a bug, wait a few weeks, ping the person, repeat until they close the bug as Won’t Fix.
  • The perks are notably better.
  • Training is much better.

There are a few things I liked better at Microsoft:

  • G Suite (GMail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets) is not as good as Office, especially Outlook.
  • Microsoft gives you an office; at Google you get a desk. First day of work here I showed up with 3 boxes of stuff. They never left the car.
  • Google gives you individual autonomy, but the downside of that is people tend to reinvent the wheel and over-complicate things.

I’m a Security Engineering Manager, not a Software Engineer or other role, so my experience may be a bit different from others, though we work with SWEs daily.

For my reasons for making the change, see David Seidman’s answer to Why would anyone change from working at Microsoft to working at Google and vice versa?

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I moved from Microsoft to Google in February 2016. It was a definite upgrade. Some of the high points in my experience:

  • Trust at Google is much higher. People work openly to do the right thing without respect to org or level. There is relatively little politics. People still disagree and have personality conflicts, of course, but we’re much better at working through them.
  • Overall employee quality is much higher. There are some brilliant people at Microsoft, but the average Googler’s capability is much higher than the average Microsoftie. Night and day difference here honestly.
  • The default answer at Google is yes. At Microsoft I got used to proposing 4 good ideas in order to get one approved; at Google everything got approved (and then I had to deliver on 4 things!).
  • Google is committed to doing the right thing. If there is an ugly tradeoff, which happens often in my field (security), we try to engineer our way out of the tradeoff. Technical debt is usually incurred intentionally and with a plan to pay it off. Ethics are considered non-negotiable. To head off the flamewar: sometimes the right thing is debatable or the company faces a tradeoff between what users want and what we need to do to make money (after all, everyone would prefer ad-free no-cost everything, right?), so we can’t always satisfy everyone, sometimes we just get it wrong, and sometimes individuals behave badly, but I have very consistently seen leaders focused on truly and deeply giving users what they want.
  • Microsoft tracked budget closely. Google mostly doesn’t care at the employee level. If you want a second pair of headphones, nobody has to approve it. There’s a saying at Google, “We treat you like an adult.”
  • Google’s engineering infrastructure is amazing. The tools are robust, integrated (one codebase for the whole company) and fast. Microsoft’s is highly fragmented and slow. At Google it’s easy to do things like fix a typo in an error message in someone else’s program (I did this, took <5 minutes), or debug a problem in an API. At Microsoft you file a bug, wait a few weeks, ping the person, repeat until they close the bug as Won’t Fix.
  • The perks are notably better.
  • Training is much better.

There are a few things I liked better at Microsoft:

  • G Suite (GMail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets) is not as good as Office, especially Outlook.
  • Microsoft gives you an office; at Google you get a desk. First day of work here I showed up with 3 boxes of stuff. They never left the car.
  • Google gives you individual autonomy, but the downside of that is people tend to reinvent the wheel and over-complicate things.

I’m a Security Engineering Manager, not a Software Engineer or other role, so my experience may be a bit different from others, though we work with SWEs daily.

For my reasons for making the change, see David Seidman’s answer to Why would anyone change from working at Microsoft to working at Google and vice versa?