Upon completing her graduate degree in Computer Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Priyanka Sinha found herself at a crossroads. She had to choose between a dream job offer at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, or living with her fiance - whose career was in Silicon Valley.
We all know that a good spouse is hard to come by. But Priyanka had long wanted to work for Microsoft and was unwilling to compromise on the quality of her career. Fortunately, she did not have to choose between her personal life and her career. She discovered a great role on Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit (MacBU) team, testing PowerPoint for Mac at the Microsoft Silicon Valley office.
Although many tech companies just do support work at offices outside of their headquarters, Priyanka did not encounter any disadvantages working away from Redmond. Just the opposite, she found a "unique and exciting" work culture at Microsoft Silicon Valley. "We don’t think of ourselves as a satellite office," Priyanka says. "We work on some very key Microsoft products here in Silicon Valley. And as individuals, we also get a lot of impact because we are on smaller teams, but working on really big projects."
In her role as a Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET), Priyanka gets to be what is essentially one of the first customers for PowerPoint for Mac. This is an exciting and challenging position as PowerPoint must constantly evolve to stay optimized for Apple’s frequently updated operating systems. Unlike testing positions at other companies, there is no standard routine for Priyanka’s job. She is constantly pioneering new methods of testing for new consumer-facing technologies.
"I don’t really worry about the PC vs. Mac rivalry," Priyanka laughs, "I get to work on the edge of both worlds and that’s what makes it so much fun." She continues, "It is also a testament to Microsoft that if there is a successful platform out there, we are closely involved."
She likes the first-line-of-defense aspect of being a tester and adds, "It is exhilarating because you can see clearly when things aren’t going well. And when you get it right and the product launches, it is amazing to know that it is being used all over the world."
Moreover, Priyanka loves the "startup feel" in the Microsoft Silicon Valley office that is so plugged into the wider, entrepreneurial culture of the Valley. She also enjoys "working with a great set of really smart people who have a lot of fun together."
"There are at least three Nerf guns within view of my desk and, trust me, they get used. We all like office pranks and having a good laugh, but in the end we’re all most inspired by the fact that we’re working on such exciting projects in such an exciting environment."
Priyanka did get the "happily ever after story." She has been at the Microsoft Silicon Valley office for three years and her fiancé is now her husband. She is fulfilled by the team and doesn’t see herself working anywhere else.