Microsoft Technical Program Manager

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The role of a Microsoft Technical Program Manager

Microsoft is a technology giant and has always been in the forefront of digital innovation and excellence. The Technical Program Management role at Microsoft demands a perfect mix of an individual's technical acumen and a passion for leading teams and products from the conceptual stage to the market.

Role and responsibility

  • Focus on improving the company's technology solutions.
  • Working collaboratively with teammates to ensure the company's products exceed customer expectations.
  • Communicating throughout the process to understand progress towards delivery, technical challenges, and to provide clarity on customer needs using a data-driven approach. 
  • Demonstrating an ability to learn and adopt relevant new technologies, tools, methods and processes to leverage in your solutions. 
  • Dedicating yourself to building software to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

Skills/qualifications required

  • A bachelor's or master's degree in engineering, computer science or related field and/or 2+ years related experience in relevant fields eg: engineering, business, marketing, information technology, operations, finance
  • 2+  years of professional experience in leading and delivering end to end customer solutions.
  • 3+ years program management or equivalent experience.
  • Experience working on applications that involve Data Science, Machine Learning, or Artificial Intelligence.
  • 2 years of experience programming in C++, Java or other computer programming languages.
  • Ability to work and build strong relationships with senior managers, leaders, partners and customers.
  • The aptitude to engage a wide range of internal and external stakeholders; from end-users to senior management/executives.
  • Display skills in planning and project management.
  • Demonstrated ability in discerning and addressing relevant challenges to delivery
  • Must be able to work independently, handle multiple projects in a fast-paced environment, and negotiate and collaborate effectively.
  • Highly analytical - ability to understand business metrics, customer and market trends.
  • Ability to demonstrate understanding of computer science fundamentals that affect code implementation and customer experience.
  • Great communication, interpersonal, and cross-group collaboration skills; the ability to build and deliver effective presentations.

Microsoft Technical Program Manager salary

  • Entry level salary: USD 164,000.
  • Senior positions   :USD 413,000. 
  • Median salary      :USD 245,000 with base component being USD 179,000, stock component being USD 33,000 and bonus being USD 33,000.

Interview Guide

The Technical Program manager interview at Microsoft is a 3 stage process, comprising the initial screen, technical screen, and the onsite round.

Initial Screen

Overview

The initial screen is a 30-minute telephonic interview with the recruiter. Here, the recruiter asks questions related to your CV and work ex, if any. The basic aim of this exercise is to test the candidate's motivation for the role and to know if he/she meets the experiential and cultural fit for the role and the company. If you are a fresher you will be hired into a general role such as Office and Cloud services. If you have prior work-ex you may be hired for a more niche role in the company. 

Interview Questions

Most asked interview questions in the Initial Screen.

  • Tell us your motivation for the Technical Program Manager role.
  • Why do you wish to work at Microsoft as a Technical Program Manager?

Technical Screen

Overview

The technical section is a test of your technical skills which you are going to use as a Technical Program Manager. At Microsoft, the technical screen will be a 1-hour telephonic interview with Microsoft TPM. Primarily, you are going to be asked questions on system design and system architecture, but there may also be 1 or 2 odd coding questions. While interviewers won't ask you to code in a particular language, you must come prepared to code in SQL and Python. Also, expect questions on Program Management.

Interview Questions

Here are some of the most asked questions in the Technical screen:

System design questions

  • Design an e-commerce website. What would the infrastructure look like? How would you design the frontend?Tell us your favourite piece of software? What is your favourite feature in it? Do you think it's particularly well-designed? Why?
  • Design a microwave for college students.
  • Design an elevator system for an office building. 
  • Build a hiking app that is user friendly for all age groups.

Coding questions

  • Given a list with an unknown number of elements, how would you find and then remove the second to last element in the list?
  • Explain the concept of big O notation.
  • Design a method that removes every other node from a linked list.

Program Management Questions

  • How do you ensure quality outcomes in your projects that have a deadline?
  • Describe and whiteboard a continuous deployment system and a continuous build system.
  • Suppose you are leading any production chain facility, what steps would you take to optimize the production process?

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Onsite Round

Overview

The onsite round is the longest and the most complicated of all the rounds. It consists of 4-5 interviews covering various sections like technical, program management and behavioural tests. The technical section will test your knowledge and skills in system design, product design and coding aptitude.

The Program Management section will focus on key aspects of program management and will test your leadership, ability to collaborate and coordinate with cross-functional partners and deliver project outcomes on time. Finally, the interviewers will ask you some behavioural questions to see if you have the right motivation and attitude for the role and company.

Interview Questions

Most asked questions in the Onsite round:

System Design 

  • How would you design a wide-column NoSQL Database?
  • Explain the design elements of a distributed file storage system.
  • Suggest 3 changes to improve the present eBay frontend design.
  • How would you design the UI/UX for Disney’s new streaming platform?

Coding questions

  • Write a code to check if a given string is a palindrome.
  • Explain the difference between C++ and Java.

Program Management questions

  • Suppose you are leading a team tasked with designing new software.

One day before the release, you find a critical bug in the software. How do you handle the situation?

  • You're working on a program where part of the features was completed with errors. The team that's responsible has moved on to another project and has no time to fix the errors. What would be your course of action?
  • How hard is it to deliver programs on a tight timeline and with limited resources? Explain from your experience.

Behavioural questions

  • Tell us about a time when you faced a conflict at the workplace and resolved it.
  • Why do you want to work at Microsoft?
  • Have you ever tried something and failed? Please elaborate

Onsite round can be a tough nut to crack without practice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many round are there in the Microsoft TPM Interview?

There are 3 rounds in the interview, namely Initial Screen, Technical Screen, and the Onsite round.

What topics do we need to prepare for the interview?

Typically, the questions are asked from areas such as Program Management, System Design, and Behavioural questions. So, it would be worth preparing them well.