Testing at Microsoft…



It looks like I’m the latest Microsoftie to jump onto the blogging scene. It’s really growing fast here in Redmond (and elsewhere!).


I’ve got all kinds of ideas to discuss in this blog, such as:

  •  What is like to have a career as Microsoft Software Test Engineer (STE)?

  •  What kinds of skills are important to be a successful STE?

  •  Where is the industry heading, and how does that affect software development?

  •  What do we do for fun? (We love our work, but we love to play hard as well!)

  •  And, any subject you’d like covered!


I’ve been a Software Test Engineer on the Encarta Reference Library team since graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Spring of 2002. As you might expect, I’m enthusiastic about all kinds of technology, including Microsoft, Development and Testing methodologies, and anything “cutting edge” in the computer industry. I’m also fluent in some areas that may be surprising, including free/open source software. I consider myself an experienced Linux user (yes, really :-). I also play a mean game of nethack!


In short, I have a million ideas to blog about. Let me know if there’s anything that you’d like to hear discussed in this blog- I look forward to reading your comments!

Comments (9)

  1. Well, according to the MS JobsBlog (blogs.msdn.com/jobsblog), developing yourself into an STE is hard. Even though courses are taught at Uni / College, generally they aren’t adequate enough.

    Obviously after 2 years you’re good at what you do. What helped you get to where you are today? What advice would you have for STE candidates?

    And, of course, lots about internal Microsoft culture.

    (fyi: I’m not an STE, nor do I desire to become one, but this is the kind of info I’d be expecting from a blog by an STE)

  2. Daniel says:

    Did you know that you share your name with a great Australian cricketer ?


  3. Welcome to the blogging scene! RPI is right around the corner from me, (I’m in Albany NY). As one of the other posters mentioned, definitely tell us more about how you get to be a STE.

  4. Greg says:

    Jeremy: Great feedback. It can be challenging to develop an STE mindset, especially fresh out of college. Most college graduates (including myself) have never taken a formal course in testing software, which is unfortunate. I’m a firm believer that someone with a strong Testing background is not only a strong tester, but becomes a stronger Developer as well.

    Microsoft ramps our new hires up quickly via a two week crash course in testing, where we learn the in’s and out’s of white and black box testing, security testing, testing tools, advanced debugging, etc. These will all make great topics for the blog- thanks for the ideas!

    Daniel: Cricket great Greg Chappell has a much higher Google Pagerank than myself, which is how I first learned about him! Encarta also has a great article on him. It’s actually quite common at Microsoft for people to do a double-take when they hear my name. Cricket is a very popular sport here on campus, judging by the popularity of the pickup games on our sports fields! The recent Pakistan/India competitions had quite a buzz here as well.

    Scott: Glad to hear that you’re reading from Albany. I actually had a chance to meet NY Governor George Pataki here on Microsoft Campus. He made a joke about my defection to Redmond from RPI and the capital region! Thx for your comments!

  5. roomiedude says:

    gregch rulez!

  6. Does Microsoft use a dedicated automation team to automate testing of a particular product?

    Do you have specific product test teams that stay with the product throughout the Dev/test cycles and if so do they carry out any automation?

  7. Greg says:

    Hi Andrew- I suppose Microsoft does have dedicated Automation teams- we’re called Test Teams. We’re the people who are writing, running, and documenting the results of most automated tests. (Developers also are running Unit Tests, which is another form of automated testing).

    Testers are working on their assigned product teams, so there’s not a lot of "bouncing" to different products that are in ship-mode. There is some, of course, but chances are 98% of our time is spent testing a single application (and one that we know well).