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Microsoft or Zynga?

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[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]Hey,[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]I'm a Computer Science student, and I'm in a bit of a pickle. I currently have an offer for a summer internship with Microsoft and Zynga, and I don't know which one to choose. I'm interested in getting into the video game industry. I'd appreciate any advice! By the way, this will be my last internship before I graduate, and in the past, I've interned at Apple and Microsoft. Which will help me more in the future: Microsoft (non-gaming internship) or Zynga (game development internship)?[/font]
[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"] [/font]
[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]Thanks![/font]
[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"] [/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]Microsoft:[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+Slightly better compensation (+700/month)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+Fairly interesting project (MIGHT get to work on technology that game developers will use for mobile)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+It's Microsoft (GOOD, STABLE, and BIG company)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]-Away from home (I'll be lonely because all of my friends that will start working at Microsoft will start as full time employees towards the last 2-3 weeks of my internship)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]-I've interned at Microsoft before (different team), so it won't be a new experience (I'm interested in startups)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"] [/font]
[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]Zynga:[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+I get to work on games (however, I'm not a fan of their games)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+Get experience in the game industry[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+The internship will be in my hometown (I'll be close to my friends and family)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+Still a fairly small, startup-like company, so I'll get a new experience[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]+Free lunch and dinner[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]-Slightly smaller compensation (-700/month)[/font]

[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"]-It's ZYNGA (I'm not a fan of the company, they just went public, and I've haven't heard or read good things from the employees)[/font]

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I'm going to pick out this part first:
[font="verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif"](however, I'm not a fan of their games)[/font]

Something like this always worries me, it tells me you care more for games than developing games.
You're not always going to work on the game you want, nor should it matter. It's a job and you'll be paid to do it.
It's best to get used to this right off the bat, the game you're working on doesn't matter if your passion is making games.

These people working on these games aren't sitting around moping because they're working on a Facebook game, they find their own way to make their work enjoyable.
Much more likely it's the opposite, their creations are being enjoyed by millions of players. They're working on a brand that is recognized by children all the way up to senior citizens.
You don't need to like a game to get enjoyment out of creating it.


Now onto which company you pick, this should entirely depend on where you want to go in life.
It's certainly not as black and white as game vs non-game.

Zynga will use a certain set of tools and languages most commonly seen in developing web based games.
Microsoft will expose you to a completely different set of tools.
Which one of the 2 has the most technical overlap in the job you intend to take on after graduation?
Think about which company will give you the most relevant experience for your future job.


As for the job being away from home, that's certainly not a bad thing.
Different place, different people, different things. It's a great opportunity to get out there and experience new things.
It's also a great life lesson as you'll very likely won't find your dream job local after your graduation.

A small remark, Zynga won't get you the 'start-up' experience. They're a massive multi-billion company with thousands of employees.
As for hearing good or bad things from employees, employees that are satisfied generally don't go out of their way to write about their job satisfaction on the internet.
The larger the company, the more likely there are some disgruntled employees with a need to vent.


To sum it up: we can't really answer this question for you.

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Since you've already been at Microsoft, I'd suggest Zynga to get some diverse experience. See how green the grass really is rather than coveting it.

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I'd advise against Zynga, considering their dev. rep. and general attitude coming from that company.

Microsoft is nice, depending on where you work. If you want more game oriented, why not broaden your search and apply to a few studios? Certainly if you've held an internship before and got some experience, that shouldn't be too hard. :)

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hassaan, you need to make a decision grid.
And add these to your decision factors:
- Zynga has been written up recently for overwork and employee unhappiness. Google some news articles.
- You missed the IPO. The reason those employees were putting up with poor QoL was probably they had stock options as part of the employee agreement. [Edit] Article: Zynga stock held back by corp culture[/edit]
- Microsoft is a huge machine, you'd be a cog.

Mini-polls like this one won't get you reliable results. If you get 10 who click one choice or the other, you'll be lucky. Forget mini-polls - they're a bad idea. I don't click on mini-poll choices myself.

Also you wrote:

Which will help me more in the future: Microsoft (non-gaming internship) or Zynga (game development internship)?[/quote]

If you want to go into games: dude! Why would you even consider a non-game job when you have a game job offer?

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So if anyone of you guys were hiring for a game company, would you give preference to someone who had interned at Apple then Microsoft then Zynga or to someone who had interned at Apple then stayed at Microsoft twice? From these, Zynga would be the only game dev experience and the second Microsoft internship is with graphics on mobile?

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So if anyone of you guys were hiring for a game company, would you give preference to someone who had interned at Apple then Microsoft then Zynga or to someone who had interned at Apple then stayed at Microsoft twice? From these, Zynga would be the only game dev experience and the second Microsoft internship is with graphics on mobile?


Like I stated in my last reply it depends on where you want to end up.
You're not giving us a lot to work with either. You haven't stated the kind of work you'd be doing at those 2 companies.
What kind of job do you want after graduation?

If I was hiring I would look at how your accomplishments overlap with our requirements.
There is a real chance your work at Microsoft has a larger overlap or the exact opposite.
You haven't told us enough for us to be able to tell you.

You're fishing for a definitive answer we can't give you.

If you want to go into games: dude! Why would you even consider a non-game job when you have a game job offer?

Personally, let's say Microsoft would hire me as a full-time C++ intern, I'd certainly take that over doing full-time flash scripting at Zynga.
There's plenty of factors involved that we aren't being told right now at least. I wouldn't say anything that definitive unless I know what kind of work hasaanm is doing at either company and what his goal is.

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[quote name='hassaanm' timestamp='1324418204' post='4895901']
So if anyone of you guys were hiring for a game company, would you give preference to someone who had interned at Apple then Microsoft then Zynga or to someone who had interned at Apple then stayed at Microsoft twice? From these, Zynga would be the only game dev experience and the second Microsoft internship is with graphics on mobile?


Like I stated in my last reply it depends on where you want to end up.
You're not giving us a lot to work with either. You haven't stated the kind of work you'd be doing at those 2 companies.
What kind of job do you want after graduation?

If I was hiring I would look at how your accomplishments overlap with our requirements.
There is a real chance your work at Microsoft has a larger overlap or the exact opposite.
You haven't told us enough for us to be able to tell you.

You're fishing for a definitive answer we can't give you.

If you want to go into games: dude! Why would you even consider a non-game job when you have a game job offer?

Personally, let's say Microsoft would hire me as a full-time C++ intern, I'd certainly take that over doing full-time flash scripting at Zynga.
There's plenty of factors involved that we aren't being told right now at least. I wouldn't say anything that definitive unless I know what kind of work hasaanm is doing at either company and what his goal is.
[/quote]



I see. Sorry for the lack of info.

Microsoft: Intern with Windows Phone team working on core tech like graphics, multimedia, camera, input, and touch most likely in C#/C++, in which I have experience.
Zynga: Intern with a web game team (that is not announced) working on adding new features to the game most likely in PHP, which would be a new experience.

Goal: I eventually want to end up as a game developer.

Microsoft recruiter has offered to hook me up with the Microsoft Game Studio guys over the summer to increase my chances with a position with them. However, it won't be a guarantee because it is so competitive over there. I didn't even get an interview with any of the Microsoft Game Studios this year even though I was a returning intern because I didn't have experience in the game industry. Although, I'm open to moving away from my hometown (Austin) for an internship, I doubt I want to leave Austin for a full time position, and there are a bunch of good game companies in Austin. Which of these two offers would increase my chances of getting an offer from a game studio hopefully in Austin?

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[quote name='hassaanm' timestamp='1324422643' post='4895925']
Goal: I eventually want to end up as a game developer.

That word might mean a lot of different things. Do you mean "programmer"?
[/quote]

Yes, I meant game programmer.

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If the Zynga position really comes down to programming PHP all day, don't waste your time on that.
Yes, it might be a game company, but adding a few months of PHP to your resume will add nothing of value.

The Microsoft position sounds much more educational and relevant.
It might not be directly game related, but at least the languages used are close enough.
If you get the option, push for a c++ project instead of a c# project.

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