Principal Design Manager

Last updated one month ago
Location:Redmond, Washington
Job Type:Full Time

Who we are:

Microsoft’s Developer Division is chartered with empowering every developer and every team on the planet to achieve more. Our software and tools are the most popular on the planet with over 20 million active users. We build Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, .NET, C#, TypeScript, GitHub Codespaces, and are responsible for the developer experience for Azure. Developers, data scientists, and students around the world use our products to learn, analyze, automate, and create.

Empowering developers means – enabling them to focus on the code that only they can write so they can innovate and solve problems faster with a closer connection to their users. Software development is a constantly evolving craft and the tools we build need to become instruments for imagination and making. Whether they are immersed in their own conception or being collaborative and social, we are deeply passionate about studying and addressing the full picture of developer needs.

The opportunity:

You are an experienced design leader, comfortable defining product strategy and working collaboratively with research, program management, marketing, brand, and engineering teams. You are able to effectively translate between these disciplines and weave them all together into experiences our customers love. You are adept at working with the other design managers to influence and drive strategy across the different areas they are responsible for to achieve the greatest impact.

This role provides an ideal opportunity drive significant influence on the business and be a part of the design evolution for developer tools. If you embrace inclusive team leadership, a growth mindset, customer obsession, and believe in design and user research working hand in hand with product engineering – this is the team for you. If you are excited by simplifying the complexities of developer tools and want to blend strategic acumen and a drive for execution, this is the opportunity for you.

How we create:

Our division pioneered customer-driven engineering and includes the co-founder of Inclusive Design at Microsoft. We make plans to design in the open and co-create with our customers wherever that is possible. We advocate passionately for the effectiveness that Design Operations brings to a team that needs to think about scale all the time. We ask hard questions, imagine new possibilities, and approach existing problems from new angles.


  • Partner with multi-disciplinary teams to influence product roadmap, product design and process across our broad family of products, languages, services, and websites. Including, but not limited to, Visual Studio Code, GitHub Codespaces, .NET, and
  • Transform how the design team collaborates strategically to ensure design has a seat at the table from the beginning of the product lifecycle.
  • Define and uphold a consistent voice, tone, and look-and-feel for end-to-end product storytelling and scenarios.
  • Evolve how the team connects, collaborates, and influences other organizations that help to deliver the developer experience for Microsoft.
  • Effectively communicate design strategies, concepts, and solutions to peers, partners, stakeholders, and executive leadership.
  • Drive resourcing, process, priorities, and accountability for the team.
  • Promote a customer-driven culture throughout the team, relentlessly driving the org to maintain focus on customer outcomes.
  • Forge partnerships with design leaders across Microsoft to build on their work.
  • Champion design for developer tools outside Microsoft by building community with peers in different organizations to share learnings.
  • Champion inclusive design experiences and methods by running sprints across varied topics and producing thought leadership in partnership with multi-disciplinary peers.


You should be a great creator, collaborator, communicator, and coach. This design team is as diverse as it is talented; the right candidate will inspire and get the best from them.

You should have experience designing innovative consumer and/or enterprise software experiences, have extensive knowledge of human centered design, and have demonstrable experience in designing experiences for complex system interactions.

You must have demonstrated ability to effectively partner with senior management, product managers, technical program managers and development and quality team members to shepherd end-to-end experiences from concept to delivery.

Preferred abilities and qualifications:

  • Embrace challenges and see failure as essential to mastery
  • Be able to distill customer scenarios and technical requirements to drive design implementation
  • Grow internal design leaders
  • Inspire people and teams to think outside their comfort zone
  • Create a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone “belongs” and knows that all voices are heard
  • Deal well with ambiguity, adapt priorities based on changing business needs while delivering results
  • Share compelling vision and build consensus among diverse coalitions
  • Demonstrate a ROI for Design work through business objectives and key results
  • Navigate technical constraints, customer goals, and business requirements that shape product
  • Have an understanding of and passion for helping developers achieve their success
  • Act as a champion for accessibility utilizing your experience in the different forms of inclusive design
  • Have a deep understanding of human-centered design and how that translates to complex system interactions.
  • Experience designing new experiences within the constraints of legacy software and frameworks
  • Extensive experience shipping software, services and products for desktop and the web within an agile engineering environment
  • Demonstrated ability to work confidently and collaboratively with Program Management, Development, Product Planning, Brand, Marketing and Usability
  • Proficiency with Sketch, Figma, XD, Photoshop and Illustrator with a good understanding of rapid prototyping platforms

Required Basic Qualifications:

  • 8+ years of experience as a Design Manager
  • A portfolio review will be required for all candidate interviews.

Ability to meet Microsoft, customer and/or government security screening requirements are required for this role. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the following specialized security screenings: Microsoft Cloud Background Check: This position will be required to pass the Microsoft Cloud background check upon hire/transfer and every two years thereafter.


Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.