< Back to search

Microsoft UK • Cambridge, United Kingdom

Principal Hardware Architect - Optical Technologies

Employment type:  Full time

3 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Apply now

Job Description


Do you want to be at the forefront of innovating the latest hardware designs to propel Microsoft’s cloud growth? Are you seeking a unique career opportunity that combines both technical capabilities, cross team collaboration, with business insight and strategy?

Join our Strategic Planning and Architecture (SPARC) team within Microsoft’s Azure Hardware Systems and Infrastructure (AHSI) organization and be a part of the organization behind Microsoft’s expanding Cloud Infrastructure and responsible for powering Microsoft’s “Intelligent Cloud” mission.

Microsoft delivers more than 200 online services to more than one billion individuals worldwide and AHSI is the team behind our expanding cloud infrastructure. We deliver the core infrastructure and foundational technologies for Microsoft's cloud businesses including Microsoft Azure, Bing, MSN, Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, Teams and Xbox Live.

We are looking for a Principal Hardware Architect with a focus on emerging optical technologies. The candidate is expected to evaluate alternative optical technologies and identify innovative ways of applying them to new systems architectures in the next 3-5 year timeframe. Optical technologies in scope include optical transceivers, optical integration into ASIC packages, optical circuit switches, lasers etc.

While there is an emphasis on deep understanding of optical components, the candidate will also contribute to Microsoft’s high performance interconnect strategy across multiple application segments including AI, HPC and Analytics. The candidate will propose detailed POCs and ensure alignment across various stakeholders on the value of the POCs. This is a technical leadership role - however, the candidate should be willing to conduct experiments in a hands-on manner with the POCs.


  • Identify optical technologies, quantify their value and prioritize them for future datacenter usages
  • Propose POC / prototyping frameworks for the rigorous evaluation of optical technologies.
  • Engage with optical technology vendors and conduct detailed analysis of competing technologies.
  • Educate / disseminate technology directions to Microsoft’s internal stakeholders on optical foundations and fundamental directions.
  • Represent Microsoft’s directions to the industry and academia through leading conferences.


  • Minimum of a Masters Degree with industry experience specializing in optical technologies or optical networking.
  • A PhD with industry experience is preferred with research publications in the same area of specialization.
  • Familiarity with datacenter-class optical module technologies such as QSFP/OSFP form factor pluggable modules or emerging Near-Packaged Optics (NPO) or Co-Packaged Optics (CPO) approaches.
  • Experience in architecting optical transceivers for target metrics such as physical dimensions, power (or energy efficiency), bandwidth density, temperature sensitivity, BER and failure rates.
  • Expertise with optical transceivers ingredients such as EIC, PIC, drivers, TIAs, photo-detectors, modulators and lasers.
  • Solid technical writing and presentation skills with a demonstrated record of academic publications / industry position papers.

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. 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.

Company benefits

Wellbeing allowance
Health insurance
Dental coverage
Gym membership
Mental health platform access
Buy or sell annual leave
Shared parental leave
Matched pension contribution
Charity donation scheme
Employee assistance programme
Employee discounts
Volunteer days
Fertility treatment leave
Open to compressed hours
Open to job sharing
Fertility benefits
Enhanced sick pay
Enhanced sick days
Compassionate leave
Travel insurance
20 days annual leave + bank holidays
Enhanced maternity leave
Enhanced paternity leave
Adoption leave
Childcare credits
Carer’s leave
Cycle to work scheme
Faith rooms
Annual bonus
Annual pay rises
Company car
Open to part-time employees
Pregnancy loss leave
Life insurance
Equity packages
Financial coaching
Relocation packages
Employees are very happy with their working location freedom
Employees are very happy with the flexibility in the hours they work
Employees are largely happy with the benefits their company offers
Work-life balance
Employees feel that they can switch off quite easily from work
Role modelling
Employees feel that most people work flexibly
Employees feel that they can mostly manage how they get their own work done

Working at Microsoft UK

Company employees

Globally: 220,000

Gender diversity (male:female)


Office locations

London, Reading, Cambridge, Romsey, Manchester, Edinburgh

Hiring Countries

United Kingdom

Awards & Achievements

Most flexible companies

Most flexible companies

Flexa100 2024

Other jobs you might like