Microsoft UK • Romsey, United Kingdom

Principal Optical Engineer – Azure Fiber Research

Employment type:  Full time

3 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Job Description


Do you have a keen interest in optical communications and want to contribute to shaping its future? Are you enthusiastic about optical fibers and motivated by the challenge to advance the technology, play a key role in enabling its transformative potential and lead innovation? Do you want to contribute to the production of the next generation of hollow core optical fibers (HCFs), working in a supportive research environment? If you've said 'yes' to these questions, then this role might be for you.

Azure Fiber is looking for a Principal Optical Engineer to join its team of experts in developing the next generation of optical fibers for cloud computing. As a principal optical engineer, the candidate will lead a fiber fabrication team conducting advanced research for Azure Fiber and will oversee the entire process from design to production of novel and innovative fibers with improved performance, reliability, and cost.

The position will be based in the Southampton (UK) area, between the Microsoft Azure Fiber labs in Romsey and the state-of-the-art cleanroom facility at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton. The candidate will have access to world-class resources and expertise in optical fiber research and development, and will have the opportunity and mission to shape the future of optical networking and cloud computing at Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. As employees we come together with a growth mindset, innovate to empower others and collaborate to realize our shared goals. Each day we build on our values of respect, integrity, and accountability to create a culture of inclusion where everyone can thrive at work and beyond.


  • Researching materials and new designs of hollow-core optical fibers for targeting optimal optical and mechanical properties.
  • Managing the work of other researchers working on fabrication related projects, providing guidance, feedback, and mentoring.
  • Developing and implementing fabrication processes and protocols to produce high quality fibers using advanced glass preform manufacturing techniques.
  • Characterizing and testing the fabricated fibers using advanced optical and mechanical methods and tools, such as optical spectrum analyzers, reflectometers, interferometers, and tensile testers.
  • Collaborating with other teams at Azure Fiber and external partners, such as the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, to ensure alignment of goals, standards, and best practices.
  • Communicating and presenting the results and progress of the fiber fabrication team to internal and external stakeholders, including senior management, customers, and peers.
  • Operating and monitoring state-of-the-art optical fiber manufacturing equipment within a quality management and safety conscious environment.
  • Contributing in first person, and visibly supporting the establishment and maintenance of a safe working environment.


Required Qualifications:

  • Technical engineering experience

    • OR Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, Fiber Optics Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, or a related field

    • OR Master's degree in Electrical Engineering, Fiber Optics Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, or a related field

    • OR Doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering, Fiber Optics Engineering, Physics, Materials Science, or a related field

  • Experience in fiber optic research
  • Experience in managing individuals or small teams

Other Requirements:

  • 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.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Technical experience with a focus on optical fiber fabrication and innovation
  • Competent use of fiber draw tower, glass working lathe and fiber optics characterization tools
  • Track record for excellence in research
  • Demonstrable leadership capabilities, and ability to provide recognition and feedback to team members, while making them feel included and valued
  • Relentless drive for excellence

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.


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

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