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Ask HN: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
42 points by nodivbyzero on Apr 28, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 55 comments
Wondering where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your IT predictions for next 5 years?

> Wondering where do you see yourself in 5 years?

No longer in tech (34 now). Sailing around the world with my family. Semi-retired.

> What are your IT predictions for next 5 years?

Message bots will turn out to be overrated. "AI"/machine learning won't implode, but it'll continue on in the sort of discipline as data scientists. New tools built, replacing old tools, bought out or closed down, the cycle continues. Be wary of the hype train. Life is too short to burn yourself up on things that don't matter.

Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple still around, but not taking over the world. Walmart might give Amazon a run for its money if they learn to ship to customers instead of having them come to stores (postal service JV?). There's still a lot of low hanging fruit for tech companies to scoop up, but the work won't be exciting (it'll be profitable though).

Learn history, so you don't repeat it. Tech is cyclic in nature, like most things in life. The key is to make hay when the sun is shining, and save for a rainy day. Or that day you decide, "I'm out".

Did you make FU money during the last boom? I missed it. 38 now ... don't really see a path out of the rat race.

Nope, just lived below my means and invested the surplus in equities and real estate. Didn't move to SF/BA (too expensive), didn't buy new cars, don't eat out all of the time, don't buy a new iPhone every time a new version is released, no cable, no Starbucks, etc.



With ~$600k in investment assets, you'll generate ~$24k/year in dividends. A family of three traveling the world via sailboat can comfortably live on that (note I mentioned "semi-retired"; I still plan on doing consulting occasionally when I require topping up the freedom chips account).

I wish everyone in the developed world understood and internalized this perspective. That goes double for software engineers, who are well-paid relative to the median wage almost anywhere in the world.

The rat race is totally opt-in. If you're getting paid as a software engineer in the USA[1] and you're making market rate for where you live, you can easily save >>50% of your salary and retire in 10 years. And really, what you're buying with those savings are options. If you love what you're doing, no one will force you to quit once you've accumulated FU money. For me personally, even money says I keep on working in my same career with little change. But the point is that it then becomes my decision, not something imposed on me. It changes your perspective (and stress level).

[1]: The US is an unusually good place for software engineers from this perspective: by moving from London back to Seattle I was able to nearly double my market rate while modestly lowering my cost of living. But even in London, it was possible to save a substantial fraction of each paycheck.

I'm wondering how such a person will cope with unexpected medical expenses in old age that aren't covered by medicare.

As a US citizen, perhaps immigrating to a country with universal health care is a necessity.

Come to think of it, the rat race really is a fear driven thing. Fear of not having health care when you need it, fear of not having retirement income, fear of keeping up pretenses of "success" vs your peers and classmates, etc.

I say the same thing every time this comes up: I don't want to live like that, and neither do many, many people.

I like driving nice, new-ish cars, eating out, using the latest technology, drinking Starbucks or whatever coffee I want and having fun, even if it isn't cheap (when I can afford it). I'm not alone here.

I'm glad you've found a way to enjoy life on little means, but trying to say that it's the best way to live is disingenuous.

$600k in savings and investments means nothing if I'm not doing things I don't like. Money is made to be spent.

It's entirely true money is made to be spent. I'd just rather buy my own time back instead of spending it on unnecessary luxury items.

But then, I don't feel sorry when someone has to work their entire life to retire; that's their choice too.

If you're getting paid as a software engineer in the USA[1] and you're making market rate for where you live, you can easily save >>50% of your salary and retire in 10 years.

Not well in the Bay Area, at least.

Since I'm currently living and working on the San Francisco peninsula, I can actually speak to this from experience. :) My family of 3 lives on a budget of $50k, and yes, our savings rate is >>50%.

Of course, you specified living "well." I believe that we live well -- we're all certainly very happy, don't have any unmet needs, and are able to indulge in little luxuries like eating out once a month and visiting family in Europe once or twice a year. However, if living "well" to you requires having two late-model cars, a big house and eating out a few times a week, then yes, you will have trouble doing that while maintaining a high savings rate in the Bay Area.

I'm the same age as you, 34 (single and have no kids though), and like tostitos1979, I don't yet see a way out of the rat race. I live in a medium CoL city (Chicago) and still trying to make ends meet.

To answer the first question, I see myself with a decent paying job that has 401(k) and benefits in 5 years. Sounds average, like a typical college student's goal, but I still feel like a college student in some ways. I graduated at age 25 and 9 years later I am not able to make a living for myself.

I have been burnt out from companies paying so far below the local market rate, going through several periods of time with no work only to get another offer form a company that doesn't pay well, doesn't provide insurance, don't withhold taxes for their workers. And then getting laid off again. I'm spinning my wheels here. I cannot save money with that kind of thing going on indefinitely.

In 5 years I also do not want to be living with my mom. I want to have my own home, being able to set my own rules instead of running errands every day for family. And in 5 years I do not want to use her money to go to a coffee shop almost daily because that is the only way I can get internet access (and thus the only way I can send lots of resumes for a job).

Your transparency is really appreciated. Wishing you well!!

> A family of three traveling the world via sailboat

I guess on a sailboat you're on your own as far as health care goes (when making big crossings), but otherwise, living in the US, you're not going to insure a family of 3 for that amount.

We qualify for an exemption being outside of the US more than 330 days a year. Also, at the income level I mentioned, our premiums would be almost fully subsidized if we were to obtain US health insurance.

Plan B would be spending enough time in another first world country with real healthcare to obtain citizenship.

I'm intimately familiar with engineering around healthcare needs in the US due to my mother being disabled.

Then, I'm assuming you realize that your only expenses aren't premiums.

We intend to pay cash outside the US for any services, far below what the cost would be in the US, and possibly carry only travel insurance for emergency coverage.

Life is too short to live it in fear of "what if".

Or you could 'go live' in a country with universal health care and pay taxes there? e.g. pretty much any EU country.

It's not that easy to immigrate to those countries.

As someone who is a bit younger - how did you ~know~ how/where/what assets to put money into?

I'm currently in the car, but I will come back with online resources to answer this.

Awesome thank you!

How much is the boat though? What you just described is something I wouldn't mind doing myself.

Fiberglas boats mass-produced ~20,30+ years ago have been holding up well (depending on maintenance). So they are relatively cheap now. Something that was really mass-produced like the Catalina can be bought for like 10k for a 27 foot one.

$60k-80k used, ~35-40 feet, 20-30 years old.

You've done great, man. Very admirable.

Super appreciative of the kind words, but I'm not here to humblebrag. I'm showing the numbers because all of you can do this. Freedom is attainable, as long as your expectations as to what makes you happy is reasonable (time with family and friends, not a Lambo and every other weekend on Miami Beach).

In my younger years, I had a neatly mapped out plan of what I'd be doing in 5, 10, 15 years.

I'm in my 30's now and I've come to realize that it's nice to have a plan so you can test out the waters, but just as important is to adjust to the new information you acquire every year about both yourself and the world (I didn't do this well at all in my 20's).

So I really have no idea what I'll be doing in 5 years. It'll likely have something to do with technology, and it'll be something that interests me and find to be worthwhile (for me personally, that means Snapchat-like things are a nonstarter), with smart and pleasant colleagues.

This is a good chance for some self-reflection!

I'd like to be living somewhere with better weather than New York City. Also with more outdoor and recreational opportunities. I get really, really depressed every year between like December and April except for skiing and 1 or 2 other winter activities that keep me going. But the dreariness and hibernating bother the f*ck out of me. Yes, I know it's all about what you wear out and not the weather but really...it's not, at least for me.

I'd imagine that I'll be married to my current girlfriend. I love her deeply and it seems like that's the path I'm going to take at this time <3.

As far as work - it would be really cool if it was cyclical. Spend 2 or 3 months on, 2 or 3 months off. Working on writing code and making things happen for myself or other people. Have enough in the bank to work only when I have to only on projects I care about but still own the house I've always wanted to.

Speaking of that, I'd also either like to have bought the land and started envisioning or to have actually built by dream home, a modern house that's kind of like the one from Ex Machina, in nature and completely automated! Cliche, I know.

In an ideal world, I'd be working in some capacity to get us off this rock. Kind of hard to transition from web dev to space though, I think? Haven't tried it yet, might be time to soon.

All of the above is said knowing that I already have a much better life than most and I'm not really entitled to more, but I'll work for it and try to get it like any other human.

As far as IT - I agree with a commenter below. It's cyclical and not too much will be new. I do think something will have begun taking more of a foothold that will replace mobile phones, either AR or VR based. Otherwise probably not too much will change. Which is sad because progress is just too slow for me.

Hey! I was you last year. Hated NYC for a long time but feared getting out. I eventually cracked and just started looking for jobs in the DFW area. Took me about three months, but we made it and are getting married next year!

It's possible!

Thanks for the reply!

What made you choose Dallas Fort Worth? Where are you and your wife from? Congrats on the move!


Much warmer weather. Very very VERY little snow. Amazing roads (I love to drive). More value for my rent money. "No state income tax." (This benefit will go away once I start paying property taxes if we ever buy a home here.) Lots of opportunity for learning how to start a business. (Lots of businesses here; many are non-tech, which I am fine with since tech companies are kind of overrated and there are plenty of big markets to tackle outside of tech.) Wife is from nearby and some of her family is here.

Very interesting. Sounds like the main reason is that your wife is from nearby though with tangential benefits?

Actually, no! That was icing on the cake for me. (I didn't need to "sell" the move to Dallas!)

I love uncomfortably hot weather, and Dallas has plenty of it during the summer months. I also hate winter, which Dallas has very little of. (We had a proper winter between November and early February, approximately, with one episode of snow that shut everything down.)

I also wanted to take advantage of Dallas's better, cheaper real estate, especially since I knew I could find a job in tech that would pay more than jobs in NYC. (My hypothesis proved to be correct --- my current salary is $10k more than what I made in NYC.) When I eventually start my business, I intend on starting it here. I have no desire to be in the Valley. I want to try as hard as I can to make something that will have investors coming to me, not the other way around. (i.e. get access to capital for essentially nothing)

Since "better" is relative, I always valued space and privacy over proximity and location. It is much easier and cheaper to get a home with a nice amount of land than it is in the NYC Metro. I would have closed already if it weren't for the amount of debt I have outstanding, but it is what it is. I love our current apartment but am afraid that we are going to be unable to afford a house when I'm ready to close and I generally hate maintaining anything myself and the complexity of real estate and taxes therein.

I've been planning a move to Texas since 2012. I could have done it in 2010, but I decided to stay for an awesome job opp in NYC (which proved to be the right choice at the time; I am extremely thankful for my time there). The opportunity rose again in 2013, but I stayed for a girl. (We're getting married --- in Dallas --- next year.) I had false starts in 2014 and 2015, but I finally decided to "just do it" in 2016.

Took me three months to find a job with the same take home pay; it is surprisingly difficult to find a job 1300 miles away from you! I felt pretty worthless during that time, lol. But I did it!

It will be more or less the same. New frameworks, languages and what not will show up with huge hype and then disappear in next few months or few years. Vast majority of black matter developers will continue with writing enterprise CRUD apps in Java or C#.

For myself, application that I am maintaining will turn 30 years old (Delphi 5 app) and I will probably continue working on supporting few more Rails apps as well. Oh and vineyard I planted this week, will finally give me first harvest.

Looks like many people are hoping for the FU money.

If you are living in SF, you have FU money already. It's just a matter of the choice of your lifestyle. And you only need to consider those comfortable ones.

I'd say if you don't enjoy coding, stop right away. If you're smart (and there's a good chance you are if you're coding), you will easily make a living. Possibly doing something that brings you pleasure. If you do enjoy it, why would you plan to stop.

Graduating grad school hopefully. Hopefully will have sweet abs and a bunch of publications and a post doc lined up.

If all goes well, within 5 years Fogbeam Labs will be generating revenue, to a point that I can quit my current job and work on running Fogbeam full time.

I was curious enough to google it, and my unsolicited feedback: After skimming your site for 2 minutes I have no idea what you're trying to sell. I assume I'm not the audience you're targeting.

Yeah, the site needs some work. It hasn't been a top priority for us lately because the products themselves are still pretty far from where we want them. That said, I have a TODO on my list to rewrite a lot of the verbiage on the webpage, create explainer videos, etc. It's just a question of time and resources.

That said, it may also be that you just aren't in the target market. The products we sell are all tools for enterprise knowledge management, search and collaboration. Think "alternative to Jive Sofware products" or "alternative to Yammer", etc. If those terms mean nothing to you, then you're definitely not in the target market.

Just FYI, your site is down now. I'm getting a 404 when I try to navigate to http://www.fogbeam.com/

Aarggh... Linode rebooted the VPS and Apache didn't auto-start for some reason. It's back up now, FWIW.

Same here. Also neddick is very close to "needdick". Maybe it's a purposeful word play.

Heh... no, never considered that association before. It's just the name of a lighthouse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Neddick_Light

I will be preparing STOMT for IPO.

AR/VR will be on the hype and it's getting easier to develop AR layers. Advertising has founds its way into it.

I see myself living in a new home that I built myself.

I see myself living on primarily 'passive' income from past investments--an established B&M business, mostly (it's 7 years old now), and hopefully a side-project will be generating some 'lifestyle' revenue by then.

I see myself building out a more self-sustainable lifestyle where I live, with some things like a greenhouse, small livestock (rabbits and chickens). I see myself building systems to make these also as passive as possible.

I see myself with a young child, easily the most exciting prospect.

All of these things are already on course, so I'm not just daydreaming!

Tech predictions: Who knows? In 5 years I don't expect a major shift. Mostly just a massive pile of javascript libraries. I think FB will start a downward descent which ends in them being dethroned. The current ecosystem of FB & Google knowing every intimate detail about us is not sustainable.

> Wondering where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Some sort of low-level healthcare job. I'm in school for IT and almost have my bachelor's degree, but I don't live in a tech city and am unable to move. Centralization of remaining jobs combined with outsourcing of lower-level jobs means I'm having a really tough time even starting my career. I'm going to complete my degree, but I'm not hopeful of my prospects.

> What are your IT predictions for next 5 years?

I'd bet centralization of remaining jobs and further outsourcing may drop wages for the workers, and corporations alone will be the ones to benefit from this streamlining. Many industries on the web are winner-take-all(see youtube, facebook, reddit), and I see no indication that this trend will continue.

I won't be in a position to say FU but will hopefully have the flexibility to spend a little more time staring at the sky rather than at pixels.

In contrast to other posters that expect more of the same in IT, I think we could see the start of a drastic change in hardware towards heterogeneous processing e.g. merging of processors and memory, more integration of specialised components e.g. DSP, FPGA, with CPU as coordinator rather than main focus. It's already starting to happen.

I'd be interested to see where my current company is at in five years. The growth has been pretty impressive - but I'm wondering which employees will still be around (if they take care of their employees enough to keep them around)

Aside from that I'd like to be working in/on a different stack so I'm still learning. Ideally I'll find an OSS project to work on when I can, or start an interesting side project of my own.

Financial Independence (FI) achieved and DONE working for other people by end of 2021. Pursuing my own projects and making a bigger dent in the universe.

Hopefully still in software. Maybe working and expanding my side project and turning it into a viable business.

I won't be upset whatever happens.

In the mirror.

i'm currently 29.

34. tech sales. still in dfw. larger network of interesting, influential people. >$215k base, more total. (still) happily married while giving my wife the option of not working or pursuing whatever she wants while i run the cash flow (hence that number as i am unwilling to compromise our current lifestyle).

done with student loans and car loans, though i plan on leasing one and opening another loan on another. i like cars. maybe a house. real estate is confusing and sounds like way more work than i want to do. reits seem easier.

unsure about kids. we are leaning on no.

of course all of this is subject to change, and I have approximate models of what these scenarios look like financially. but that's the vision for now


five year predictions:

ar will be everywhere and on everything, especially clothes and on your face. i see apple pioneering this space. google has the brain power but lacks the focus and ability to execute.

AR ads will be nascent but a HUGE untapped market; this is what will finally make facebook usurp google. it's all about execution and google is just too neurotic with their go to markets. hopefully they will correct this.

VR headsets will get smaller and cheaper as hardware always does. VR movies will follow suit shortly since it adds so much more depth for telling stories with.

iOS + vdi = end of the laptop, hence why apple is super bullish on ipad Pro and slightly bearish on their mb's and desktop lines. the future is mobile, 100%

ford and gm will beat tesla at self driving by miles; they are slower but have super tight manufacturing and product workflows that tesla will have trouble matching at cost. which is still fine for them because they will provide the shovels (batteries) and will make tons doing it

somebody will figure out unikernels. they will become huge. linux in a binary. what a time to be alive. i can't wait; think of the absolutely insane density this can provide.

brick and mortar retail will continue to transition into real estate and amazon will continue to pick up the scraps. the writing was on the wall for a LOOOOOOONG time (barnes and noble/borders, anyone?) and the big retailers did nothing. too little too late for most.

My saving will be at (or near) FU money level, so I'll either work less or work on stuff that pays less but is more interesting (robotics maybe?).

I see myself creating something of value or trying.

I missed out on the last boom, but I still think there is plenty of opportunity still here.

i'm going to be so high because a) my state just legalized and b) my partner is in the process of starting a farm :)

Big jump in AI software development. I can't wait.

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