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I have been developing professionally for 20 years and I'm in my early 40s. What I've learned:

* Salary compression is real: most companies are not going to keep giving you raises to match what the market would give you for your skills. They would rather you leave and take all of the institutional knowledge with you than pay you the amount you could get elsewhere. Even if that means hiring someone else at market value.

* Don't get comfortable at a company to the point you're not getting new experiences and learning new skills. Don't become a dinosaur.

* Even if you don't want to become a manager, when the time is right and you have the right skill set, demand a title with "architect" or equivalent in it. Titles are B.S. but people listen to developers with "architect" as part of their title. I insisted on the title and now I'm being recruited for much higher salaries even though I had the same responsibilities as a "senior".

* Good local recruiters are your friends. They can tell you salary ranges for a job and they do a lot of the hard work for you.

* know how to calculate your contract rate if you're doing contract work. Your rate will be different if you are a W2 contractor vs a 1099 contractor. Take into account self employment taxes (1099), the lack of PTO, the time between contracts etc.

* Whether you are a contract or perm, realize that you are still your own company. Your employer is your customer. Do you your best work but never feel a sense of loyalty that keeps you from jumping ship for higher pay. They don't have any loyalty to you.




This is the best advice here. Mostly around

>They don't have any loyalty to you.

Companies preach "family" and "loyalty". DO NOT BUY INTO THIS MENTALITY. They're not going to hesitate to fire you if it means they can maintain their bottom line.

and

>Even if you don't want to become a manager, when the time is right and you have the right skill set, demand a title with "architect" or equivalent in it. Titles are B.S. but people listen to developers with "architect" as part of their title. I insisted on the title and now I'm being recruited for much higher salaries even though I had the same responsibilities as a "senior".

Title's probably aren't going to be given without some other political reasoning. They have to be claimed. Same goes for "Director", "Head of", and "VP" titles. Titles are rarely assigned based on merit, so stop trying to earn them.

Additionally, I'd like to add the following advice:

Don't take compensation as equity these days. It's the same as taking your salary based on lottery tickets. Especially heed this advice for "nothing" equity offers of ~1% of common stock. It takes a really large exit for that 1% to turn into something meaningful for you. AND that's assuming there are scraps left over for the common stock holders.


> Title's probably aren't going to be given without some other political reasoning. They have to be claimed. Same goes for "Director", "Head of", and "VP" titles. Titles are rarely assigned based on merit, so stop trying to earn them.

My god, that's a spot-on piece of wisdom if I've ever heard it. Some titles like Principal and Architect can be earned through hard work and exemplary performance. C-level titles and Director/VP almost never operate on merit.


> >They don't have any loyalty to you. > Companies preach "family" and "loyalty". DO NOT BUY INTO THIS MENTALITY. They're not going to hesitate to fire you if it means they can maintain their bottom line.

Indeed. It's great to love your work and even your job, but never forget that this love is 100% unrequited.


Having to move to get promoted is frustrating and real. Within large companies you can usually move to another team (how hard this is varies), but it is typically required that this be a lateral move, which then slows velocity, whereas changing companies would not normally be a lateral move.

I'm cautious of the word "Architect" — even though I've had it in my job title in the past, and still believe that it can mean something. Unfortunately, it's also a word that's inserted into so many unrelated jobs titles (Enterprise Solutions Architect, Information Architect) — if you need to get beyond senior, and have influence over the wording of your title, then Principal and Staff are useful words — until they too are devalued


Lateral moves inside a large company are a good way to improve a CV.

It is easier to get "hired" for new technology stacks because some people in the company already know you, instead of random HR guy that doesn't care about technologies used in side projects, only what was used on your very last project at work.


Yes. It certainly isn't a one way street. I'd also add that having seniority/tenure has its own value within a larger organization.

There is certainly no one-size-fits-all advice here!


Solid advice.

I'd add one more - if you ever get a good client (freelancing, even when you are full time) keep them happy. A client who doesn't come up with billion changes, pays on time, doesn't micro manage etc is really worth working with, even if the work itself might not be super interesting.


All good advice. After about the same amount of time, I am seeing things from the other side -- that of the manager / employer. I have had quite a few employees who came to me and sheepishly told me they were accepting another offer. In every case, my response has been "Congratulations!" and it's sincere because these people are also my friends. I want them to win! As their manager, part of my job is to provide an environment where they can grow their skills. If they grow faster than the business grows, economics tells me what to expect.

If you tell your employer you're leaving for more money and they get angry (assuming you didn't just consume a bunch of money in training), that's a sign that you made the right move.


Reminds me of something I read:

A manager once asked a director for a training budget for his employees.

His director asked "what if you train then and they leave?"

The manager replied, "what if we don't and they stay?"


> Titles are B.S. but people listen to developers with "architect" as part of their title.

I would be careful with this advice. It might get you a cushy job and a higher salary at bad companies, but I think it's bad for your career in the long run.

In my experience most "architects" don't do any real work while cooking up a bunch of "best-practices" that sound good in a vacuum but either fail completely or create a big unnecessary mess when it comes to actual implementation.

In my experience, real practitioners who are actually worth paying attention to usually have the title "Lead", "Manager", "Director", or "Principal".


I was recently told by manager - who insisted on his title as "director" not managsr - that the title "manager" is actually seen as more tactical and not strategic and has less respect.

I would rather be called a "lead" than "principal". A "principal" is seen as an individual contributor, an "architect" is also usually an individual contributor but could also be someone who interacts with various departments to get stuff done.


I agree. My title has "architect" in it at my insistence, but I'm also the only dedicated developer in the department. So I have to "architect" my own solutions.


All the architects I met at MSFT were (formerly) star devs, and most still wrote some code (and did code reviews).


Where are you at geographically? I've never had good luck with the local recruiters in Silicon Valley, but maybe they're better in places with less info about market rates?


Recruiters are almost universally horrible, but there are usually a few out there in any market that have at least some idea what they're talking about. They are real diamonds in the rough and can take years to find, which makes them even more valuable.

However, sometimes even horrible recruiters can help you get a foot in the door somewhere. This is especially true with temping: you show up and start working right away with a minimal interview process. It's a great way to subvert corporate HR machines and get in the door and start making connections.

If you're looking for a new job of the type that recruiters may have, submit your resume to them and let them spam it out for you, but be firm with them when they want to waste your time by sending you to something that you know is a dead-end, or when they're trying to set up "check-ins" or other meetings that don't have a client/potential employer in attendance (do note that most will want to meet you once to look you over and make sure they won't be embarrassing themselves by sending you to an interview, but once the relationship is established, resist further recruiter-centric time waste).


Atlanta


I am in Atlanta, I would love to connect with a decent recruiter. I have a low tolerance for fools. Msg me please.


How?


old fashioned email works, since there appears to be no obvious way to do it thru our profiles.

moc.liamg AT hcselftrebor reverse that.


>> * know how to calculate your contract rate if you're doing contract work.

If you have to wade through traffic to get to your place of work, figure that time into your rate.


Where "recruiter" = "freelance recruitment agent": there are an awful lot of bad ones, so if you find a good one hang onto them. They're less likely to be blacklisted by employers.


I've never had a recruiter that submitted me to a company without my permission. I also don't post my resume. I only give it to recruiters after talking to them and knowing the company they represent.




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