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Engineering is in higher aggregate demand (there are more open eng roles as the ratio of Engineers:PMs is high, and the minimum qualification bar to be an engineer is higher ie you need to know how to code at a bare minimum. You also generally speaking can always add more engineers to a mature tech product as they can fix bugs, tech debt, etc and help the business overall). As a result, my personal anecdotal observation is that Engineering pays the same or somewhat higher at the more junior / midlevel range where the base of the org chart pyramid is "wider."

However, Product Management is a straighter shot to general management, and becoming a GM/CEO is a path towards some of the highest total comp.

Mileage will vary by company (and probably region).

In terms of compensation, both are excellent.

This ++. I've been working with engineers all my life, and a lot more senior engineers. I've seen engineering careers plateau after a certain point - plateau at either architect level positions or worse, as a senior software engineer. Longer term, a PM level position opens lot many doors (and especially, if you have an software engineering background).

Definitely can be true, although I think that there are a lot of potential paths.

My advice would be to determine what is driving you to want to shift from Engineer => PM. If it's purely money, there are alternatives that don't require leaving coding (job hopping wisely, moving into certain types of management tracks, consulting on the side, switching into industries that pay SWEs ludicrous salaries such as quant finance if you can). Similarly if you're looking for more influence/reputation – all of that can be had as an engineer if you're somewhat thoughtful about your path. However – if you're looking to transition out of coding because you're more interested in the business / sales / working with people (which was my story) then it's a great switch.

Good luck!

Do you encounter a lot of frustrated/unhappy older engineers?

It's worth analyzing why they plateaued (or why do you think they have).

If they gave up on learning, well that's a sad, but good explanation.

If they found themselves satisfied with what they were doing, that's not necessarily right or wrong.

Do you believe they were in an environment where they are well supported and well managed?

Moving to product is worth thinking about; but it's not a silver bullet either.

While you can pick up experience in tasks not typically done in engineering, the things that can limit a person's career is partially independent of their work experience (in terms of the task they are actually supposed to do).

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