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"To make the situation worse, the very good engineers, the ones who could truly help build a tech company from the ground up from day 1, were getting offers so exorbitant they could not possibly fathom to turn them down."

Ok I have seen this written every now and then.

What does this person look like and how do I become one given a willing to sacrifice everything else?

I can not find a good answer to this question. Everybody seems to have their own opinion.




First, be smart. Very very smart. And be able to demonstrate your smartness at the drop of a hat under stressful conditions.

Second, attend a top tier "name" university like MIT, Stanford or Carnegie Mellon and major in a related discipline.

Third, do some side work in your chosen field that can be shown off to prospective employers.

Fourth, learn how to present yourself well (for interviews and such).

That's generally speaking, of course. Exceptions exist.


Eh, I really don’t think this is representative. I’m a self-taught iOS dev who has only ever been self-employed and I just got a $420k / job from a public company. And I’m smart, but not some unfathomable genius.

I think every engineer should at least do some mock interviews on data structures, algos, and system design (there are TONS) of free study resources and then do a round of interviews. You only need one yes.


Congrats dude! All salary or salary and equity?


$220k cash, $200k equity (or whatever it’s worth in 12 months!)


where is this? also, how many years of experience?


Not going to disclose the company. Smaller public tech company. 10+ yoe.


right, wasn't looking for the company actually, by "where" I meant the location, which I think is NYC based on your handle! Congrats, that's a great gig!


Ah yes, NYC. Thanks! I seriously couldn't be more excited :)


>First, be smart. Very very smart. And be able to demonstrate your smartness at the drop of a hat under stressful conditions.

Sounds like this is not possible without years of exposure to events that force you to this situation. How else would you learn to act like that?

Regarding being "smart": How do you define this? For example, I got a CS degree from a second tier Engineering school. But I was a B-/C+ student. Do I meet the criteria for being "smart" or just lazy?

>Second, attend a top tier "name" university like MIT, Stanford or Carnegie Mellon and major in a related discipline.

Is this a hard requirement? What do these schools do that others don't? Is the exposure to other top tier people a necessary requirement from a skills perspective?

>Third, do some side work in your chosen field that can be shown off to prospective employers.

How do you choose a field that leads to the original goal: "the very good engineers, the ones who could truly help build a tech company from the ground up from day 1, were getting offers so exorbitant they could not possibly fathom to turn them down."

Tech is such a diverse field. There are so many paths to take, none of which guarantee I will reach this outcome. I could become a rock star developer having developed tons of apps, but is that the right path? Or will it lead me to a cubicle job?

>Fourth, learn how to present yourself well (for interviews and such).

This seems like just a lot of practice. Maybe even requiring growing up in a very socially active lifestyle. The opposite for people who sacrifice everything to become great at something eg. programming.

Its looking as if you need to be in a narrowly defined path that needs to either be decided when you are born or you adopt very quickly at a young age in order to accomplish all your steps.


This seems to only guarantee the ‘get hired for an exorbitant amount’ part. How about getting the startup off the ground by yourself?


Ignoring all the indicators that's been mentioned (acing all interviews, right pedigree, etc.)

- Solid results too show - Fantastic references

I know a lot of younger guys have these pipe dreams of sacrificing their youth, going to the best university, studying years for interviews, and looking / being the "perfect" candidate come interview time, without actually having built anything of substance.

Sure - you will probably land some sweet positions, but there's no way in hell you'll get hired as a CTO without anything real to show - unless it's a 3-piece student startup.

Yes, there are exceptions. There are young people that land very nice positions, but they're almost always both smart and experienced.

I think the roadmap look pretty boring, but it's what it is. Read, build, analyze, and understand. Have vision, and get good. If someones gonna hire you to design / build / develop their product, then you need to be able to lead and deliver. Hard work, experience, and good networking skills.


>I think the roadmap look pretty boring, but it's what it is. Read, build, analyze, and understand. Have vision, and get good. If someones gonna hire you to design / build / develop their product, then you need to be able to lead and deliver. Hard work, experience, and good networking skills.

This is probably the clearest answer that I have gotten so far so thanks.

However I was hoping for something more exact. I guess there is no perfect path that someone can take.

I think I also asked my question incorrectly seeing the other answers I got.

What I was really looking for was how can I as a 29 year old graduate of a CS program who is currently working as a developer(Doing nothing exciting at a enterprise company) get to that goal(the one mentioned in the original comment). Like what steps should be taken going forward.


I don't know if it's universal, but everyone I know that gets offers like this tend to solve the higher level problem.


The people I've seen that fit the bill, tend to have a really strong knowledge base and are quickly able to understand the relevant code base/systems.

They're then able to easily debug/optimize the system and know how to implement features in the best/simplest/most scalable way almost immediately.




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