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Realistically speaking though, manager is an upwards trajectory in the CS world. Most companies don't define the IC track well, and a staff engineer is usually a 10 year veteran whereas a manager path, even if you hate it with a passion is a quick way to get a really high salary with low years of experience. Even more salary once you become director and that's not out of the realm of normal with 5-7 years of exp. I know 1 staff engineer, and 0 principal engineers, whereas I know tons of directors/VPs. Clearly, the way to more money in the long run is the manager path even if you find it horrible.





I don’t know whether you’re right or wrong, but calling someone a veteran based on 10 years of exp, and a director after 5 to 7 years sounds like a recipe for disaster. (Unless you literally started the company or something Like that).

Could this actually explain why a lot of people don’t like their managers? Because they are just too damn inexperienced.

Re: knowing few staff or principal engs, my personal anecdotal observation (and other people have told me the same), is that many engineers don’t change their titles on LinkedIn, or say they are “staff eng” etc in public. In fact, for some people, the higher they go the more they downplay their title in public. Don’t have data to back this up, just anecdotal convos with some people I know.

I’d also like to think the culture is slowly changing, about feeling forced to get into people management to progress your career. But that could be wishful thinking!


> Could this actually explain why a lot of people don’t like their managers? Because they are just too damn inexperienced.

that's exactly why! i've worked and had managers who were so green and bad at their job. the staff engineers that i worked with were older folk that really have been around the block and had better communication skills than the managers. it's all extremely backwards


I agree with the overall point you're making.

> Clearly, the way to more money in the long run is the manager path even if you find it horrible.

Gotta break this down. How much more money would one need to make justify having a shitty time 40+ hours a week?


Everyone's got their own numbers, I'm sure. But if you don't want to be sitting and coding at the age of 50 with 20 year olds around you "changing the world" for yet another VC startup that will fold in 4 years, your best bet is to make as much money as you possibly can as fast as you can and with some smart decisions attempt to retire in your 40s aka the FIRE thing that is popular these days. Misery is subjective but it's the smart thing to do if you want the highest probability of doing whatever you want to do later

> But if you don't want to be sitting and coding at the age of 50 with 20 year olds around you "changing the world"

I would actually be okay with doing this, if it were an option. I believe it is not, due to how ageist tech hiring is.




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