Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Who cares that much about the salary when you are that point in the Software Engineeering career track in SV anyway? What, really, is the difference between making $300K/yr and even fully doubling that to $600K? A nicer apartment, a nicer car, an earlier retirement? These are pretty marginal things if the cost is spending most of your time doing something you don't like.

The most common reason somebody becomes an EM that I've observed is because somebody else tells them to do it. It's a promotion, so you should want it. I'm one of very few people in the SwE world I've encountered who very actively and clearly wants to do it, and for the reasons you listed - to spend more time on humans and less on code.

Most of my managers have at best tolerated the position; several have confessed being miserable and just wanting to code again ("okay, let's switch" hasn't worked, though). That includes my current and previous manager; the one before those 2 said he didn't want to manage and despite being CTO was trying to maneuver into more of an architect position, the one before that quit within a month of being promoted. I've known several people who were EMs and switched back, and had a friend confess that she was on the verge of quitting before she got offered the chance to be an IC again.

Not a one who got promoted and then loved it.

Given that it's true most ICs want to code and not manage (even if many can learn to be good managers), and these days big company ICs are very well compensated... it really feels like the driving force is external - somebody else tells them to do it, it looks like the natural progression, and that's "just what you do" more than anything else.






Interesting insight. I would say that most of us s/ware engineers don't live in SV though, and often a salary bump truly is a tempting and significant incentive. But I'd like to think ICs are being better accommodated now (I know we are, in some more progressive places).

> Who cares that much about the salary when you are that point in the Software Engineeering career track in SV anyway? What, really, is the difference between making $300K/yr and even fully doubling that to $600K? A nicer apartment, a nicer car, an earlier retirement? These are pretty marginal things if the cost is spending most of your time doing something you don't like.

That is the difference between being a renter in SV for the rest of your life versus being an owner. It'd also set you up for retirement and potentially let you be a single income household.


Very spot on observation. I'm currently on the 'I tolerate it' bucket but I'm actively trying to hire for my replacement so I can move back to being an IC again.

At first I really disliked it but the more time I spend doing it, the better I get at it, the more rewarding it becomes. I fear by the time I find someone to actually replace me, I won't want to go back to being an IC.


It's an entirely different job, that's why nobody can just drop into it from being an engineer and magically be good at it.

Very few of the skills overlap even within the same categories such as architecture and execution. One is about the code, the other one is about the people.

Once the core skills are developed e.g. being able to clearly communicate a vision and plan, ability to have tough conversations, building interpersonal trust, being an effective salesperson for the team. Once these skills are adequately developed, it becomes a good job again.

Most people have spent at least a few years training to become a professional software engineer before being able to do that job, and yet most engineers don't give themselves/others the same understanding for developing the necessary skills to become a professional engineering manager.


Hah, 300k. Made half that building and then leading teams for products that made many millions in ARR. Man I'll never get over how good of a deal they got.

How much do you make now?

Not 300k! But enough to make me happy, especially considering it's not a big player yet.



Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: