I feel like the cycle turned one of making power point presentations of how the product has all the required features, but the overarching story and experience does not feel quite right. And I have been looking for advice on how to convey the importance to polish up the product.
If that's not been your experience, lucky you, but I've witnessed and been involved first hand in my share of expensive failures that I don't particularly want to repeat.
You may have confused Google with Yahoo?
Any place where smart people congregate have gatekeepers. Makes sense from their perspective, nobody wants to deal with other peoples problems, but we can't all just fall into early Googles haha
Anywhere desperate enough to hire based on skill doesn't have the capacity for fun projects
software engineering is the most forgiving middle-class industry when it comes to education credentials and pedigree, and FAANG is even more forgiving than the industry norm.
it's actually kind of amusing that the most desirable SWE jobs are the most lax when it comes to considering your background, while the least desirable SWE jobs are the most strict about requiring specific degrees
you can leetcode your way into most of the major tech companies that people actually want to work for without a degree.
is it unlikely? sure, but the important thing is that it's possible.
think of any other comfortable middle-class career, and how much gatekeeping there is. you can't do some equivalent of leetcode to become a doctor, or a lawyer, or a financial professional. you have to pay up and go to school, and it better be a good one. then maybe you'll get a job, but there's no guarantee
> Any place where smart people congregate have gatekeepers.
Requiring a degree, especially at lower levels, isn't necessarily gatekeeping. I've been on the hiring side at 3 companies and every job listing we've made has had dozens of applicants for one role. Given the choice between two juniors who are otherwise equal(read: no experience), one with a (CS/engineering) degree and one without, why would I ever hire the latter?
If neither can code, neither are getting hired anyhow. I never have to hire a body for that seat. I'm only interested in people who can do the job.
In the incredibly unlikely event that I've got 2 decent coders with no job experience to choose from, and I really can't tell whose code I like better, then I might look at their education.
But to be honest, in that situation, I'm likely to pick the self-taught coder over the one with the degree. All the best coders I know were self-taught, and there's a ton of self-teaching necessary to get up to speed on a new codebase, and also to learn new skills as we change technologies over time. I want someone who needs less hand-holding to learn.
I actually have a degree because I thought I needed one to get a job. (And an initial job-search seem to confirm that.) Later, I got my first job over someone that looked much better on paper because I had better actual skills. My next (aka current) job didn't care about my degree, either. I've been in the industry for about 17 years now, IIRC.
IMO, degrees are a crap-shoot. Some companies might require or prefer them, and others will do the opposite. Everyone should focus on what works best for them instead of catch-all advice like "Go to college".
They are never really "otherwise equal" though. If they are, your interview process sucks.
You seem to imply that when an interview process doesn't suck then all hiring choices are a clear cut win for one of the candidates.
A hiring manager should know which skills the team currently needs.
> You seem to imply that when an interview process doesn't suck then all hiring choices are a clear cut win for one of the candidates.
Yes, this is exactly what I implied in my previous comment. Do one more round of interviews (asking different kind of questions), if you _really_ can't decide.
The engineer who can come up with the biggest number, wins.
We follow SAFe agile and do our innovation work in IP sprint at the end of PI. Of course half of the IP sprint is dedicated to planning for the next PI. :-)
I will leave it up to you to form an opinion….
IP: Innovation and Planning
PI: Program Increment
Your sentence about salaries resonates; the Google I joined had a lot of folks for whom the salaries were a nice side-effect for a job they were intrinsically motivated for, the Google I left seemed to have many unhappy people that were fearful of leaving that salary behind.
This is when a Google employee told Wired the company needed to start focusing more on gathering information about people.
I wonder how much this used to apply to the Valley as a whole.
As an older dev, who isn’t a “cultural fit,” I can vouch for this. It ended up becoming my bane.
It forced me into an early retirement (I never made the huge gobs of money that people seem to make, these days, but I lived frugally, and invested fairly well).
The end result, for me, is that I am now happier than I have ever been in my life. I’m architecting and constructing software that shames anything I ever worked on, as a younger dev. I’m exploring software development practices that my employers never let me do (and that are working well).
I’m not making any money at it, but I’ve never actually done this stuff for the money.
“other people like us” has changed, over the years. Folks like me, are now an anachronism.
Of course, the thing about grey hair and cultural awkwardness, is that it comes with decades of experience in shipping software. That’s not something that comes in a Cracker Jack box (an example of said “cultural awkwardness”).
I wouldn’t have had the guts to make this move, on my own. I had to be forced into it.
So, it sucked, and was humiliating and scary, but, in the aggregate, things have turned out OK.
It is allowing me to play with UX, and that’s something I enjoy.
I'd suggest looking at my HN handle, but here's one:
The bit about finding ones "tribe". Yes, it happens for us engineers, when there are many smart people in "the room". I would not value it over finding purpose though. Purpose in technical perspective, as well as ethical perspective. There is a lot of feeling alone for many of us, because most of us cannot be around similar minded people a lot. What makes me feel more alone though is, when I meet bright people, who do not care about the ethical aspects of their work or hobbies. So personally, I do not think I would "find my tribe" in a FANG or similar company. I highly doubt it even, no matter how smart people there are.
Interesting way of putting it. And it also jives with the fact that Google+ always looked half-baked even from a pure UX perspective, and is now dead altogether. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, we can speculate that Google leadership should have tried to move in that direction while still meshing with the existing "sense of mission and purpose", not just suppressing it.
And when it materialized and they started to shove Google+ down everybody's throats it was a tipping point for many faithful Google users, too - any trust and good faith that was still there was instantly depleted.
After all these years I still miss this, can't explain exactly why. Maybe it is the nostalgia of the 2006-2008 years when everything seemed still open and doable when it came to things on the web.
the day google reader was shut down was probably one of the saddest i had ever been for a piece of software.
You were a perfect specimen to get exploited by a big corporations. You had knowledge and you were willing to work for the sake of it. That's why we need laws that would prevent something like this from happening in the future.
It's scary that you don't even realise that.
They didn’t care about the money is very different from they weren’t paid good money.
I don’t disagree that corporations will exploit you given the opportunity, but software engineering is a very low priority on that list.
I can't believe people defend these companies. Stockholm syndrome?
It's the same as colonisers offering locals tat for their gold.
That's what corporation would say about an employee wanting to be compensated fairly. Such behaviour in the past sparked communist revolutions, which have not ended pretty for the greedy capitalists.
It does, salaries are the single biggest post-revenue capital expenditure for FAANG.
That's after tricksy things that inflate those numbers, such as using a large number of contractors to decrease the employee count. I don't disagree that these companies could afford to pay more, but not like a ton more. Like, if they decided to put all profit toward workers, it would probably result in like...doubled salaries, which is a lot, but calling it a pittance is a reach.
There's all kinds of valid stuff to discuss in terms of companies paying people in weird ways: the abuse of non-engineers and especially vendors. The weird rules about locale-based pay. This one is weird mostly because the data doesn't bear you out as much as you seem to think it does. Especially when things like improving the conditions of TVCs and making them FTEs will further reduce that profit per employee margin (I believe it would put the profit per employee below 200K for all the companies I mentioned).
So like presuming that these companies start to treat the second-class people better, you're looking at a 20-30% raise for the swes. That's nice, don't get me wrong, but its not anything like the abuse you're making it out to be.
If you take this idea, and apply it to say McDonalds, the ratio of compensation for a worker vs. overall profit is much lower than tech companies. Take your soap box and apply it there vs. trying to rescue upper middle class workers with health insurance, houses, and retirement savings.
The success or failure with which any companies hires and retains folks like these is a mystery to me. As the evidence shows, Google (and I suspect almost any >100-person company) is far too much an amorphous glob/slime mold to even have a single coherent approach to this problem. But what are the successful strategies here? How important is it even to retain this kind of talent? How do we know how a company is even doing in this regard?
In my meager-in-comparison 6.5 years at Google, while I certainly saw many amazing SWEs come and many go, I'm far from knowing what the real trajectory was. But I can imagine that for many folks, the perceived trajectory would be a major motivating or demotivating factor to stay or to leave themselves.
And realistically, the reason you want them to stay is because they are someone who has figured out how to operate and impact the organization without needing too much guidance
But I think it's why there are all the generic lifestyle perks and competition for titles like "Best Place To Work".
Thus, you could argue that faceless, kafkaesque, "out of anyone's control" systems for talent management are a feature with trade-offs, not a bug.
While I have not worked at Google, simply being a user of its products for the past two decades has taught me that so much of its company culture and values have changed; and rarely for the better.
Would you like to share with the rest of us a few wisdom here?
* internalize the cost of core changes and don't push them downstream unless you have a really good reason
* staff a core team to take care of high ROI horizontal efforts that have high fixed cost to do efficiently, e.g. TypeScript migration of a massive codebase
* be careful of what you take on
* complexity and code are costs and not end goals
Reading them is one thing but seeing the principles play out in detail amidst the mess of reality was illuminating for me. The author's blog touches on these themes a bit more and I think are a good glimpse into their stewardship of the TS/JS codebase.
 - http://neugierig.org/software/blog/
- pay. These companies may be paying more than average and amazing if you compare to non-technical jobs, but as an engineer committing your best years to become great at what you do, you find yourself still not being able to afford even a small flat in the area where you work. Meanwhile you hear your company boasting about another record year and billions flowing in. Unfortunately they won't share those with you. That's demotivating and you feel being taken advantage of.
- lack of flexibility. For example managers pushing for pairing at all cost and with disregard to neurodivergent people. At the same messaging about equality, support for various social issues and so on. That creates dishonest image of the company and makes you think this is all bs and cheap PR rather than genuine care.
- Exploitation. Some companies expect you to do unpaid overtime or that you'll answer your phone outside of work hours. If you want me to work, you pay - I am not a charity.
- Rules designed to appease insecure managers, like having to be in person in the office so the manager can "watch you" and be "hands-on" with his or hers team. Again, company is boasting how great they are for the environment and at the same time they drag hundreds of people each day to the office for no reason. We have great tools to do work remotely, there is no longer a need to be in the office. Sell the office and give employees a bonus.
- open plan office. I just can't focus in those. There is only so long I can stand wearing noise cancelling headphones and I don't want to hear people behind me chatting loudly what they had for lunch, with occasional bursts of laughter that is piercing my ears. I found that often I actually done the work in the evening at home, whereas the whole time in the office I had to pretend I am busy. One time when I was offered a promotion I asked for private office. The CTO said it's only for him and the board. Well, I quit next month.
This is why it is insane to accept the "I know the people involved in developing that and they wouldn't let a terrible thing happen." Defense of it being ok for the co. to have massive unchecked power.
The company is its people. The people /will/ change. Give a company serious power you cannot expect the staff to keep it reigned in. It's completely unrealistic and also unfair to the staff for them to have that moral responsibility forced on them. Ultimately 99.9% of the time the only thing they can do is resign, which reduces the impediments to bad things happening.
Even Google search barely works anymore. Google image search is completely broken, and I’ve found recently that I’ve been appending “site:reddit.com” to all of my text search queries to actually get useful results.
I’m not sure what this says about the future of Google, or the web in general. Nothing good.
This so much. 10 years ago, I would have bought every single Blizzard game. Back then, I explained to my parents that Blizzard was like Mercedes ("The best or nothing") for video games. Now all known talents have already left Blizzard and none of their games interest me any longer...
You have a group of enthusiastic founders who make it big through smarts, passion and dedication and after a couple of decades, they retire, and the company is now mostly formed of people who are in just to cash in on the money and fame from having that brand name on their resume as people who are as smart, passionate and dedicated as the original founders were would most likely work on their own idea rather than said famous company.
On the tech circles online Google is known for being the place where you grind leet-code to get in so you can make big $ and coast (rest and vest), not break your back working on fancy world changing ideas. The latter is for start-ups.
Apple was ahead of the game too as they had the visionary Steve Jobs at the helm, while now, sure their stock is as high as ever and their M1 macs are great but you don't really see people queuing up for days in front of their shops anymore since their post-Jobs strategy has been less about disruptive innovation and more about entrenching and expanding their existing positions by leveraging their supply chain prowess.
> [Ibn Khaldun] explains that ruling houses tend to emerge on the peripheries of existing empires and use the much stronger asabiyya present in their areas to their advantage, in order to bring about a change in leadership. This implies that the new rulers are at first considered 'barbarians' in comparison to the previous ones. As they establish themselves at the center of their empire, they become increasingly lax, less coordinated, disciplined and watchful, and more concerned with maintaining their new power and lifestyle. Their asabiyya dissolves into factionalism and individualism, diminishing their capacity as a political unit.
> Summary, so far:
> Some things need talent to do really well.
> It’s hard to scale talent.
> One way people try to scale talent is by having the talent create rules for the untalented to follow.
> The quality of the resulting product is very low.
C and CLA class models are more like any other regular car with a nicer interior and maybe a better suspension, but at the end they even Renault engines (that aren't so well made), so they aren't so great than older versions.
All of this is AFAIK, so please correct me if there is any mistake.
Nowadays, the S-Class is no longer nexus tech and thanks to cheap credit and rock bottom devaluation on the second hand market, they're not at all exclusive that even in the poorer parts of town where I live, there are lots of Mercedes and in Germany they're used as taxis.
I.E. Amazon vs Kodak. Blockbuster vs Best Buy
This is a problem with the web, not with Google. The web has become littered with trash content
Isn't it the search engine's job to wade through the trash and return the results that are useful?
AltaVista was all spam results when Google came on the scene. From where I sit, Google just doesn't care to work on search any more.
- pre 2005?, Google search terms were never aliased.
A search for Bob, never returned Robert or Bobby. To make things "easier", alias searching was added. Now, there is all sorts of algorithmic aliasing happening, and it poisons the results further.
- Couple this with the desire for verbal google searching to work, without complex queries, and even more aliasing/approximation of search results happen.
I've seen homonyms aliased as of... 2016? Why? Google voice searching.
- Quotes are only suggestions, only verbatim search forces precise terms (+ used to mean a word must appear as written, but was removed because it was interfereing with Google plus username searches..)
- These days, Google spends more time trying to take content from web pages, and insert the answers at to of page. They want to be wikipedia, with you never leaving their page.
All of the above, and more, show a steady decline in the desire for precise results, and instead, a desire to sacrifice search quality for profit, and pet projects.
As others in this thread have said, Google isn't Google any more.
Internet search algorithms should be worth significantly more (and I imagine that this is the case; e.g., I doubt that the combined value of all spam sites together matches Alphabet's market cap).
Given that internet search companies should also have an edge acquiring talent, you would expect that internet search algorithms would win this fight.
I've switched to using DDG as my first search engine of choice because, while its ranking of sites initially is generally weaker than Google's, it gives me much more power to subsequently refine searches.
The problem is that the new trash is much more hostile: it's actively trying to subvert/cover the good stuff.
Projects like IPFS might regain that thing we lost.
This one really stuck out for me, I don't think that stat has ever been public before. This probably means most (if not all) of the folk who built Google's most successful services are no longer with the company. Like a successful open source project where the originators have aged out, and all that's left are hundreds of folk making incremental changes spanning years
Plus Microsoft was quite diversified very early on, about the time they started selling Office. Even now, they're the most diversified Big Tech regarding revenue, except for maybe Amazon.
In terms of anecdata, I know that no one else from my non-SV company new hire class from 10+ years ago is still with the company.
Best comment in the article.
I feel that this is a very recurrent problem on HN in particular and on the internet in general: people anthropomorphizing companies and assigning them human-like intents ("Google is evil", "Exxon is reckless").
We all forget that:
a) companies are nothing but a bunch of people doing things together within some sort of hierarchical structure.
b) the emergent behavior of said group has got precious little to do with the parts that compose it and certainly can't be assigned things like desire, morals, feelings, ethos.
c) as much as we'd *love* to believe b) above or even try to actually implement it (the whole "company culture" kool-aid), the truth is *no one* can get an org as large as Google to do anything, even its CEO. Once the thing is large enough, it basically becomes autonomous.
1. Not believe a word of the "being Googly" thing
2. Understand how big of a lever it is to get others to do things.
3. Are very good at pretending.
But I think Americans really don't understand how different Europe is. Programming is barely a white-collar job here vs. Law or Real Estate, etc. and the quality of life is just lower (less car ownership, much smaller homes without swimming pools or air conditioning, tiny kitchens without garbage disposal, American fridge-freezers or dishwashers, etc.)
The Tech Bro memes don't apply here.
The ocean is like 10-30 minutes away. The coast line is incredible and free for all to enjoy.
He describes his work in London as strict dress code. 1+h sweaty and crowdy train+metro rides(and the same to get home). Long work days.
Dressing is casual. Work is probably <30 mins by car(I have 15 mins single-way, car and bike take similar times).
I even have coworkers who jog to work a few times a week. Showers and sauna are available at work. Work hours are flexible.
He said good food is cheap here. There are excellent restaurants that cost much less than similar ones in London.
Since mid-March, I've been taking 2-3h lunches on the cliffs by the ocean if it's a sunny day. Just laying there listening to the nature. Takes 20 minutes door to ocean for me.
For me this is a high quality of life. How can you put a price on things like this, especially when you(stereotypical US IT worker) have little to no paid vacation, work 8-12h a day, sometimes even on the weekends?
Same thing in London, big urban center. But if you are able to move out into the country, quality of life can improve markedly, especially if you earn the same as you do / can in London.
Same in NL where I live. I'm relatively lucky in that I got a smallish modernish two bedroom house with a driveway, small back yard, etc, but most people can't afford this (hell, housing prices have gone up so much that even I can't afford this house anymore if I were to buy it now!) even if it becomes available on the market.
Meanwhile, my parents live up north, bought a house in the 70's while mortgage rates were >10%, a four bedroom house with a big front- and back yard, which they've turned into their own little paradise (lots of plants, fish pond, roofed sitting area with a box of sigars, etc).
Long term we might end up moving there, but besides our son's school and social life, the biggest factor there is work and income. It may be more feasible with remote work which I've done for the past year and a half now, but not in the current market where every somewhat decent house put up for sale gets hundreds of interested people.
I can't afford a car here though (no parking in Stockholm!)
Oddly defensive considering that a) nobody in the thread seems to be american and b) none of those things apply to your average google employee (the original subject that was being discussed)
Perhaps this is a uniquely american problem, but I doubt very many people at my company actually uses their 30+ vacation days.
That's actually the American problem. For the bunch of European countries where I've worked/interacted a lot with, most people don't have days off left at the end of the year, or maybe have a handful.
And there are some periods when people are gone for long stretches of time (2+ weeks). In France August is practically a national holiday, it's super common to send someone an email in late July and get a reply saying: "I'll be back in early September".
From what I've seen from my US colleagues, they usually take a peppering of 1-2-3 days or maybe a week at most, and if they do have a ton of days off, I can't imagine they use them up.
In Romania I had a case where I had some PTO days saved and I went away on December 20 or so and came back on February 3 (got a bit lucky that year with public holidays, but still).
Last two tech companies I’ve worked at offer unlimited vacation. Which is a funny problem so to speak, as some of my colleagues make a good use of it and others don’t. I’ve used 36 days in 2020, mostly because there was a big push from the HR to make sure people take regular long breaks at least once per quarter (I’ve used only 21 in 2019).
Everybody also gets unlimited paid sick days. At my current company 3+ days require a proof from the Doc, otherwise no questions asked.
There’s also 8 days of bank holidays pa in the UK. These don’t have to be given as paid leave, but I’ve never heard of anyone in an office job to ever work on a bank holiday (unless they wanted to swap)
I usually take 4 weeks in July. Then vacation/time off just before Christmas until a week after New Year.
I have friends who instead of increased salary have asked for more vacation weeks, and have now 7 weeks of vacation. And they use it every year.
Programmers routinely earn more than most doctors and healthcare professionals. Also, being "white-collar" is not about having the highest compensation.
Obviously, private practices, big law firms allow for extremely well paid Law and Medicine jobs. But so do big software corporations.
> the quality of life is just lower (less car ownership
I enjoy renting out a car for trips to unusual locations (places not well served by trains), but I argue that a society with less car ownership is actually a more pleasant one to live in
> much smaller homes without swimming pools
Fair, but is that really common for those who live/commute to work into New York every day?
> or air conditioning
You can just install it, it's much more common nowadays than 30 years ago (obviously, more common in the south, and more common when you actually own the property, instead of renting)
> kitchens without garbage disposal, American fridge-freezers or dishwashers,
indeed, never saw a garbage disposal unit. Besides some banana peels I barely produce any organic waste in my kitchen, though. I think I'd bin it in the same "nice marginal improvement" category as robo toilets in Japan.
> American fridge-freezers or dishwashers
You can just buy them. These kind of items are a small fraction of the cost of a home. If you can afford a home, you can also afford these.
Just curious, in which European country do programmers earn more than most doctors? I'm from Germany and doctors here easily earn 6 figures, something virtually impossible for a programmer or SWE.
And then those are usually in a shared building so you can't "just" install air conditioning even then.
The housing crisis is the real issue for sure.
Investment funds are buying up new housing estates by outbidding normal buyers. Even John Lewis, a retailer, is getting into the housing business . The whole system is broken. Personally, I'm half-seriously considering buying a boat.
(edit. Main point, Sweden is not necessarily a representative case of "Europe".)
I’m not sure I’d conflate less material goods with lesser quality of life.
I think the quality of life is objectively better in most of (western) Europe. Maybe for software engineers in specific it’s worse.
He's not conflating fewer material goods with lower quality of life.
He's conflating lack of things which provide life experiences with lower quality of life.
Not having AC absolutely sucks when the weather's over 30. Not having a house with a backyard and a swimming pool means you can't have people over for a pool party (experience, not material good). Etc.
If you kept on that line of logic, a PlayStation 5 and an espresso machine are also "not material goods" and are ways to create experiences, and I can't actually tell where that line of thought stops.
For the espresso machine, it's an "experience machine" if you're a espresso aficionado. If you're getting it to show off and barely use it, it's a "material good".
I'd draw the line like this: if it makes you personally feel good many times, through your interaction with the thing, it's worth buying. If it's just/primarily to show off, then it's a "material good". Unless you have some sort of personality disorder where you feel good by showing your stuff off repeatedly to acquaintances.
Only if you are used to air conditioning. Otherwise it’s just a hot day.
Not having a pool means you do a barbeque party instead. Not that you have no party at all.
Europe is different than US for many reasons. In some things it might be because we failed to achieve what Americans did. In other things it's just because we prefer it that way.
"A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation."
-- Gustavo Petro
This is, for me, very true. I lived in the US and would not say that having to own a car and drive everywhere is desirable. Vast areas of land are given over to cars — roads, parking lots, etc, to the degree that walking is discouraged or even impossible (no sidewalks, 4-8 lane roads). The air is smoggy. The act of driving itself is not enjoyable — traffic is awful (hi 101) and cities are a stop/start grind. It's miserable.
Of course, if I had been walking instead, this bad driver would have likely taken me out.
In most of the US this is not true. Air quality in Europe is significantly worse than in the US, in general. This is form my anecdotal experience, but you can also see it in online sources
Check similar sized cities on the map: https://waqi.info/
We have to thank Europeans' genius idea to subsidize/force diesel engines on people's cars. Each diesel car pollutes as much as a bus, and half of cars are diesel! We saves 0.001 of CO2 emissions for the next decades, but we got pollution and cancer and deaths instead.
While they're certainly available in Europe, side-by-side fridge-freezers (as opposed to fridge-over-freezer models) are more popular in the US. I don't get the appeal personally, but in any case, both configurations are available in both places.
Personally I don't get it. We have a standard freezer on top fridge, though the size is definitely bigger than what I'm used to from Europe and we have a chest freezer in the garage. That's not uncommon for families in Europe either tho. More of a flat vs house living situation thing.
As a student (living in a flat in Europe) I always joked that I'd go to the 'basement' to my freezer when I wanted a Pizza. I didn't have a basement actually but the parking garage, which was basically shared with (tho sectioned off) a supermarket's parking garage and the supermarket.
> the quality of life is just lower (less car ownership, much smaller homes without swimming pools or air conditioning, tiny kitchens without garbage disposal, American fridge-freezers or dishwashers, etc.)
All of those things are why I actively choose to live in Europe over the US.
Having an american fridge freezer, a pool and 2 cars wouldn't increase my quality of life, but sacrificing access to quality healthcare, reasonable rights of not being abused by my employer, neighborhoods designed to be walked around, not driven, etc all _would_ dramatically reduce my qol
I really miss that side of the freedom in the US. It's also much easier to drive in the US due to the huge, straight roads.
But isn't that an extremely rare event?
Maybe you move more than anyone I've ever known but I don't see how something so minor could meaningfully affect quality of life.
This sounds overly dramatic. And I feel the urge to express that this isn't my picture of working as a SWE in the EU at all. Nor was it at any point in a very turbulent ~20 years career in tech and with many companies. Quite the contrary.
Perhaps it depends where exactly you're situated. And of course companies with low standards can be found – but that's probably true for both sides of the Atlantic.
This made my day. You sir have your priorities in order.
Even at the inflated SV salary values, very few colleagues I know went to buy a house there. Buying usually means leaving the valley.
> quality of life is just lower (less car ownership, much smaller homes without swimming pools or air conditioning, tiny kitchens without garbage disposal, American fridge-freezers or dishwashers, etc.)
I don't see why half of those necessarily mean "lower quality of life"
A car in the US is a necessity. Same for the fridge-freezer where you keep your big perishable purchases (whereas in European cities you can just walk to the grocery store?). And of course, none of these are exclusive to the US
I totally agree with the air-conditioners, though it seems to be changing. Swimming pools are a money pit and to be fair only in few countries it's worth having one at your house.
I live in Lisbon. Most people don't have AC at home, we survive.
Fun fact, according to Windy, Lisbon has 21°C right now, while eg Murmansk has 29°C.
Hmm, not sure where you are (Europe is a big place). In Ireland, programmers would, I think, earn more on average than lawyers, and certainly than estate agents.
> less car ownership
I wouldn't consider that to be inherently a quality of life issue. I don't own a car because I don't really have a use for one. If I did have a use for one, that would imply a long driving commute, which would likely make my quality of life worse.
> tiny kitchens without garbage disposal
Easily available, they cost about 200 euro. Though you risk the wrath of Dublin City Council by installing one here; they create undue load on wastewater treatment (I believe this is also the case in some US cities, actually). Never understood the appeal, tbh.
> American fridge-freezers
From about 500 euro in my local electrics shop. Again, never understood the appeal vs the conventional fridge-over-freezer designs, but they're there if you want them.
From about 200 euro ditto. Wouldn't be without one.
Again, Europe's a big place.
I've lived in both the US and the EU, I'll take the EU 11 times out of 10, even if it means I'll lack the crucial aspect of owning... Garbage disposal systems?
Less cars is also a good thing
You won't get a salary as high as Silicon Valley itself but it will still be much higher that other companies, and the work will be pretty similar.
However I think you're mistaken about quality of life between US and Europe (I've lived in both) or it really depends what country you're talking about.
First of all you're talking about standard of living - and it's not lower at least in western Europe (Germany, France, UK, etc...) It's similar to US. Regarding quality of life, I'd argue that it's higher in Europe because of health care, better work balance, better town planning, etc.
You're talking about car ownership like it's an indicator of quality of life, on the contrary we have a single car in my family even though we can definitely afford a second car and I couldn't be more happy to be able to live without taking my car for every single trip.
There is a bunch of US companies that do that and EU devs can get 200-400k while working from some <1500 EUR monthly expenses place in Europe. Not sure who would care about EU/UK/CH-based FAANGs with the salaries they offer in the EU.
I have friends leaving other jobs, that they spent years in university for, and have some years of experience in, for an entry-level frontend development job that pays double after a few months bootcamp.
Maybe you can't get filthy rich as easily, but I don't see that as a bad thing, my life is comfortable and I'm better off at 26 than almost anyone I know in other jobs, even people much older than me.
Sure, if you're a doctor or a lawyer you might be paid a bit more than a dev, but with much more hours per week, a very stressful work environment, and less respect. It's also much harder to quit and switch companies if you don't like what you're doing.
Hardly - programming is very much a white-collar job. It's just that white-collar work in the UK doesn't pay all that much compared to the rewards of capital ownership or being able to dip a finger in the money hose that flows through the financial markets. Seriously, check what chartered professionals are actually paid, and for what hours.
My favourite example is that the Prime Minister was paid more as a Telegraph columnist than his official PM salary: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/03/daily-teleg... ; the current PM salary is £161,401 or about $225,000. How does that compare to SV pay grades?
Programmer pay looks a lot more like that of footballers. The prizes are distributed towards the top. The programmers who enable companies to take over the world - monopolize entire markets - get bid up; everyone else is on far more normal pay. Lionel Messi is paid $130,000,000 to dominate the world. https://www.sportsadda.com/football/news/highest-paid-athlet...
Also new York is fun, even when frugal. Even with kids I'd wager it's a great experience to have in ones life. Staying in the same house or city all your life is overrated.
Garbage disposal unit sounds like a questionable idea (more unnecessary things in waste water for the water treatment plant to sort out), and not compatible with the dominant paradigm here where we assume everyone sorts and recycles their biowaste, metals, glass, paper, plastic, and cardboard. For the small things now and then one does not intentionally throw into kitchen sink, I'd figure GBU is unnecessary if you have good plumbing in the first place. (I am soon 30-y.o., I have never encountered a plumbing problem anywhere I live.) Old houses built in 1960s / 1970s used to have garbage chutes, but I think they were deemed unhygienic?
Before the recent hot summers, air conditioning was not often needed except for handful of days in a year, but in our climate things that are needed, like three-layer glass windows, central heating, apartments without draft or cold but with uninterrupted hot water have been around for ages.
But yeah, the average is higher than the highest paid positions in Europe, except maybe the top of the top senior ones.
Do Europeans not have fridge-freezers? Or do you mean the really large double door fridges?
Most of the things he mention doesn't really hold truth, at least not where I live. Go outside the cities, and you'll find plenty large houses. As for AC and pools...parts of Europe doesn't really need the first, and the second is also kind of luxurious, at least to me. I've got a 5 minute walk to a fresh water beach when the temperature is high enough, and when it's not I really don't want to be in the water outside at all...
Still not as good as Google salaries, but better lifestyle for sure.
How would that work? Your personal income will still be taxed based on where the employee resides. The company has to disburse income for someone to use it.
It can be anything from "multiple houses, cars, quickly growing investment portfolio, and etc." to "barely anything aside from a few months worth of salary in the savings account". The latter seems extremely unlikely though, most people hover somewhere in-between those two extremes.
For example, look at some engineers who worked at Google's self-driving division/Waymo. From the court papers (from that trial where the lead was accused of taking the proprietary info to Uber's self-driving division), it was mentioned that some of them got paid like $10mil/yr. This is in a completely different ballpark, compared to what most of engineers at Google make. Just goes to show the wild variation in pay, which makes it difficult to estimate without knowing the details.
There you will get a clear view of why you DO NOT want to become a frontend developper at Google.
(plus the dilemna of maintaining internal tools).
(Disclosure: I work on ads at Google, speaking only for myself)
Their team only (though it's a big "only") needed to do the work to make this existing type info available to TS
Interesting example. Being grateful to your country for giving you the opportunity to work to pay insurance bills to have a child, because there's no universal healthcare?
I'm assuming this is sarcasm?
Second, it's not that difficult for me to picture a scenario in which someone is grateful for the access to healthcare and health insurance that a typical Googler in the US has. Particularly if you've ever traveled to poorer countries (or just been exposed to more disadvantaged environments) where a lot less is taken for granted, it's often easy to find things in your life for which you are grateful.
Besides, they're likely not paying additional insurance premiums on top of Google's contributions, so the insurance bills are usually copays that aren't ludicrously high.
I agree with the sentiment of being grateful for access to good healthcare, however being grateful to the US for the privilege to pay for their private healthcare (when less fortunate US citizens are dying because they can't afford treatment ) is a strange sentiment from the perspective of a non-US citizen.
The U.S. is almost entirely alone among developed nations in lacking universal healthcare , and on a per capita basis, spends more than double the average of all OECD countries .
> Second, it's not that difficult for me to picture a scenario in which someone is grateful for the access to healthcare and health insurance that a typical Googler in the US has.
> Particularly if you've ever traveled to poorer countries (or just been exposed to more disadvantaged environments) where a lot less is taken for granted, it's often easy to find things in your life for which you are grateful.
I agree wholeheartedly with both of these points.
Right, I obviously have a huge problem with that situation. I was referring to this part (inserted below) in your original comment, which draws an implication between universal healthcare and paying insurance bills. The US is far from the only developed nation to have private insurance providers with insurance premiums. For instance, here in Switzerland which is admittedly something of an outlier, the average adult pays over $200 per month in premiums. I believe many other central European countries are around $100/mo or perhaps a bit less.
> Being grateful to your country for giving you the opportunity to work to pay insurance bills to have a child, because there's no universal healthcare?
(In fact, most of the systems that seem to score highest in efficiency according to reports I've seen rank these public-private systems in countries like the Netherlands or Germany higher than nationalized systems, but I still don't actually prefer it having lived in both the US and another developed nation with a relatively functioning system of private insurers.)
These people, with professional jobs at famous companies in California and New York, are the 1% who are meant to pay for all new social spending.
Yeah I'd be really grateful too. /s
As a Brit though, I'll give credit to my wife for the birth of our child[ren].
Because of the TypeScript work I was also one of ~30 "global approvers", with the access to to approve code changes to any project at the company.
Oof. Google will regret this snafu.
I hope he's happy at his new job.
Imagine working somewhere for 17 years and then facing this:
> The full story is complex but effectively a bureaucratic mistake led to my position falling into question, despite plenty of support for keeping me around from my immediate management chain.
I’ll just go ahead and admit that had this happened to me, I would certainly act a bit more salty over it.
I interpreted it as the powers that be began to question the value of his role/position.
There was a principal engineer on my team who literally played video games all day.
I know the author isn’t in that category at all, but I can imagine that these companies are using the post pandemic time to prune some leeches.
Another guy I worked directly with. He had at some point a couple hundred reports, but downshifted to an ordinary engineer. I was struck by how profoundly chill and unambitious he was, how indifferent to flaws in his code (entirely lacking any kind of engineer's pride). But at least he was doing honest and useful work.
The stories they tell are golden though.
As an aside, isn't it a strange quirk in our capitalist society that we perceive workers that were vital for early success but then stopped contributing much as "leeches" but early investors who do the same are totally OK and rightfully own their share of the later pie?
Maybe I am missing something but this sounds quite appealing to me. Sounds like one can chase moonshots , try out crazy ideas without the pressure, scrutiny and inevitable stress of working with the hard-driving execs
The distinction here is equity vs payroll. Early investors are paid handsomely in equity. Early employees, typically, are as well, having accumulated stock for a decade plus. However, having early contributors hugely over-impact your payroll isn’t really fair.
I have been in enough promo committees to recognise a pattern.
You have an IC performing perfectly fine, year after year, producing high quality work. After 3rd or 4th year of them staying in a position some senior director raises the inevitable question; "why is this person not being put up for promotion?" which then leads to "why are they not growing".
The person in question is just not interested in growth-treadmill anymore but no, our system won't let them work peacefully. ICs have to either grow or move out. All the while the management layer who create train wreck after train wreck ("bureaucratic mistake" as the author charitably puts it) will seamlessly glide within and between companies.
ICs have to prove relentlessly whereas managers coast along.
If you look at the linked "my move away from California" post, you'll see that he moved to the Portland, Oregon area during the pandemic.
* EDIT *
He says that he was working out of the Portland office, but the majority of open engineering roles there (not many in total) are very specialized.
My guess is that post-pandemic, now that Google offices will be re-opening, they don't want people spread all over the place, and he wasn't willing to move back to California. While his managers were most likely supportive of him working fully remote, Google isn't very flexible when it comes to fully remote work.
Google has become remarkably flexible over the past few months when it comes to fully remote work (see press from May, e.g. https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/05/tech/google-office-remote-wor...). Not quite as flexible as some companies, but it's night-and-day compared to a couple of years ago. The "now that Google offices will be re-opening, they don't want people spread all over the place" conjecture doesn't match what I'm seeing internally; in fact, quite the opposite: there's a much higher acceptance of remote work / "spreading all over the place" than in the past.
Shocking how it can take 17 years to realize that. And it's for a smart person! One really has to congratulate early Google execs for creating this super pervasive myth of genius around what's just another corporation.
Related - Systemantics is not a joke, it's an honest attempt at describing reality: https://mobile.twitter.com/SysQuotes
> SYSTEMS DON'T WORK FOR YOU OR FOR ME. THEY WORK FOR THEIR OWN GOALS.
Though you can be sure that in the future many new execs will spin the veil of uniqueness, genius, coolness around something new, something that in reality is as benign as Google - an internet advertising company, a company that maxed out the craft of selling ads. Over and over again. It's a fascinating thing to watch.
That's a hell of a way to lose a 17-year veteran. Wish I could say I'm surprised, but having exited FB due also to a short-sighted bureaucratic decision... such are the policies of a FAANG