If you work at FAANG - your RSUs (most likely) have doubled in about a year. You could easily already be getting paid more than the max offer for the level above where you're currently at.
I like my boss and team, but if someone offers me enough money and a fully remote job, well, it's going to be hard to say no.
Starting to wonder if there is simply no chance of getting even close to the FAANG TC and whether I'm stuck for the 4 years at my current job.
Local/non-FAANG companies pay around $50-130k USD equiv total comp (£35-100k) for junior -> senior software engineer
FAANG pay $150k at least for junior positions. If you're a senior engineer in London you can get a 50% pay bump for becoming a junior at a FAANG company. (I personally went from senior non-fang to mid-level fang for roughly triple my total comp)
Now you've got Shopify, Instacart, Uber, Snap, Wish, and others, all of them strongly competing on total comp, all growing rapidly.
That doesn't seem surprising -- why would they?
Now, that creates two markets, those who can't move to the US (won't pass the higher bar for US immigration) and those who won't. I've seen SV comp for the latter. But we're talking O-1 tier engineers.
London, U.K. is about the same as Japan. I don’t have experience with India, and my knowledge of Canada is too far out of date to be useful.
All those salaries are very good for the local market, but are also much lower than SF.
All I can say, is in personal anecdotal experience, I make about the same money (with better hours!) in my current factory job than I would have if I finished my degree and went into software, and with none of the stress or crunch time or deadline associated. For example, looking at Glassdoor they have Google's Toronto office reporting starting salaries of ~$90-100k - while my base pay is only ~$62k ($29.50/hr) we get double-time overtime after 40 hours, I can (and have) clear(ed) well over $130k/yr with minimal effort.
They're offering decent salaries compared to other tech jobs in the area, but it's average-at-best if you start comparing unskilled labourer salaries in as a comparison.
I don't know anything about the income tax rates, but 65-70% pay seems like you'd take home more than an SFer being paid SF rates.
FAANG is also a horrible acronym for the top paying companies since two of those companies don’t even pay that well. Companies like Airbnb, Pinterest, Lyft, LinkedIn and many others will outpay FAANG companies and their equity is fully liquid.
I also got an offer from a crypto exchange which is a household name, but they claimed they switched to non-negotiable offers and wouldn't even match my current TC. I had to walk.
Now wondering if this is just some game that companies are playing to either make themselves seem more selective or show "growth" through hiring / headcount to make investors happy. The interviewers also seem less enthusiastic about selling their companies to me, and more like they already made up their minds that they do not like me. One kept asking me more and more questions to cause us to run out of time so that I wouldn't be able to code.
The questions I'm being thrown at all are ridiculous in difficulty now, and the interviews feel like they are designed for me to fail. Who can code a segment tree in 20 minutes? I ended up completing this one, and it wasn't even the hardest question I was asked. I even had a recruiter ask me to prepare for their company's interview by doing TopCoder Div 1 500 problems. That's absurd (IOI difficulty level). There are people in Eastern European countries who do nothing but train for these competitive programming problems with coaches and all since secondary school.
I suppose I will just remain in my relatively cushy FAANG job. Despite having very little time to prepare, being employed while interviewing can be a good thing, after all.
Market conditions are making it hard to retain and very hard to hire. We've done a bunch of other stuff to recruit - which I described in another comment here - and it's making a huge difference. Employers who don't respond to these market conditions are in for a rough ride.
My old employer gave me a 3% raise in January and tried to make it some big gift. I left anyway in April for a 50% bump. New company, same level of responsibilities.
The old employer underpays everyone, so that percentage is higher than it otherwise would be, but still.
I think it's healthy for all of us to reflect on how fortunate we are in this field, sometimes.
Where would I get a job like this?
I hate my job a little but the hate is not strong enough for me to leave a 1m TC job for a lower TC.
I'm stuck basically. I'll be gone after 4y definitely
Though I admit, it’s hard to imagine walking away from 1m per year, even if you don’t necessarily need it...
And by my experience if you don't need to work, live gets really boring quickly. All your friends are at work, can only do such travel, if you do your hobby 8/5 a week it gets boring.
I totally get that it would be so dull to do no work for more than a few weeks, ha. I’ve taken a couple months off between jobs before and had plenty to do, though.
1m for a senior (not staff) engineer is very hard to come by.
The stock can 3x more.. so I'm holding and hopeful.
This has been one of the driving motivations behind literally every job change I've gone through since I started working in the software field.
I interviewed with one company, things went well, I was interested, but they came out of the gate with total comp that was lower than I was looking for. They were looking at a stock grant of X over 4 years. That would have worked, provided that I was basically guaranteed a refresher each year for X (so that by year 4 I'd making X per year in RSUs). I found out that refreshers were usually not for that amount, and not guaranteed (barring performance issues). I indicated I was looking for X per year in RSUs (given the salary and bonus they were looking to offer). The recruiter was a bit shocked, but went and asked anyway...she came back with an offer granting 4X RSUs upfront, meaning, yeah, I'd be getting X every year, starting from year 1. And I'd still be eligible for refreshers and whatnot each year.
They were actually looking for two people for the role I was applying to. After starting, I met the other guy that was hired a few months before me. He had moved from even further than I had. After talking, he mentioned he was given relocation assistance. When I asked him about the explicit mention that that would not be offered. He simply told me he noticed it, but asked anyway and got it.
Even if they stuck with no relo, they might have extra budget for sign on, which is equivalent. For whatever reason, companies tend to be sticklers for budget allocation, even if total amount equates, even to their bottom line. Relocation assistance might be frowned on as an 'unnecessary' overhead cost ("can we not find good people already in the area?!"), but a higher sign on wouldn't ("it's a competitive market"), despite also being overhead.
I've certainly had recruiters bring up the comp at the start, and I've indicated it was too low, and we've moved on. From the company's perspective, that probably makes a lot of sense, especially if they have no wiggle room. But from a candidate perspective? I've never had a company who wanted to hire me fail to meet my ask (with the caveat my ask has never been completely outside of market, even if it's outside of their own guidelines, and with the stipulation I was willing to take comp increases outside of just salary); if the role sounds good, the company sounds good, I'm willing to spend the time to make them want me before I ask about comp. If they come in high enough, great, no time wasted; if they come in low they have every reason to try and negotiate with me.
Once you're there, figure out how much sounds like a lot and ask for even more. Either they'll surprise you and accept the terms, or you will negotiate "down" to the amount that sounded like a lot. Worst case scenario, they don't take the deal and you reject them to go find a new negotiation until you get what you want
Happy to do coding questions, but not 8 hour long take-home projects. Those have screwed me too many times
I admit I'm speaking from ignorance here, and am only curious to gain more insight into this.
Yes, absolutely they can! And almost nobody talks about this. Most of the conversation about take-home projects surrounds cost/benefit ratio, but almost never as a negotiating tactic and sunk costs.
The fastest way to avoid companies like that is to set boundaries on what you will do and will not do. Good recruiters LISTEN and respect this. I do not want my time wasted and likewise for the recruiters and companies I am talking too.
With the greatest respect, the vibe I'm getting is "this person is prone to reacting in a volatile manner when things are not to their liking."
I've ended up wasting a lot of my own time with this strategy. I'll get to the point where they want to extend an offer, I name my number, and then we have an awkward 15 minutes on the phone (e.g., "the VP couldn't ever approve that amount") and then I say I'm not interested 24 hours later.
This is impossible to know though, as is its breakdown. Many places have very fixed limits on salary and bonus, for instance, but RSUs and sign on they have a lot of freedom.
Even the places that have fixed budgets all around may have multiple openings of varying levels; a strong interview showing may cause them to bump the level they'd look to hire you at, just to meet your comp expectations (I've seen this happen numerous times as a manager when a candidate came back asking for more).
If they bring it up at the start, great, it saves a lot of time for both of you. If -you- bring it up at the start, though, you're just closing off opportunities.
Fair enough if you only want to work for a company that offers your target comp -without- negotiation (since even if they're open to negotiating at the start, you're doing so when your hand is weakest), but otherwise there is nothing to be gained by bringing it up at the start.
It seems so strange that they’d offer X and just after being asked would switch to 4X. That’s a huge range.
Yes, I was surprised as well that they were willing to move that much. However, I know RSUs tend to be a lot easier to move on for companies than salary or bonuses (in fact, the salary offered was about 5% lower than my prior; I didn't even touch on that, instead looking to make up the difference, and then some, in the RSUs), and vary a lot more in the market. There are some companies that don't offer RSUs at all, pre-IPO startups whose grants are of questionable value, companies that grant RSUs yearly but only to a percentage of their employees, companies that give comparatively small amounts of RSUs to all their employees, and companies that give comparatively large amounts of RSUs to all their employees. That means the market range is huge and increases can more easily be justified; market range for salary tends to be far more constrained.
It's possible this may have also been due to being outside of SV; while the company has an office in my metropolitan area, I don't believe it's mostly dev, and while they have salary guidelines for outside of SV for dev, they may not for equity. So it may have been that the initial RSU offer was tailored to the locale, and my ask was okayed because it was in line for dev. Point still stands; they were incentivized to move, and they were able to. Had I asked at the start they would likely not have, simply because a recruiter isn't going to ask to make an exception for a candidate they haven't even interviewed yet.
If you're playing chicken on who can waste the most capital against these guys, you're probably going to lose (otherwise, you wouldn't be applying for a job there in the first place, they'd be asking you to hire them).
They've got a pool of other people like you, they know it and they know roughly what it'll cost to find another you. They might be willing to jump a little to avoid that but they're not going to bend over for it. They also want someone willing to take orders, not someone too aggressive, so that might signal that you could be a problem. I'm not saying don't stick up for yourself and try to get your piece, just that you should be careful playing these games unless you're prepared to lose and walk away.
2 of these offers where double my current TC through negotiation. It's not just FAANG but startups making very good offers. I have 3 YOE.
Always ask for at least 20% more + a signing bonus
Have competing offers
Be willing to walk away. If they can't do it there's another company that will.
My best two offers:
200k CAD Base, 390k USD RSU /4 years, 20k CAD Sign on
200k CAD Base, 330k USD in Options / 4 years, 20k CAD Sign on
I'm also still waiting on some numbers from Google Canada but I doubt they will match.
What types of companies were the 2 best offers?
Wish is one so post-ipo.
The other is a Series D startup based in SF.
I think remote is your best bet for high salary in Canada.
edit: also in Van.
The other is a Series D startup based in SF
(I've not done this as such, but I'm a technical writing consultant and the way you get more money from clients is similar.)
Also, I enjoy the posts by Josh Doody: https://fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/
2. When asked, give this number as your desired target, but a lot of times they ask about old pay. if the old pay differs greatly, avoid the topic by pointing out how 'the old job requirements are different, benefits are different, etc. But if they press on this number, tell them, don't lie or completely avoid it
3. Assume the hiring manager has 15% over the offer amount. this amount may also impact your future raises, so it may be better to cap your ask at 10%. but don't be afraid to go ham asking more for starting bonus, longer vacation, golden parachute, etc
4. Good luck!
Now you get to negotiate fridays off, 2 months of vacation, and a golden parachute of $X per year worked. Everyone is mad at CEOs but I once negotiated a $25k golden parachute for when I left, _just to see if it was possible_
It appears to matter in practice. Perhaps some people are struggling to talk around the question.
> A study published in June 2020 from researchers at Boston University’s School of Law found that, following the implementation of salary history bans, workers who changed jobs saw their pay increase by 5 percent more than comparable workers who changed jobs in the absence of a ban, with even larger benefits for women and African Americans.
Been in the industry 25 years and never once agreed to disclose my previous pay. Don’t do it. Ever. It’s none of their business and will only be used against you.
Compensation really is as high as levels.fyi suggests, and even higher once stock growth is factored.
But be warned that if your current company decides to let you go then you probably need to commit to the new company.
I need help on getting to the salary negotiation part with multiple companies at the same time though.
This is the instruction booklet for landing a lunar lander on the Moon. I need the one for the Saturn V.
2nd: Submitting resumes goes nowhere. You need referrals. Ask for them shamelessly. You don't need to know the referee. That will at least get your resume looked at. This is their game, so play it.
3rd: have an idea of the timeline to an offer for various companies. Do your Google/Facebook interviews early, more nimble companies later. Start the whole thing off with some practice interviews at companies you don't like. The goal is to have multiple offers in play at the same time.
4th: Don't tell recruiters about your other offers until it's too late and they've decided that they want you. Only tell them about offers that they might compete against (usually their direct competitors), 2 others max. If you'd work at company A for $80 b/c they have a cool product, but would need $100 to work at company B b/c they suck, when you tell company B about your offer at company A, fudge that company's numbers upward. Otherwise, you'll get an offer for $81 from company B and turn them down.
Then I attended a seminar - the question was asked who used agencies and who used their "network" for new jobs / freelance work.
I was the only hand up to go used agencies and the traditional job hunt.
So it's the old saw - keep a profile up - blog, project, podcast whatever, so you can use that as an excuse to stay in touch with ex-colleagues so that they might think of you when they are hiring in 3 years.
As I said not a lesson I have learned but people who earn more than me recommend it
Log on once a week and like posts by other folks (job posts, interesting articles, whatever). Send a congrats message as suggested by LI when someone starts a new job. Send someone a job that seems like it might be of interest to them when you see it. Post something you wrote/built/read about.
The goal is to keep in touch so that when you are ready to start looking, you aren't starting from ground zero.
Lather, rinse, repeat for each offer. The better offer may be salary, perks, or just better work conditions. I once left a company after working there for 9 days because I got an offer working with my friend. I didn't even get a better salary and my friend ended up leaving after 3 months..
My background: I'm somewhere around the 20 years of experience mark, a bit more than a quarter of that as a dev at a FAANG, a bit less than a quarter of that as a hiring manager / senior executive for startups (in one case, nearly quadrupling the number of devs in my org in a year; in another, managing a 4-5 dozen devs org).
The ideal situation is looking for a job while you have one that you are at least mostly-happy with. Or at least one where you can stay for at least another few months still -- in case you don't get the offers you want. And have a honest idea of how much you should or want to make. Ideal scenario is having close and honest friends that are peers (or even better: hiring managers) in your domain that you are comfortable talking money with.
Go through those companies in some order (most excited to least excited if you're in a hurry, least excited to most excited if you want to get the best offer possible) and interview at 1-2 at the same time, in order. Pass the interview at least up to the point where you're talking salary. In my experience, it's rarely upfront, which is an annoying waste of time if the candidate and company are on totally different planets regarding salary expectations, but having been a hiring manager, I get it .
Then get offers, or not. As hard as you can without pissing the company off (pissing off a hiring manager is harder than most people think, just be at least somewhat nice and reasonable about the whole thing) -- make sure to skip over HR and talk straight to the hiring manager, before and after the interview . Preferably, ask to book the post-interview meeting during your pre-interview chat, so the hiring manager has extra peer pressure to actually show up "in person" (well, on the phone). Bonus points for reaching out to a senior director or (for a small enough company) a C-level executive on LinkedIn.
If you get all offers, you probably are asking less than you should. No offers, much more. 50/50? You're asking just the right amount. Not all refusals are salary-related, but for now, companies can't afford to be too choosy, so overall, market bias should be on your side. It's a time consuming process, but for a lot of people, frankly there's a 10-20% salary hike on the line every few years -- how much time is that worth to you? And don't feel bad for the "poor hiring managers" whose offers you do not accept in the end . Keep in mind most of the advice on the internet is from recruiters and hiring managers that have a vested interested in candidates not shopping around (for a tangentially related topic, read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Tech_Employee_Antitrust_L... and think about this topic, hard).
Finally, do this every year or two, even if you have no intention of leaving your current place. First, it'll leave a trail of companies (and hiring managers, that may go to a company you're a better fit for) knowing your name and wistfully thinking about the great candidate that got away. And second, it's a great thing to know exactly your worth on the market. I know folks who've doubled their income in less than five years this way.
To be fair, there's the (I believe very small) chance that your current employer will hear about your shenanigans -- and that could bite you in the ass in the (very) short term. Personally, I've never seen that, either as a candidate or hiring manager and for me personally, the risk is 100% worth it. Caveat lector.
 When I hired, I usually had 5-6 roles opened in my budget, and if your interview process proves to me you're a talented but more junior candidate than I hoped for, I might compromise but offer you below the bracket I was thinking about and raise the experience bar for the next hire. I usually have some kind of wiggle room of that nature, wiggle room which mostly disappears if I told you the expected salary bracket upfront.
 Admittedly, this is significantly easier at smaller company, where a formal HR is oftentimes just not there yet. You'll get significantly better feedback straight from the horse's mouth, including fun statements like "your salary expectation just doesn't fit in my budget"; though that either means you really asked for more than I can afford, or you did not convince me you're worth that much.
 First, they did a poor job convincing you to work for them and that's explicitly their job during the interview process, whether they know it or not. And second, if the company they hire for is any good, they usually only hire an absolute maximum of 30% of the candidates they interview (usually, much, much less: that FAANG I mentioned way earlier? more like 5%). If they can be choosy, why can't you be? Plus, I remember most of the candidates that I made offers to and said no to me. Not because I'm annoyed at them, but rather (until I left my hiring manager position) because I followed them on social media just in case they said something about their current job being a PITA or otherwise hint they might be looking. Telling a company no is a great way to leave a reputation of being better than they thought, and the good ones will not forget and keep the finger on the offer trigger. Keep in mind the good hiring managers also have a reputation they want to preserve, if they're even half thinking about their own career prospects...
Gotta say, I respect the hell outta that fella for being so honest about that, partially because I've observed the very same phenomenon.
But even junior salaries are going up, I've noticed.
Next PR, more of the same. Now we have a $150k AND a (hopefully not more than) $65k dev fiddling with a simple change.
I don't know. I feel like most dev compensation is kind of random. Like does that senior really produce $40k more in value per year?
I used to think this way. Then I became a manager. (Now I'm an individual contributor/IC again.) Oh, how wrong I was.
Managers do coordination, which is far different than building, but typically more valuable. Why is it more valuable? Leverage.
If I as an IC do the wrong thing and it doesn't get to production, it typically wastes my time (and any time needed to fix the mess, if doing so is harder than `git reset`).
If a team of people do the wrong thing, then that's an entire team's time wasted. Managers exist to ensure that a team is pointed in the right direction. Figuring this out could include meetings (oh so many meetings) with other parts of the business or customers, discussing priorities and timelines and ensuring dependencies are understood and met.
You also need to foster intrateam communication so that Bob learns that Alice has already partway solved problem X, or Alice learns that Tracy has experience in technology Y. Sure, you could rely on ICs to do this, and good ones will, but I've seen communication short circuit big issues and save lots of development time.
Is the manager's effort overhead if, by their efforts (even partially, with the help of other team members), the team solves the correct problem, rather than the wrong problem correctly?
This explanation ignores the political aspect of management (protecting your team from budget cuts, layoffs and being pulled into extraneous meetings/other efforts). I've intentionally ignored this because it was minimal at most places I've been a manager, so I can't speak out of personal experience. But I've heard about other places where this was a large chunk of the value added by management.
I don't envy the politics, but the coordination and meetings are easy. I'd rather be doing that, but you can't get there without moving up the ladder. I was a tech lead for a year and it was probably half coordination and meetings and the other half was troubleshooting and development. It was great... except they didn't promote me to that level.
For support roles, their value comes from the costs that they help prevent. A security expert is like insurance, where they provide value by ensuring the company's product has the minimum chance of being exploited as that could damage the business in multiple ways.
I guess I'm just skeptical and jaded based on my past experiences.
Since you bring up a security team, it absolutely can be estimated there as well, what other companies have had hacks and what did it cost them? How does that compare to the risk on your product and the damage to the business if you were compromised?
Not to mention a $40k salary difference means you should be providing multiple times that difference in value to the company. Just providing $40k of additional value is a rounding error for most reasonably sized companies, I've worked on projects where two people provided >$1M of ongoing cost savings per year.
Then how does it work? It seems that senior devs should make the same as junior devs if the numbers aren't tied to value.
"The business makes a decision based on what it takes to get what they need and salary can easily vary based on social aspects afterward. The number tells you something, but not everything."
On an individual level that might be true, but that doesn't address it at the aggregate level.
It's not cheap if they are willing to pay for it. That's why senior salaries keep going up. It's a tradeoff--they are willing to pay more for the privilege of not losing the time.
For the first N months, sure, but then, you have a senior and a trained junior, who is hopefully on their way to being a mid. So it's less of an expense and more of an investment in my eyes.
But like any upfront investment, there is a time when the costs outweigh the benefits, especially in the early days.
Too bad companies don't see it that way.
But I agree, too few companies have that perspective.
Officially, my company is only hiring seniors, but if a decent junior applied (at least a year of experience inclusive of internships), I could see us taking them, especially with the right tech stack.
So, apply anyway.
* The company doesn't have a clear idea of what they want, so they fall back on 'years of experience'. Lazy. I've written job descriptions and I know it's hard, but c'mon.
* This will turn off talented folks that might make great team members (esp folks who don't apply unless they have 100% of the qualifications).
I doubt they would openly consider that person, but when there is a candidate in front of them who has reasonably passed some questions and is willing to accept, I would hope they would budge.
This group disproportionately including women and excluding referrals (people who have the same experience, hobbies and education as your current employees)
- got his last job via referral.
If so, I bet they can help you get past the coding tests.
An alternative is to grow your connections by going to meetups or something similar (I know, more unpaid labor! But it will pay off.) After 2-3 months, you should know the regulars and can have the same conversation with them. For bonus points, offer to help out--meetups I've encountered are usually looking for some kind of help, whether that be running a meeting, finding sponsors, helping speakers or something else (even, in the before times, setup and teardown of chairs/meeting space).
Please don't get me wrong: if it was just a few days of practicing, I'd just get it over with and do it. But realistically, with the leetcode arms-race that's gone on for the past few years, where you're expected to solve multiple hard-level problems back-to-back, with no assistance, and as quickly as possible (ie: under 30 minutes), I'm staring down the barrel of probably 3+ months of full-time grinding to memorize as much of them as possible.
Just not worth it. I'm terribly depressed as it is already, and that would just make it much worse.
maybe after a while it would be second nature once a real opportunity presented itself?
Overall currently I don't hate my job anymore and the salary is slightly better. Best decision I made this year.
I don't think people should work for below market wages, only observing how it can change what kinds of products and services are available. And in the case of tech talent, salaries are being driven up by a few key industries that arguably are not where society would like to see tech product and r&d investment concentrated.
In my experience, autonomy, impact, psychological safety, remote work and flexible hours can all make up for substantial differences in pay, and would make the team more productive to boot. These are all aspects of the job a company can directly control; I'm not even talking about things like prestige, "mission" or super-deep technical problems. And yet, it seems like these aspects are all positively correlated with pay: higher-paid positions also come with more respect and a better work experience.
What's keeping companies from changing this? Trust and respect go a long way. Of course, everyone and their dog claims they have a great culture, so a team would need a way to show rather than tell, but that's an eminently solvable problem.
I've seen this work first-hand. For the same level of pay, hiring people on a Haskell project was markedly easier than other projects at the same company: people actively want to use Haskell and it also acts as a real signal that the team is willing to do things differently. The latter might actually be more important!
Or are no longer viable with US based software talent. I know a company that couldn't seem to keep/hire/find US based talent. Now they employ a couple folks from South America. The company gets competent developers and the folks from SA get jobs that they are happy with.
I would love to start the process, to try and get a salary increase anywhere from 30%-100% but unfortunately I’ve stagnated sharply skills wise. Don’t qualify for the jobs I see I think I’d enjoy, and don’t even qualify for the jobs that meet my salary preferences that I’d otherwise dislike. I also would have to be looking at immediately remote roles which just makes things harder. I also am about 90% I could not perform on interviews at most places. Digging myself out of the aforementioned stagnation and prepping for interviews is likely to take years at this point and who knows what the market will look like at that point.
I felt the same way over the past few years and decided to switch to a Technical Product Owner role at the beginning of this year. I used to be your typical HN user who was extremely passionate about programming, learning new frameworks, functional programming, etc, but at some point over my 10 year career I kinda stopped caring about tech entirely. Switching to a product owner role was great for me. I still get to leverage my technical knowledge without having to worry about the actual implementation too much. I also get to develop my soft skills like planning, communication, and conflict resolution, which is frankly a lot more interesting and satisfying than programming ever was.
Take the leap into something you WANT. Skills, Sschmills! You can learn can't you?
Life means learning new stuff all the time. Learning never takes a time out.
The military was a bastion of learned lessons for me. One key takeaway: You are your own best advocate. Everything in an interview or negotiation related to you springs from that viewpoint.
That's one of the most basic you will repeat infinitely.
Use it boldly, not arrogantly.
It’s just about time really. I could skill up but what’s the market going to look like by the point I’m ready.
To the point where I went back and had to rethink applying only to companies I really want to work for.
This is not a flippant reply! I’m totally serious.
Is there a core there worth trying to sell for a tech job?
Getting your foot in the door is the hardest part (like many other industries). I don't have a lot of recent experience, but a boot camp or something similar might be needed to get past the first line of hr screening.
But doing some leetcode and sending out some applications is a pretty low investment way to start!
I used a software support role to get a foot in the door of the tech industry without any college degree, then used that was a way to learn whatever I could/display that I know how to code to get into a SWE role. I think the biggest learning curve I faced was learning "enterprise" software development in terms of design patterns, testing, etc. but it's all learnable once you unearth some of the unknown unknowns.
I'd also avoid using wording like "dabbled" because I've found that people are off-put by that and it comes across as selling yourself short, especially without a formal CS background.
> Most of my projects of note, outside of gaming, are simply little utility scripts for my own curiosities, nothing shared.
Put this stuff up on GitHub or similar.
I was recently involved in recruiting a junior dev at my company, and I was baffled by how lackluster people's portfolios were. Many people didn't have one. Those that did, had one or two school projects, or had a bunch of empty 0-commit forks.
Even one single passion project will make you stand out from the rest.
I'm assuming you have actually learned something and can show the results. Don't just declare yourself a learner, unless your real skill is amazing charisma.
Graduating and acing leetcode is evidence of ability to learn something. What's yours?
I'm sorry, but what does this even mean?
Nothing has changed in a significant way since 1996, other than ops per second and memory bandwidth. If you're an old school C programmer who knows how pointer arithmetic and memory allocation works, you're better than 99% of the total trash new-school Node.js/Django/Rails/React developers who think JSX is some sort of "innovation".
Having "stagnated" is definitely a hiring plus. It means you're less likely to slow down my systems with eight quadrillion layers of dynamic dispatch and abstraction, and you're not going to agitate for infecting my systems with Kubernetes specifically because I now need to orchestrate ten times more production machines to run the ensuing inefficient bloatware.
I can't imagine anyone being more highly sought after than a "stagnating" programmer.
I'm someone who's (supposedly) quite good underneath but has stagnated a lot over the last few years (and on and off before that, sadly) as other issues drained away my ability to work. I'm gradually stabilizing things and trying to find the best way to maneuver, and I'm pretty worried that everything's going to pass me by because my experience isn't of the right kind and I'm not legible enough. The people who are getting the jobs with all the traits I want are the ones who got a Real (that is, close to culturally archetypical) Job in 2018 and did their time in the salt mines with the three verifiable contiguous recent years of experience.
If what you say is true, then it's possible what I mostly have is a marketing problem, and it may be that e.g. some of the “actual demonstration of ability” is more readily solvable with “pull some stuff out into public repositories and freshen it up” than I've been imagining.
Aws is like 800 services, but under it all is ec2 and s3 -- just get familiar with those and the rest are conveniences.
So by stagnating I don’t only mean not up on all the new hype tech, but also the caricature of a “code monkey”. Certainly on paper at least.
> you're not going to agitate for infecting my systems with Kubernetes specifically because I now need to orchestrate ten times more production machines to run the ensuing inefficient bloatware.
Sadly this seems to be the sort of thing that most employers want.
I’ve barely written code in over a year, and haven’t done any significant greenfield work my whole career. The work I have done has been mostly in legacy or obsolete technologies, and by that I mean mostly old version of stuff that’s still out there.
A lot of companies are not allowed to interview the contractors (since they are not employees) and the contract firms can swap anyone into a spot after they get the contract signed. (Granted there is a lot of wink and nod stuff that goes on)
Horrid pay, not allowed to say you worked for (GE, Microsoft, whoever...) and crap benefits but you get real world experience and may even get lucky. You can say..."while at Microsoft I..."
Green field code is easy-mode, not hard mode. Nothing is in your way, nobody expects anything from you (yet) because they have no basis of comparison. The real reason people want to do rewrites is that they want that greenfield experience without having to quit. It almost never works.
It seems that a lot of things are just no possible to learn on the side as well. For example, doing anything at a large scale. That could be HPC stuff or just designing and building systems that need to handle high throughput without slowing or failing. I can’t afford to have the sort of projects that would allow me to learn those things.
The exception I can imagine is working on high visibility OSS projects and is a huge time sink and might as well be a second job.
Also, you’d be surprised how much you can get done on a modern PC with vms or containers, it isn’t the nineties or aughts any longer.
We used to run a full vfx company on what amounts to a single souped $10k PC today.
Or, rent a heavy-duty cloud vm for $100 a month, small investment but clock ticking will get you motivated.
bonus points if you created a vuln or two :)
Hell, pick a dumb company you'll never want to work for, like Uber, if you want real-world practice. Then you at least know what real-world failure looks like.
I recently went from a start-up to FANG after a gap in my resume, and the new job is in an area I have no experience in. Many people I know have gone through similar experiences.
You do need strong interview skill though.
Even if you think the best you can do is the same job you have right now, but in a different place, you'll see a significant bump. But it's highly likely you can do better than that.
Why not try?
Because I doubt I could get the bump I’m looking for doing the same thing I do now with current restraints
> Why not try?
Time sink, especially with people talking about 4-5 stage interviews. Without some level of confidence I’d rather not use all my PTO or try to schedule hack at the moment.
From friends who are at FAANGs, it sounds like the prep work has been about 100 hours. That's re-reading things like Sedgewick and burning all your spare time at things like leetcode.
But I was mainly referring to the actually interviews themselves. 4-5 seems like so many, especially if they fly you out vs just being done remotely.
If your job is comfortable, pays well enough, and doesn’t demand all your waking time then why chnage?
Sure you can always get more money elsewhere, sure there are jobs that pay double what you’re making now, sure there are jobs where you get to do insanely cool shit… but it’s a lot of luck and effort to get these jobs. And then, you free time might vanish (either because it turns out these jobs are “always on” type of jobs, and/or because you’re so drained at the end of your day that you don’t have energy for anything else)
There is really nothing wrong with contempt in my opinion. Especially after 10+ years when you understand how most jobs are basically the same, that there is more to life than work, and that we can’t all be doing cool stuff all the time.
To hedge against being in a position where you’re laid off and can’t get a new job anymore, consider saving aggressively. 50% of net pay is a good starting point. This makes you give very little fucks about whether you’ll get laid off or not and after about 12 years of doing that, you won’t even really need a job anymore.
You’ve already decided you would fail, and that’s all it takes to seal the deal.
Dare a little. You’ve already made a list of your weaknesses. Now make a list of your strengths. Then sell yourself on how each weakness can be explained as a strength. If there’s nothing there at the end of the exercise, you haven’t lost anything. But you may just end up with some useful clarity on your worth in the marketplace.
I got zero hits. Not a single phone screen.
Honestly I was pretty lazy about it, and didn't write cover letters or anything. That might be a contributing factor. That, or remote jobs are far more competitive.
On the other side, last time I was hiring, I was shocked at the low quality of a lot of applications. Applications that weren't complete, didn't have a resume, cover letter and work samples of some kind got immediately sent to the trash.
Every applicant that included a cover letter was way above median quality, and worth interviewing.
I might miss some decent people this way, but it’s been a very helpful first-level filter of applicants.
When I look at a CV ahead of a 2nd or 3rd stage interview I take it for granted that they are serious about the role and qualified for it.
Some of the worst companies I ever worked at didn't value communication skills for senior positions, and I couldn't leave those roles fast enough!
The other area is that DS means something a bit different at each company you could work for. Some may want SQL experts, others want SWE's with some ML and still others expect 100% modeling all the time. You may get filtered out if you don't have the appropriate buzzwords/skills listed on your resume e.g. AWS, BigQuery, Java, python, Tensorflow etc.
CS is easy: Do you know the languages they want, know some algorithms, are you familiar with the same tools and libraries, how's your experience working with people on big projects?
DS: The field is so broad and so deep, you need know everything and if you don't, be prepared to be shredded. Your interviewer may have a PhD in physics, or a master's in economics, or maybe they're just a math major that did a bootcamp course. Do you know NLP and how to build a pipeline? I feel like I get whiplash when I look at DS job postings they're so all over the place.
Check out what people in other industries go through, for context:
Cover letters are a waste, and rightfully ignored.
And they contradict each other, constantly. This is what the difference in culture between companies is.
We can't even globally define what a resume/CV is.
Call it what you will a cover message or note perhaps.
I'm going to throw my voice into the ring on this specific line; recruiters get a bad name (often deservedly), but I found my current job (coming up on 3 years) through a local recruiter that contacted me. The whole job search once they got involved turned into an incredibly fast, easy process; they were great about finding companies that matched up with my skills/conditions, they even did some salary negotiation (which I am terrible at).
It was a really positive experience. I'm not going to say every recruiter would be like that, I'm sure many (even the majority) are not. But if you're looking for a job and having a lot of difficulty just finding places to apply, think about finding a recruiting firm to help.
Do make sure:
- A) that you aren't required to apply through them for every job. My recruiter let me keep applying for my own jobs on the side while they scouted out.
- B) that they actually have some domain knowledge about the industries you're applying to.
- C) that they're actually meeting with you and putting in some effort to understand what your goals are, not just trying to pressure you into taking every job offer that pops up.
I think if you're already a qualified programmer, recruiters can fill in a lot of the groundwork of finding out who's hiring and getting your resume in front of companies, and that just increases the number of options you have. I expected to completely hate the process and instead I came away feeling like it had made my life a lot easier and a lot less stressful.
You need the LinkedIn profile to look good both to humans and to robots, and a worthwhile recruiter will give you substantial help tuning both that and your resume because these will both help them place you, which is how they get paid. Make sure a new recruiter clearly understands this and is happy that you clearly understand it, too. Those who fail this test are not the ones you want to work with.
It will be harder to work with top-tier recruiters if you're working your way up and not yet established. That's not fair, but it's the way of the world, and as always you mistake the ought for the is at your peril. If you're smart and capable, just not yet tested and proven, the ideal is to find a recruiter who will invest in helping you develop. This is tricky and I lucked into it. The best advice I can offer there is, bigger firms with deeper pockets are more likely able to support that.
The unequivocally good news is that there is a lot of interest, money, and good roles sloshing around the market right now. While that's less good for a newer junior than for a proven senior, it is still good for us all.
Don't wait. The article compares the tech industry labor market to the housing market, which I think is accurate. It also compares now with the boom before the 2000-2001 crash, and I think that is accurate too. We can reasonably predict another crash. We cannot reasonably predict when. So get while the getting is good.
I've had calls with recruiters; during the call, I told them "that's not something I'm looking for and thanks for your time" and moved on.
I've also had multiple late-stage interviews that started this way and my current job was found this way.
None of them know tech but a few of them are smart enough to understand that they don't know tech and to focus on mastering the social market.
In the 90's they scoured every math and science field for people to throw into 'web developer' positions. When the bubble collapsed a few of them had learned a lot and stayed around, the rest had to wander off and find something else to do, often back to what they were doing before, if they still could.
The data sciences growth was not organic, which means it probably isn't sustainable either.
consider setting your linked in to "looking", which might cost money, but this gets the attention of even internal recruiters