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Oh lord, "ads engineer".

I weep for humanity.




Humanity has had ad engineers as long as we've had civilization. There was even actual physical engineering going into the intricate stencils used to carve the names of kings promoting themselves into temples and other buildings in ancient Babylon -- over 4000 years ago.


I sincerely hope names like this become widespread if they accurately describe the job. Very helpful to have a bright red "KEEP OUT" sign.


I'm a soon-to-be graduated student and am job hunting, so identifying dead ends is presently very relevant to my life. What about a title like this smells fishy to you? I'm not being pedantic, I really want to know how to avoid crappy jobs.


I work in natural language processing now, but I was working on ads for the last couple of years (right out of college).

There is nothing inherent to ads that makes it universally something to avoid. Different people have different priorities for their ideal engineering job (num of users reached, power within the team, liking the product, liking the actual technical work, etc). I know people who loved working in ads: some of them didn't care a ton about the product they worked on, but loved the challenge of their technical work, and some who truly found the world of ads itself to be interesting. This set of priorities isn't necessarily something you'll realize immediately out of school; I was happy for a while with the technical challenge of the work I was doing in ads, but after a while I realized that my personal preference prioritized the actual product I was shipping higher than I thought, so I switched to something I was more excited about.

Don't listen to anyone stupid enough to tell you that there's any universal rule about jobs in ads being crappy (much less a "dead end"; I couldn't be happier where I am at this point and spending a couple of years working in the area of ads didn't hurt me at all). Keep in mind what your priorities are for your job (they're different for everyone) and do research on what a given role would entail (something that even good CS programs don't really prepare you for: I had to discover my aversion to front-end work the hard way).


> Don't listen to anyone stupid enough to tell you that there's any universal rule about jobs in ads being crappy (much less a "dead end";

Also, be aware that this can change in a few years. Some people consider working for Monsanto a "dead end", because not many other companies would want to hire a person like that afterwards.


>Some people consider working for Monsanto a "dead end", because not many other companies would want to hire a person like that afterwards.

Is this even true? I know it's the kind of thing that's hard to explicitly source, but I have a hard time believing that many companies (let alone most) would blacklist someone for working for Monsanto. I feel like the actual reason to avoid Monsanto would be if it's incompatible with your personal morality, not for some imagined fear of widespread reprisal.


I can't say from direct personal experience, but I had a friend reject a Monsanto job offer, explaining that such a first job could become a negative influence on the rest of her career. I'm not in her field, so I don't know what different kinds of employers think.


Hm ok, I was thrown off by the fact that it sounded like you were saying "not many [desirable] companies would hire you after Monsanto". I honestly think your friend might have just been overreacting. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't work at Monsanto either, but I wouldn't have any illusions about it being a 100% personal decision as opposed to something that would affect my career negatively. My assumption is that most organizations aren't childish enough to turn away employees just because of negative views of their past employers; people take jobs for LOTS of reasons, not simple optimization in one direction (how "good" the company is).

For a facile example, I have a friend who got into environmental law and was very aware that she could either make peanuts defending the environment (at a non-profit) or make bank helping companies destroy it (she has chosen the former so far). If she suddenly had to deal with huge medical costs for a sick kid or something? One would have to be a complete asshole to judge her sight unseen for having a certain company on her resume.


The job might not be that bad. It just depends on what you find intellectually stimulating. The actual algorithm for selecting ads probably won't be what you get to work on. Ad engineer jobs are quite frequently focused on making tooling for the buyers to slice and dice data in lots of different ways to analyze the results of a campaign.

By all means, if it's a good company I would highly suggest taking the job. A job at Facebook or Google for a year working as an ad engineer is still going to be a much better experience than most 'enterprise java' positions at a non-tech company.


I have graduated a long time ago, here is my piece of advice. Do not steer away from the jobs just because someone says so. Try them all. You are young, don't get stuck in one place/industry. This will give you a strong advantage later on.


I don't work in ad engineering, but I do work in marketing/advertising analytics for a major brand.

I get contacted by recruiters every week, so I find any talk about a shortage of jobs in this field to be laughable.


Identifying which ad to show to which user is basically mind reading. I can think of few things which are more intellectually stimulating.




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