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CS career megathread / AMA

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3678
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:33 pm

wizzy wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:49 pm
suralin wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:54 pm
ok so.. i'm glad but also in a slight dilemma:

i ended up doing the uber onsite and i think bc i had nothing to lose? i did really well. like easily the best set of interviews i've ever had and both coding problems* were completely new to me too

anyway ended up getting an uber L4 offer that's at the top of their range:

$154,350 base (maxed out salary range) + $480k RSUs over 4 yrs + $15k annual bonus + $55k annual refresher grant over 3 yrs
= ~$310k

the initial grant has a 1 year cliff, the refreshers don't—monthly vesting for both. she said they can add a sign-on bonus monday. i'm p confident that uber will be IPOing in 2019. the RSUs are benchmarked off their latest 409a valuation, not the preferred price from the latest investment

comparing uber to snap, uber wins in terms of business outlook, ~prestige~ / company rep, and probably quality of ppl i'll work w. snap has the edge on role. i'd be a software engineer, backend, at both but snap is ML and uber will be more data infra. comp is kind of a wash? the thing with snap's TC is that the RSUs are based on the average closing price of aug & sep and so the numbers have already dropped quite a bit. the thing w uber is regardless of IPO confidence it's still not real money yet. upsides are likely close?

reneging would suck but it's not a HUGE deal. (big fan of the "companies will screw you over at the drop of a hat, they're not your friend, look out for yourself first" school of thought)

idk i have a lot more to say but will leave it at that for now. opinions v welcome
wizzy wrote:would again love any thoughts you have
*in total the onsite was 2 coding rounds + 1 system design + 1 eng director behavioral + 1 'bar raiser' combination; the bar raiser is a senior person outside of the hiring team who has ~a mandate to keep overall company hiring bar high~
Oh nice man, that's awesome! Congrats!!

Definitely agree with you on "companies will screw you over at the drop of a hat, they're not your friend, look out for yourself first," so beyond having an uncomfortable convo, I wouldn't really care much about reneging. I'm all for employee autonomy, and I think it's kinda baked into tech hiring anyway with the way that people hop jobs in search of a better role/higher TC over the boomer company loyalty mindset.

I also think Uber will IPO in 2019 from what I've read and from talking to people who seem to know what they're talking about. It's harder to evaluate Uber's financial outlook since they don't have public disclosure requirements, so it's harder to dig into the numbers that support their valuation, but they've also been one of the most anticipated IPOs of the past 5 years, so I think that they're more likely than not to have a successful IPO day/week and that you'd (hopefully) see some stock appreciation between now and then.

Would there be any lock-up period for you going into the IPO?

Also, what do the Snap stock numbers look like now with the average of August/September?

I think I'd lean Uber from everything you've written since they seem to check a lot of your boxes with respect to future of the business, prestige, quality of peers, etc. To me, Snap made a lot of sense vs. FB, but Uber seems to have a lot of the upsides Snap has with possibly fewer downsides.

I obviously don't know nearly as much about the technical side of things as you do, but how much do you value the Snap ML role vs. data infrastructure? Which aspect of infrastructure (if they break it down by data platform, network, dev infra, SRE)? And do you have any insight into Uber's workplace culture (or if that's just Blind gossip)?
thanks man!

yeah after sleeping on it i'm not at all concerned about reneging

good question/point re: lock-up, i believe it's 6 months but i'll check

snap's avg closing price in aug/sep is ~$10.58, so my RSU package is already worth <70% of original :/. comes out to a TC that's almost exactly the same as uber's: 300-315k depending on assumptions

agreed re: similar upsides w possibly fewer downsides. about role, i had been valuing snap ML nontrivially more, but the uber eng director i interviewed w actually reached out late yesterday and we had a good chat (i assume it was a sell call). i asked some tough q's re: culture, management/performance philosophy, and directly bringing up ML interest. she brought up the good points that most ML in practice just is data / data infra work, that there *is* scope on the team for ML if i want, and that as SWEs we're empowered to solve problems / approach opportunities however works best. to me rn, a direct ML role is more a means to an end, where the end is getting out of my comfort zone and optimizing for growth and learning—the uber role def checks that box. as far as learning the ins and outs of ML theory, i'm actually enrolled in georgia tech's online CS master's program w a ML specialization so it wouldn't be like i'm abandoning it

re: workplace culture, i was a bit skeptical but it really does seem like uber has done a 180. everybody i met was super awesome; my prior phone screen interviewer reached out specifically about culture too and told me i could email her anytime w further q's. also the WLB is apparently great. people work remote whenever they want and there's unlimited vacation that they actually take advantage of

in short, almost entirely convinced i'll take uber over snap esp if i get any kind of signing bonus monday. the only thing giving me pause is concern that i'm uh blinded by rep. i'm not as sure about uber vs google, we'll have to see how that pans out

(^ side-note: it sounds like i also have a google offer coming; i had assumed 👻ed by the recruiter bc it's been over a month but apparently 1 interviewer took literally weeks to enter feedback. kinda surreal—i was really thinking that i had pretty much just gotten lucky with snap (imposter syndrome goes hard) after receiving what felt like so many rejections and was also questioning whether i was a FRAUD as a data engineer. so to end up w multiple top-of-market L4 SWE offers w ~3 YoE feels great. apologies for probably coming off irrational and or annoyingly self-congratulatory)

User avatar
wizzy
Posts: 4537
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:43 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by wizzy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:42 pm

suralin wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:33 pm
wizzy wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:49 pm
suralin wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:54 pm
ok so.. i'm glad but also in a slight dilemma:

i ended up doing the uber onsite and i think bc i had nothing to lose? i did really well. like easily the best set of interviews i've ever had and both coding problems* were completely new to me too

anyway ended up getting an uber L4 offer that's at the top of their range:

$154,350 base (maxed out salary range) + $480k RSUs over 4 yrs + $15k annual bonus + $55k annual refresher grant over 3 yrs
= ~$310k

the initial grant has a 1 year cliff, the refreshers don't—monthly vesting for both. she said they can add a sign-on bonus monday. i'm p confident that uber will be IPOing in 2019. the RSUs are benchmarked off their latest 409a valuation, not the preferred price from the latest investment

comparing uber to snap, uber wins in terms of business outlook, ~prestige~ / company rep, and probably quality of ppl i'll work w. snap has the edge on role. i'd be a software engineer, backend, at both but snap is ML and uber will be more data infra. comp is kind of a wash? the thing with snap's TC is that the RSUs are based on the average closing price of aug & sep and so the numbers have already dropped quite a bit. the thing w uber is regardless of IPO confidence it's still not real money yet. upsides are likely close?

reneging would suck but it's not a HUGE deal. (big fan of the "companies will screw you over at the drop of a hat, they're not your friend, look out for yourself first" school of thought)

idk i have a lot more to say but will leave it at that for now. opinions v welcome
wizzy wrote:would again love any thoughts you have
*in total the onsite was 2 coding rounds + 1 system design + 1 eng director behavioral + 1 'bar raiser' combination; the bar raiser is a senior person outside of the hiring team who has ~a mandate to keep overall company hiring bar high~
Oh nice man, that's awesome! Congrats!!

Definitely agree with you on "companies will screw you over at the drop of a hat, they're not your friend, look out for yourself first," so beyond having an uncomfortable convo, I wouldn't really care much about reneging. I'm all for employee autonomy, and I think it's kinda baked into tech hiring anyway with the way that people hop jobs in search of a better role/higher TC over the boomer company loyalty mindset.

I also think Uber will IPO in 2019 from what I've read and from talking to people who seem to know what they're talking about. It's harder to evaluate Uber's financial outlook since they don't have public disclosure requirements, so it's harder to dig into the numbers that support their valuation, but they've also been one of the most anticipated IPOs of the past 5 years, so I think that they're more likely than not to have a successful IPO day/week and that you'd (hopefully) see some stock appreciation between now and then.

Would there be any lock-up period for you going into the IPO?

Also, what do the Snap stock numbers look like now with the average of August/September?

I think I'd lean Uber from everything you've written since they seem to check a lot of your boxes with respect to future of the business, prestige, quality of peers, etc. To me, Snap made a lot of sense vs. FB, but Uber seems to have a lot of the upsides Snap has with possibly fewer downsides.

I obviously don't know nearly as much about the technical side of things as you do, but how much do you value the Snap ML role vs. data infrastructure? Which aspect of infrastructure (if they break it down by data platform, network, dev infra, SRE)? And do you have any insight into Uber's workplace culture (or if that's just Blind gossip)?
thanks man!

yeah after sleeping on it i'm not at all concerned about reneging

good question/point re: lock-up, i believe it's 6 months but i'll check

snap's avg closing price in aug/sep is ~$10.58, so my RSU package is already worth <70% of original :/. comes out to a TC that's almost exactly the same as uber's: 300-315k depending on assumptions

agreed re: similar upsides w possibly fewer downsides. about role, i had been valuing snap ML nontrivially more, but the uber eng director i interviewed w actually reached out late yesterday and we had a good chat (i assume it was a sell call). i asked some tough q's re: culture, management/performance philosophy, and directly bringing up ML interest. she brought up the good points that most ML in practice just is data / data infra work, that there *is* scope on the team for ML if i want, and that as SWEs we're empowered to solve problems / approach opportunities however works best. to me rn, a direct ML role is more a means to an end, where the end is getting out of my comfort zone and optimizing for growth and learning—the uber role def checks that box. as far as learning the ins and outs of ML theory, i'm actually enrolled in georgia tech's online CS master's program w a ML specialization so it wouldn't be like i'm abandoning it

re: workplace culture, i was a bit skeptical but it really does seem like uber has done a 180. everybody i met was super awesome; my prior phone screen interviewer reached out specifically about culture too and told me i could email her anytime w further q's. also the WLB is apparently great. people work remote whenever they want and there's unlimited vacation that they actually take advantage of

in short, almost entirely convinced i'll take uber over snap esp if i get any kind of signing bonus monday. the only thing giving me pause is concern that i'm uh blinded by rep. i'm not as sure about uber vs google, we'll have to see how that pans out

(^ side-note: it sounds like i also have a google offer coming; i had assumed 👻ed by the recruiter bc it's been over a month but apparently 1 interviewer took literally weeks to enter feedback. kinda surreal—i was really thinking that i had pretty much just gotten lucky with snap (imposter syndrome goes hard) after receiving what felt like so many rejections and was also questioning whether i was a FRAUD as a data engineer. so to end up w multiple top-of-market L4 SWE offers w ~3 YoE feels great. apologies for probably coming off irrational and or annoyingly self-congratulatory)
Not irrational or annoyingly self-congratulatory at all; you should definitely be proud of yourself for the offers. I would feel the same way and would react similarly since it's wild/pretty cool to go from oh fuck should I maybe go to law school and be a glorified paper pusher to oh fuck do I accept an L4/T4/E4 at Google, Uber, FB, or Snap. I also never even knew about the DE vs. SWE distinction until you told me about it, so I could see the imposter syndrome going hard there because of ~job title/role~ even though you're objectively already doing the same quality work. Congrats again dude!

I agree with you that Uber is basically a no brainer here after seeing Snap's average closing price across August/September. I actually didn't think about that at all initially since companies seem to do their on-hire stock packages differently; I know others do on the 15th (or a set time) after your start date, but I guess it makes sense for Snap to average across a couple months like that, given the volatility of their stock price.

If you already have the scope to do ML on the Uber team, then it sounds like you have (almost) everything role-related you would've gotten out of Snap baked into your Uber offer while still getting the advantages you brought up for Uber with respect to business outlook, quality of peers, prestige, and excitement heading into IPO.

I was wondering about the lock-up period because of the short-term vesting flexibility you had for Snap and because Uber has been notoriously stringent in how it handles the selling of stock to effectively preclude short sellers from getting their hands on shares.
Young, private companies are traditionally difficult to short. The shares are held by either the founders, employees, or investors, and while some startups are fairly liberal in allowing their shares to be traded—allowing employees, for instance, to sell some shares so they can get married, buy a house, and generally get on with their lives outside of work—many are not.

Uber is emblematic of the latter case, prohibiting the secondary sale of its shares except in exceptional circumstances, when it reportedly will offer to buy at a valuation of its choosing. The message to Uber shareholders, including employees, is that they must by and large wait for an IPO.

In fact, an IPO is the best circumstance for a short-seller, too, at once creating the required dual criteria of much-enhanced financial transparency, and the liquidity needed to cash out fast. But when an Uber IPO will occur is an open question. Despite grumbling by important investors, CEO Travis Kalanick has vowed to put off going public as long as he possibly can, as much as a decade into the future.
https://qz.com/707947/investors-have-pl ... -short-it/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... -you-think

^That's pretty dated, though, and I've read that they cleaned up their act a bit to make it easier for employees to sell shares to approved investors. So I was just overall considering the liquidity of your RSUs post-IPO—would've been amazing to dump Snap shares at a 60% premium on the first day of the IPO, for example, but not so good 6 months later when they had gone -60% from their ATH and -30% from the IPO price.

Not saying Uber will be like that at all, but obvi more flexibility > less flexibility, and there's value in that optionality. Do you think lock-up period is negotiable, or is that more of a hard-line company policy that they apply to all employees?

I never know how seriously to take Blind gossip, and a lot of the Uber complaints also do seem dated and presumably come with an earlier-stage startup grind that carries over into later years even if the rep isn't deserved anymore vs. what is probably now a more established place to work with improved culture. That kind of WLB with WFH sounds amazing, so with TC, quality of peers, role, continued ML opportunities, etc, I can't think of many reasons to take Snap at this point. I almost wouldn't even care if there are a couple shitty people from the old Uber Blind stories of rough culture if you have a sick work-life balance, can work from home, and if those people probably wouldn't be on your team anyway.

Georgia Tech's CS program also seems really cool, so props for continuing to build out your ML skillset. I have a friend who's doing something similar online for analytics/stats and likes it a lot. Do you think you could try to negotiate tuition reimbursement?

Google is super interesting; I'm a huge fan of their management team and love their company from an investment perspective with what they're trying to do in GCP, ML, IoT, and their moonshots. Any idea when you'll get the numbers from them and if you think you could get them to match Uber's offer? The upper end of their T4 range should also be similar, right (or they at least have flexibility on competing offers)?

Seriously amazing opportunities at Uber, Google, and Snap, so big congrats again man.

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3678
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:03 am

uber came through with a $50k signing bonus! (cash, 25k 1st paycheck and 25k in yr 2). wasn't expecting it since they almost never do signing bonuses; it apparently requires VP escalation and approval

but now that they have, definitely taking uber and not looking back. i'm also glad that the RSUs are based off the old 409a valuation and not 120B (https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-propo ... 1539690343) 😶

final total compensation is ~$335k up to near 400 if based on recent funding / if IPO goes well—it's pretty fucking surreal

summary: 5 offers out of 6 onsites (uber, snap, google, opendoor, twitter, pinterest); 6 onsites out of 9 phone screens (rejected by airbnb, dropbox, stripe; fast-tracked by google; passed on stitch fix); application radio silence from notably netflix and waymo. studied 107 hours and did 130 leetcode problems (66 easy, 54 medium, 10 hard).

for system design: read all of 'designing data-intensive applications' and distributed systems for fun and profit; went thru / skimmed system design primer, scattered industry research papers like bigtable, engineering blog posts, http://highscalability.com/, and grokking the system design interview; for ML i mostly googled random shit like this github and skimmed 'hands-on machine learning with scikit-learn and tensorflow'. prepared 2-3 stories for each of the most common behavioral q's and had some solid q's for hiring managers.

offers (conservative TC):
  • uber: $335k
  • snap: $300k
  • google: $250k (downleveled)
  • opendoor: $240k
  • twitter: $220k
interview difficulty ranking (low spread, n=1, and conflating onsites w screens):
airbnb | google > uber | dropbox > snap | pinterest > stripe | opendoor > twitter | stitch fix

free food ranking: dropbox > FB > twitter >> snap | google >> uber > youtube > pinterest | opendoor >>> amazon

my massive study guide (caveats: living document and not polished) is here: https://beta.workflowy.com/s/wGqavcPQFm

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3678
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:37 am

wizzy wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:42 pm
Not irrational or annoyingly self-congratulatory at all; you should definitely be proud of yourself for the offers. I would feel the same way and would react similarly since it's wild/pretty cool to go from oh fuck should I maybe go to law school and be a glorified paper pusher to oh fuck do I accept an L4/T4/E4 at Google, Uber, FB, or Snap. I also never even knew about the DE vs. SWE distinction until you told me about it, so I could see the imposter syndrome going hard there because of ~job title/role~ even though you're objectively already doing the same quality work. Congrats again dude!

I agree with you that Uber is basically a no brainer here after seeing Snap's average closing price across August/September. I actually didn't think about that at all initially since companies seem to do their on-hire stock packages differently; I know others do on the 15th (or a set time) after your start date, but I guess it makes sense for Snap to average across a couple months like that, given the volatility of their stock price.

If you already have the scope to do ML on the Uber team, then it sounds like you have (almost) everything role-related you would've gotten out of Snap baked into your Uber offer while still getting the advantages you brought up for Uber with respect to business outlook, quality of peers, prestige, and excitement heading into IPO.

I was wondering about the lock-up period because of the short-term vesting flexibility you had for Snap and because Uber has been notoriously stringent in how it handles the selling of stock to effectively preclude short sellers from getting their hands on shares.
Young, private companies are traditionally difficult to short. The shares are held by either the founders, employees, or investors, and while some startups are fairly liberal in allowing their shares to be traded—allowing employees, for instance, to sell some shares so they can get married, buy a house, and generally get on with their lives outside of work—many are not.

Uber is emblematic of the latter case, prohibiting the secondary sale of its shares except in exceptional circumstances, when it reportedly will offer to buy at a valuation of its choosing. The message to Uber shareholders, including employees, is that they must by and large wait for an IPO.

In fact, an IPO is the best circumstance for a short-seller, too, at once creating the required dual criteria of much-enhanced financial transparency, and the liquidity needed to cash out fast. But when an Uber IPO will occur is an open question. Despite grumbling by important investors, CEO Travis Kalanick has vowed to put off going public as long as he possibly can, as much as a decade into the future.
https://qz.com/707947/investors-have-pl ... -short-it/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... -you-think

^That's pretty dated, though, and I've read that they cleaned up their act a bit to make it easier for employees to sell shares to approved investors. So I was just overall considering the liquidity of your RSUs post-IPO—would've been amazing to dump Snap shares at a 60% premium on the first day of the IPO, for example, but not so good 6 months later when they had gone -60% from their ATH and -30% from the IPO price.

Not saying Uber will be like that at all, but obvi more flexibility > less flexibility, and there's value in that optionality. Do you think lock-up period is negotiable, or is that more of a hard-line company policy that they apply to all employees?

I never know how seriously to take Blind gossip, and a lot of the Uber complaints also do seem dated and presumably come with an earlier-stage startup grind that carries over into later years even if the rep isn't deserved anymore vs. what is probably now a more established place to work with improved culture. That kind of WLB with WFH sounds amazing, so with TC, quality of peers, role, continued ML opportunities, etc, I can't think of many reasons to take Snap at this point. I almost wouldn't even care if there are a couple shitty people from the old Uber Blind stories of rough culture if you have a sick work-life balance, can work from home, and if those people probably wouldn't be on your team anyway.

Georgia Tech's CS program also seems really cool, so props for continuing to build out your ML skillset. I have a friend who's doing something similar online for analytics/stats and likes it a lot. Do you think you could try to negotiate tuition reimbursement?

Google is super interesting; I'm a huge fan of their management team and love their company from an investment perspective with what they're trying to do in GCP, ML, IoT, and their moonshots. Any idea when you'll get the numbers from them and if you think you could get them to match Uber's offer? The upper end of their T4 range should also be similar, right (or they at least have flexibility on competing offers)?

Seriously amazing opportunities at Uber, Google, and Snap, so big congrats again man.
thanks man <3 and thanks for the insightful take as always

i did ask about lock-up period and it's 6 months across the board, which is a bit unfortunate, but not that big of a deal as far as length of golden handcuffs. i'm fine w waiting until post-IPO for RSU liquidity

re GT's OMSCS, yeah it really seems like there's little downside there. i am typically against advanced degrees for SWEs bc opportunity cost / most of the time YoE trumps degree, but having it be online (but equivalent to the on-campus program) and w a total cost of <7k is insane. also it does seem like most senior-ish ML roles require it both in terms of credential screening and in terms of the actual knowledge—especially bc i went to a shitty liberal arts college and honestly lack a lot of the p fundamental academic prereqs. rn i basically know just and only enough to be dangerous

google is awesome but i ended up getting downleveled to l3 :/ so not worth it. not too surprised bc i didn't do that hot and they're notorious for downlvling. have also heard that promos are v slow there

and yeah i definitely feel really, really fortunate to have all these ridiculous options

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