CS career megathread / AMA

FuzzyDunlop
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by FuzzyDunlop » Fri May 04, 2018 8:19 pm

coffee_spoons wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 2:53 pm
FuzzyDunlop wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 12:39 pm

You know how in law school, the law students feared or hated the curve? Oh, you're going to be so thankful it's there in computer science to save you. It'll be a good experience for you, where unlike in law school you're mostly competing against Americans, in CS you get to take math classes with students from China, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Russia and India. Have fun with your math 300 linear algebra class with the students from China who will cruise through it and your data structures class with people who have been programming since high school. Wang Lei and Zhang Jun in your math classes are going to make that law school gunner you thought was smart, look like a joke.
https://blog.codinghorror.com/why-cant- ... s-program/
I have no doubt you're right about this, but if you can't compete with these people in a CS classroom, how the fuck are you supposed to compete with them for jobs after spending 4 months learning to code from scratch?
Because the good bootcamps train you to code languages for web dev and how to pass tech whiteboard interviews. Essentially, your goal is to get a job as a web developer. Learning Ruby for 16 hours a day around other people with the same goals, for 4 months straight, and learning to develop an app from scratch while having them answer your questions helps achieve this.

Their goal is not to get you into a Master's program, for you to feel comfortable 7 years from now as you do research in your PhD program, or for you to have a university level graduate hold of physics or 4th year mathematics. You're not going to struggle for months to get a curved D- in Quantum Computation while also trying to fulfill a college foreign language and arts elective you have no interest in.

People who go aren't undecided as to whether they want to be a web developer, design games at Microsoft XBox, run a physics engine for Blizzard, work on AI, switch into robotics, write software for cars, or learn low-level program for assembly and CPU architecture.

Most of these bootcamps, their goal is to make you a full stack web developer, and hopefully from work on your part, competent enough to pass a web developer interview.

So no, you can't compete against the above mentioned people if your immediate goals fall outside of this. But a lot of those above mentioned people, even the ones out of PhD programs, may also fail a web developer interview (whereas a dropout can pass) because they didn't focus enough on full stack web development or never did it in school.

Guest wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 12:03 pm
Interesting discussion going on!

FuzzyDunlop, you mentioned "reputable". What criteria do you use? Other than some obviously terrible no-name ones, there seems to be a general cluster of decent bootcamps (Flatiron/Fullstack/Hackbright/Galvanize/General Assembly etc. etc.). And then there's HackReactor and App Academy, which everybody seems to consider the best of the best. They also seem to boast higher salaries.

I ask because I got into the Galvanize bootcamp and I'm trying to decide whether to go, or to hold out for HackReactor/App Academy? Are those two really going to give you that much more preparation?
This whole "terrible no-name" thing I keep seeing here -- it's a very annoying typical attorney attitude. You guys do realize that prior to being well-known and financially successful, a lot of these bootcamps were "no-name" right? That they were just these "no-name" startups you guys keep looking down on that just grew rapidly into success? And the same goes for every other single significant software company you guys probably want to work for? FYI, saying stupid shit like that is going to irk a lot of people in industry. You may think working at a 200 year-old slow moving law firm with a skechy history is "status" compared to a "no-name" startup, but to a lot of people, especially outside of law, you just sound lame.

To answer your question, I base "reputable" on bootcamp reviews and how many software developers they trained into jobs. Whether their Founders/Instructors seem reputable (did they have careers at software companies I recognize or were full stack developers at startups themselves).

Whether their students leave positive and happy reviews. Or are the reviews suspicious, like they barely gave any guidance on how to program after admitting students, do the instructors answer questions or was it 99% "just Google it." Also, their general philosophy, for instance the bootcamp I mentioned that doesn't charge an upfront fee but you pay after you've landed your job.

Regardless, this isn't law school. No one is going to start a blog crying about and ranking all the bootcamps in a huge list. All the materials they give you at bootcamp (and in a college programming class) is available online for free. There are excellent free online tutorials on Python, PHP, Ruby and Java that software engineers use at work that you have complete access to.

It's you, not the bootcamp. The bootcamp just puts you around other people so you're motivated to code all day and night, with the benefit of instructors to immediately answer your questions so you're not stuck looking everything up or getting crap advice on your code from a programming forum similar to how crap advice on being an attorney is given out on law school forums. If you think that's worth your $10,000, then it's worth going. If not, then save the $10,000 and start reading tutorials.

Guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by Guest » Mon May 07, 2018 10:12 am

https://haseebq.com/cracking-the-coding ... ive-guide/

I think this is a really good process overview (I love his blog).

That said,

"The general hierarchy of coding bootcamps looks something like this (take with a grain of salt): App Academy ≈ Hack Reactor ≈ Full Stack Academy > HackBright > Flat Iron School > Dev Bootcamp > Everyone else. "

FWIW. Personally, I'm going to try to bootcamps with the hardest pre-bootcamp vetting processes. It'll be a good litmus test for whether I'm actually good at this.

guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by guest » Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 pm

FuzzyDunlop wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 1:18 am
guest wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:28 pm
Guest wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:37 pm

Usually the jobs are so cushy I don't know people who leave. They typically try and make management or more often climb their SWE seniority ladder (usually 5 to 7 levels).

The people I know who have left often go to startups to try and make it big financially, once as you say their growth flattens or it becomes evident they're not reaching the upper levels of the seniority ladder. I know a lot of big company software engineers that want to go to much smaller companies and diversify their work depending on their RSUs.




Do you think the average person thinks anyone that works at FB or Google are prestigious? Or just the actual software engineers? Or is anyone with an engineering title considered prestigious, because FB hands out "engineer" titles like candy.

What about people with sales titles? What if their sales title is something like "Solutions Engineer" or "Partner Engineer" or "Solutions Architect"?

Do you think the average person knows a Solutions Engineer isn't a Software Engineer and didn't go through near as tough an interview?

What about the recruiters at Google or Facebook? What about PMs? I've also seen sourcers/recruiters inflate their titles on LinkedIn.

I'm curious how you guys view that. Because I know sales people at these companies with "engineer" in their titles, but do almost no actual software engineering. But they say they're "engineers at Facebook." And even though internally, people know they're not software engineers, a lot of people outside don't know.
A different guest. I am not sure the notion of "cushy" job exists in Silicon valley. i've seen the word "cushy" used only by people who are mainly work in government or large bureaucracies where change is slow in which individualism is relegated in favor of collectivism. In tech if a worker doesn't produce work worth his value he is out. also, ageism is a thing in tech, in some ways the more experience you have the worse it gets, as change is so common.

in fact level 5-7 is not that high even in FANG. Many big companies SW engineers go to startups or smaller places because sometimes there is nowhere else to go. Since you have to produce work to justify value, people burn out. Startup work can be very hard on comfortable life too, about 90% of startups fail. Among the remaining that succeed (or at least justify their investment), idk is a mere engineer (at least in biz totem-pole) makes enough profit that makes it worth it.
A tech worker just has to produce enough work to keep his job. Actual software engineers (not the support engineers or sales engineers) that are good are rare. Usually companies have to poach from each other or reach overseas.

Usually from what I've seen, the people in the "cushy" jobs are good to excellent software engineers that I would say are purposely underachieving. The ones that I know that this totally coast at work - they're in their car to happy hour by 3:30 and they're definitely not in early. They're talented enough to work at FB or Google. But they work at large, big name companies slightly below those in terms of programming ability required (they still get excellent perks and pay). They usually reach senior level and cruise -- they work no more than 40 hours a week and that's including their paid-for lunch and other time messing around work. They could easily be a higher level but they don't do enough work, but they definitely do enough to keep their job.

Not enough talent to fill Senior SWE positions at these companies, so if you get rid of them it could take you a long time to find a replacement. Even when they're "on-call" they don't necessarily go into work and nothing has happened to them. Also, unlike in law, most of the SWEs I know aren't that competitive with each other or out to get each other's throat - it's not an up & out policy like at McKinsey or many big law firms. A lot of SWEs are foreign, really chill and smart people from Asia that aren't there to come at you, yell or create un-necessary drama.

There are others at FB/Google that do the same. They're 10xers that just don't work that hard and they've reached their senior level, but they don't want to work hard enough to hit distinguished/principal/partner/fellow. They're perfectly fine being Senior and keeping their work week 40-50 hours a week.

As for startups or why SWEs with great salaries and job security leave for them, it's difficult to explain to attorneys. There's a different mentality within people who participate in startups versus the mentality of most lawyers, especially ones on a forum like this (appetite for risk, willingness to bet big to win big, wanting self-determination, working in small teams with friends) that many lawyers just don't get. If talented SWEs had the mentality of typical lawyers, companies like Uber, Amazon, Facebook and the whole "move fast, break things" mentality wouldn't be prominent.

There are other exit options for the risk adverse though aside from startups, some can go to banks and become quants if they want (a more boring option, I'd just rather climb the SWE seniority ladder). Better options can include becoming a PM (you might be able to coast because you don't have to solve as difficult technical problems but you have to be better with people) or try to get into management. Some SWEs I know from elite companies went back to China to start their own company in that unique startup environment or moved into Management there whereas they thought they were being hit with the bamboo ceiling in the SV. When you're good at math, you don't have to worry about exit opportunities too much.
guest in the 2nd quoted post. re the "cushy" job part, there may be some truth to that perception in the bolded, but my point is that there is nothing like the term "cushy" job in tech. no one uses it, it doesn't reflect well on the person using it within the tech industry. tech people typically try to show how valuable their work is, how they are making so called "difference", and how much they work for they have to sell it. no ones says they like slacking, it doesn't get them anywhere. it's more of an outlook, people think that results and practicality counts, whereas i think in bureaucracies or government there is so much of lack of change and unproductive debates and rigidness that people give up the notion that individual as opposed to collectivism or groupism can bring change or result, which can make terms like cushy become more acceptable.

for the talent to fill Senior SWE positions, ive heard managers say they can't find talent, but not sure if it's due to real lack of talent or due to unwillingness of managers to pull the trigger on who they want to hire. hiring someone and getting them to a point where it all works out requires a good deal of effort, and managers at times simply keep pushing out even good candidates to buy more time for projects.

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3795
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Mon May 07, 2018 12:43 pm

wow i've missed a lot. some good discussion itt will respond throughout the day

coffee_spoons
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:18 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by coffee_spoons » Mon May 07, 2018 2:20 pm

guest wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 pm

guest in the 2nd quoted post. re the "cushy" job part, there may be some truth to that perception in the bolded, but my point is that there is nothing like the term "cushy" job in tech. no one uses it, it doesn't reflect well on the person using it within the tech industry. tech people typically try to show how valuable their work is, how they are making so called "difference", and how much they work for they have to sell it. no ones says they like slacking, it doesn't get them anywhere. it's more of an outlook, people think that results and practicality counts, whereas i think in bureaucracies or government there is so much of lack of change and unproductive debates and rigidness that people give up the notion that individual as opposed to collectivism or groupism can bring change or result, which can make terms like cushy become more acceptable.

for the talent to fill Senior SWE positions, ive heard managers say they can't find talent, but not sure if it's due to real lack of talent or due to unwillingness of managers to pull the trigger on who they want to hire. hiring someone and getting them to a point where it all works out requires a good deal of effort, and managers at times simply keep pushing out even good candidates to buy more time for projects.
Re "cushy", I'm in biglaw and the majority of my close friends are in tech. I sort of curse my decision to do the law school route to "out-earn" all of them in biglaw. (Fuck. me.)

Obviously, don't use the term "cushy" in tech. It's not a tech thing, it's an American work-culture thing. "Cushy" or "work-life" translates to unambitious, unmotivated, and untalented. Tech people do not like to hear that their job is cushy. That said, compared to most jobs in the six-figures, their jobs are cushy (depending on whether they enjoy the day-to-day). I got coffee with an acquaintance who had gone the bootcamp route and is now working at a Kickstarter/WeWork/Buzzfeed type tech company (heavy on web development), and she got very upset when I said I wanted to do tech because of the worklife balance. She said she worked very hard and twice this year to date, she even had to leave at 8 PM. To anybody in biglaw, that statement is laughable. But she perceived me telling her she had "work-life balance" as me implying that she was lazy, or whatever.

All of my friends in tech including those in the big companies think that leaving at 7 is late. They have hobbies outside of work that they do on weeknights. One of them literally decided to learn to fly an airplane on the weekends. And they all seem to do just fine with promotions.

(That said, my impression is that in tech, nobody gives you credit for how many hours you work, but for how much usable code you produce. If you can get x amount of code done in 30 hours because you're a good developer, you'll have a pretty nice life. If it takes you 70 hours because you're slow, which I think I'd probably be for a while if I switched, nobody's giving you extra credit or recognition for staying in the office late).

FuzzyDunlop
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by FuzzyDunlop » Mon May 07, 2018 2:30 pm

coffee_spoons wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 2:20 pm
guest wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 pm

guest in the 2nd quoted post. re the "cushy" job part, there may be some truth to that perception in the bolded, but my point is that there is nothing like the term "cushy" job in tech. no one uses it, it doesn't reflect well on the person using it within the tech industry. tech people typically try to show how valuable their work is, how they are making so called "difference", and how much they work for they have to sell it. no ones says they like slacking, it doesn't get them anywhere. it's more of an outlook, people think that results and practicality counts, whereas i think in bureaucracies or government there is so much of lack of change and unproductive debates and rigidness that people give up the notion that individual as opposed to collectivism or groupism can bring change or result, which can make terms like cushy become more acceptable.

for the talent to fill Senior SWE positions, ive heard managers say they can't find talent, but not sure if it's due to real lack of talent or due to unwillingness of managers to pull the trigger on who they want to hire. hiring someone and getting them to a point where it all works out requires a good deal of effort, and managers at times simply keep pushing out even good candidates to buy more time for projects.
Re "cushy", I'm in biglaw and the majority of my close friends are in tech. I sort of curse my decision to do the law school route to "out-earn" all of them in biglaw. (Fuck. me.)

Obviously, don't use the term "cushy" in tech. It's not a tech thing, it's an American work-culture thing. "Cushy" or "work-life" translates to unambitious, unmotivated, and untalented. Tech people do not like to hear that their job is cushy. That said, compared to most jobs in the six-figures, their jobs are cushy (depending on whether they enjoy the day-to-day). I got coffee with an acquaintance who had gone the bootcamp route and is now working at a Kickstarter/WeWork/Buzzfeed type tech company (heavy on web development), and she got very upset when I said I wanted to do tech because of the worklife balance. She said she worked very hard and twice this year to date, she even had to leave at 8 PM. To anybody in biglaw, that statement is laughable. But she perceived me telling her she had "work-life balance" as me implying that she was lazy, or whatever.

All of my friends in tech including those in the big companies think that leaving at 7 is late. They have hobbies outside of work that they do on weeknights. One of them literally decided to learn to fly an airplane on the weekends. And they all seem to do just fine with promotions.

(That said, my impression is that in tech, nobody gives you credit for how many hours you work, but for how much usable code you produce. If you can get x amount of code done in 30 hours because you're a good developer, you'll have a pretty nice life. If it takes you 70 hours because you're slow, nobody's giving you extra credit or recognition for staying in the office late).

I'd also like to add to the point that, the slackers I know in tech have explained to me how long it takes to get fired from the larger tech companies, once you've reached the required standard level (typically T5/E5/Senior SE). It could take years of them re-orging you or moving you to teams before it actually happens.

Pretty sure if I don't meet billables for a couple months or I decide to not show-up when called in, the repercussions would be much more swift for me.

Also, I've heard the "leaving at 7" thing too. Or when they whine that they're on-call (meaning they chill at home on 1 weekend every month and if they get called, they might have to go into work if they can't fix the problem on their laptop). My friends' idea of stress is when their company made them actually go into work on a Friday instead of the per usual of "working from home." Some of them get very offended if they get their work-from-home privileges monitored and have to show up more than a few times a week (that's also a sign that you're about to be put on performance improvement).

But to your point, I agree that the ones I know who have proven they produce great code are left alone and hours aren't monitored (the 10xers). The ones that don't produce or produce inefficiently struggle to meet senior and usually have to jump to new companies every year or two before they're formally ousted.
guest wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 pm


for the talent to fill Senior SWE positions, ive heard managers say they can't find talent, but not sure if it's due to real lack of talent or due to unwillingness of managers to pull the trigger on who they want to hire. hiring someone and getting them to a point where it all works out requires a good deal of effort, and managers at times simply keep pushing out even good candidates to buy more time for projects.
Did you see the blog post I linked about why the vast majority of computer science grads can't code or pass a simple whiteboard interview? So think about how many interview applicants they have to go through to find a candidate that can pass.

Many times, that candidate isn't American. So you the manager has to make sure they're a culture fit and can get accustomed to American work culture. Or understands how things work differently here, especially if they're from a very different culture like India or Pakistan.

Otherwise, that whole cycle starts again. For some of them, they'd rather just keep the lazy but productive-when-he-wants-to-be Senior SWE they already have than deal with that.

coffee_spoons
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:18 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by coffee_spoons » Mon May 07, 2018 2:59 pm

^Aw FuzzyDunlop, and here I thought you were an SWE. You seem so knowledgeable about tech that I'm somewhat curious whether you're also considering making the switch.

Also on the fired part, 1) you're usually asked to leave, not fired. (To be fair, this is similar to biglaw, and it seems like in general, companies across professional industries don't like to "fire" people, and/or won't really tell your next employer you were fired. More importantly though 2) those people can find a job somewhere else. They might just have to actually work for a while and then the cycle can start all over again.

There's none of this bullshit that's present in the legal industry where if you get laid off when you're too junior, you're fucked. If you get laid off outside the 3-5 sweet spot, you're fucked. If you get laid off from your in-house job, you better hope you find another in-house job because law firms only want to hire from peer firms. If you don't get hired during your website grace period and get a resume gap, you're fucked. If you jump into a non-partner track/non-practicing JD-preferred role for a bit to mix it up, every lawyer questions your dedication and refuses to hire you back into practice. (The last one -might- be a thing in programming, but really only if the person's programming skills deteriorated. And they can fix that by self-practicing/self-studying for coding interviews or doing some contract work or side projects on their own time to get their skills back up to speed. I've never hard of anybody who left programming to do a PM role or tech evangelist role, try to come back, and get absolutely blacklisted for "commitment issues" the way I've seen people hop into a biz dev role, decide they'd rather practice, and literally get their resume binned at every law firm for concerns over "their decision to leave practice and take a support role").

I legit have friends who quit to travel for a year, or quit to start their own company (note: this means building a website for a year and playing a lot of video games, realize they don't feel like being a business owner, and send their resume around to tech companies. I've seen it happen multiple times). Seems like so long as you don't hit your head and forget how to program, or do something truly terrible at your last company, you're incredibly job-secure. I even know a classmate from my law school who used to be a programmer. He's already left biglaw to go back to programming (to illustrate that tech companies don't pull this shitboomer crap of "well if you were committed and reeeaaaallly wanted this, you wouldn't have left so now we're too concerned to hire you.")

Compared to tech, the legal industry is an oversaturated, shitboomer dystopia.

app
Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by app » Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm

suralin wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 12:43 pm
wow i've missed a lot. some good discussion itt will respond throughout the day
I posted prep related q couple of pages ago to you in case it got buried in the posts since.

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3795
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Mon May 07, 2018 5:24 pm

(personal update: coming up on my 1 yr FACEVERSARY (yes they're actually called that) and have now been at FB longer than 46% of employees, which is p surreal. looking into doing an internal transfer into a ML SWE role and so i'll be running the gauntlet again and preparing for interviews like crazy. will also apply to other companies bc may as well and bc i think i can get upleveled and hired in as a 5. i'll update the thread w my study plan if there's interest)

addressing other things arbitrarily:

largely agree with the above between dunlop and coffee. like yeah i bitch about fires or working weekends, but i still get to make >200k and avg <50 hrs/wk and know i'm super privileged.

FB is a bit more strict than say Google re letting people coast, but yeah at E5+ you just need to meet expectations and it'll take at least 2 halves to pip and then fire you. from 3 —> 5 here, there's an up or out policy, which i think is actually a feature not a bug. it leads to faster promotions than most other firms. i got promoted in my first half.

i spoke to bootcamps earlier itt: haseeb's blog posts are good; a bootcamp really can get you a 6 figure coding job after a few months, but unless you have a lot of natural talent, have some STEM-y background, or just possess massive amounts of ~grit~, you're probably not immediately going to get into a top tech firm. they do mostly train you to do webdev, so you're not going to pass interviews w/o cramming CS theory and doing enough leetcode to gain the necessary pattern recognition skills. also webdev is a bit misleading of a term/phrase, at a big tech firm (def at big 4), hacking on RoR or Django is not at all what the 'webdev' will look like. at that scale, there's no difference between doing webdev and doing 'infra'.

re prep (@app), couldn't find the specific q, but i have a long reddit post on this, feel free to PM me. the main thing is to trust the process. ie just have to put in enough time and do enough problems (obviously eliding the fact that some potential or w/e is required, but it's really not that different from the months-long lsat studying ppl here do)

re senior SWEs and interviewing, i'm not senior enough to know from firsthand experience, but i've read enough rants (internal and elsewhere) to know that they're still expected to know their ds&a. there's just more focus on background and system design. at that level, you're also expected to have specialized (T-shape skills / knowledge)

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3795
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Mon May 07, 2018 5:29 pm

re commitment issues, there isn't quite that / things are p meritocratic

but there's a definite passion narrative which is toxic to labor

FuzzyDunlop
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by FuzzyDunlop » Mon May 07, 2018 6:43 pm

coffee_spoons wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 2:59 pm
^Aw FuzzyDunlop, and here I thought you were an SWE. You seem so knowledgeable about tech that I'm somewhat curious whether you're also considering making the switch.
I don't want to be too specific, but I use to work at a tech company everyone here has heard of. Also, most of my network is made of people within the industry. I'm not considering re-switching back, I enjoy law more than the tech industry. Unlike many other attorneys that I know, I even find gritty parts of law interesting (criminal, domestic violence, family drama, going to court, interacting with strangers).

There's none of this bullshit that's present in the legal industry where if you get laid off when you're too junior, you're fucked. If you get laid off outside the 3-5 sweet spot, you're fucked. If you get laid off from your in-house job, you better hope you find another in-house job because law firms only want to hire from peer firms. If you don't get hired during your website grace period and get a resume gap, you're fucked. If you jump into a non-partner track/non-practicing JD-preferred role for a bit to mix it up, every lawyer questions your dedication and refuses to hire you back into practice.
Right, but for a large % of these people, they go from major Silicon Valley company to company and get ousted every 2 years or so. Sometimes shorter, they just don't admit to it on their LinkedIn or gloss over the fact that they got canned after 10 months. Their career isn't near as regulated or bound to ethical rules as ours, so they can misrepresent their resume gaps or exaggerate their work greatly.

The smart recruiters and people hiring can usually see the patterns though and there are signs on their resume that this has been happening. They have more exit options than attorneys, but they're really just cycles depending on how not good they are. The ones good enough to consistently pass technical interviews just go from company to company as entry level SWEs until they get canned and the same cycle again.

If they get tired of this by their 3rd or 4th time, sometimes they are technically no longer a "Software Engineer." They'll look for jobs with titles like Support Engineer or Solutions Engineer or Solutions Architect or Partner Engineer or whatever 100 titles these companies have. And so within their professional circles they lose "prestige" because they're technically no longer developers. But they get to tell people they work at Google and are "engineers". And 99% of regular people won't know the difference unless they work for one of these companies. This would be similar to the equivalent of a JD-advantage job. Or a non-associate role at a top law firm.

Their other choice is to go to a corporate software development firm, and they can get their "Software Engineer" titles back at these companies. They pay decent, the benefits are decent, and you get your "software engineer" title back, but without the laymen everyday recognition that they work at Google. The work is also more boring, repetitive, and there are no more climbing walls or free cafeterias (it's more like a desk job at any other Fortune 500 company). This is like the equivalent of insurance defense job or large creditor rights and bankruptcy firms in law.

I mean, that's the reality for most programmer's that aren't uniquely good at programming. The software engineers I know that coast in their $200,000+ jobs - they're very good at what they do. They're not particularly hardworking, but their industry encourages shortcuts and efficiency. Then there are the ones that score the same jobs but put in literally 10x the work to keep their jobs. Then the rest end up in scenarios I described above or worse.

But for the most part, those are still cushier jobs than most attorney jobs. It's less of a competition once you've found work and there's still a low supply of people good at coding.

None of this matters if you don't actually care about prestige within your professional network and you like coding, much like none of this matters in law if you don't care about prestige within your professional network and you like your legal specialty. Many people are fine with a boring $70,000-90,000 job with bonuses and benefits for 10 years, and a chance at management.
Last edited by FuzzyDunlop on Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

app
Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by app » Mon May 07, 2018 10:26 pm

suralin wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 5:24 pm
looking into doing an internal transfer into a ML SWE role and so i'll be running the gauntlet again and preparing for interviews like crazy. will also apply to other companies bc may as well and bc i think i can get upleveled and hired in as a 5. i'll update the thread w my study plan if there's interest
yeah, do update w study plan.

send link to the reddit post? how many lc problems you did in your first go as total 150 hrs doesn't seem that much esp for fb, or did you have a degree in cs or exposure to those style problems from coursework?

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3795
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Tue May 08, 2018 2:52 pm

idt it's as hard to coast at a big tech firm as dunlop makes it out to be. and don't really understand the weirdly specific gripe about non-developer "engineer" positions. it's also obviously the case that the vast majority of devs don't work at a google or fb or w/e (but many more *can* than they probably think), but like, this forum grew from a site literally called top-law-schools.com.

re desirability, i'm clearly biased but my opinion is that it's probably somewhere in the middle.
app wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:26 pm
send link to the reddit post? how many lc problems you did in your first go as total 150 hrs doesn't seem that much esp for fb, or did you have a degree in cs or exposure to those style problems from coursework?
i do have a cs degree, though from an extremely unknown liberal arts college. i did 76 problems on leetcode and largely focused on quality over quantity. probably could've spent less than 150 hrs but i didn't want to wait another yr

e: late on this but
coffee_spoons wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:52 pm
And fwiw, I think that a good software engineer would easily knock the LSAT out of the park with some effort. It's all conditional logic. Like, I've heard that some bootcamps give out LSAT-esque logic puzzles as initial technical challenges.
i did take the lsat a few yrs ago and scored p well, but i was also a philosophy major in UG which must've helped for RC etc

Guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by Guest » Tue May 08, 2018 3:20 pm

Suralin, glad to hear you weigh in on non-developer engineer positions. I'll admit to being in the 99% of people who had no idea those roles were "bad", or destroyed your career, or was the equivalent of being a lawyer in a JD-preferred job.

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3795
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Tue May 08, 2018 3:41 pm

Guest wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 3:20 pm
Suralin, glad to hear you weigh in on non-developer engineer positions. I'll admit to being in the 99% of people who had no idea those roles were "bad", or destroyed your career, or was the equivalent of being a lawyer in a JD-preferred job.
sure! i’m not in one of those positions myself, but i have friends who have been, and they certainly don’t destroy your career. they may be less ~prestigious~ but it’s definiely not something that would prevent you from being hired as a SWE later. i mean, big tech firms allow internal transfers / hire ppl who don’t have college degrees or ppl who were previously product designers, PMs, growth hackers etc. being a sales engineer doesn’t matter as long as you can pass the coding interview

FuzzyDunlop
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by FuzzyDunlop » Tue May 08, 2018 4:17 pm

Guest wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 3:20 pm
Suralin, glad to hear you weigh in on non-developer engineer positions. I'll admit to being in the 99% of people who had no idea those roles were "bad", or destroyed your career, or was the equivalent of being a lawyer in a JD-preferred job.

I never said that these positions were "bad." I never said anything close to those positions "destroying" ones career. I said they were the equivalent of a JD-preferred job.
suralin wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 3:41 pm
Guest wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 3:20 pm
Suralin, glad to hear you weigh in on non-developer engineer positions. I'll admit to being in the 99% of people who had no idea those roles were "bad", or destroyed your career, or was the equivalent of being a lawyer in a JD-preferred job.
sure! i’m not in one of those positions myself, but i have friends who have been, and they certainly don’t destroy your career. they may be less ~prestigious~ but it’s definiely not something that would prevent you from being hired as a SWE later. i mean, big tech firms allow internal transfers / hire ppl who don’t have college degrees or ppl who were previously product designers, PMs, growth hackers etc. being a sales engineer doesn’t matter as long as you can pass the coding interview


Right, they have to pass a software engineer technical interview. And if they could do this, they probably would have been SWEs originally, and gotten the much better equity package.

Except now after working their sales engineer job for a few years, they haven't been coding near as much as when they first tried for an SWE position. Unless they've been keeping up with and polishing their programming ability in their free time, their programming skills have likely gotten worse. So the number of people in these positions that actually transfer successfully as SWEs is probably what, less than 1%? Great for the tiny few who do transfer, congrats to them. They're probably highly motivated and love programming enough to improve their skills in their free time while working full time.

Also, those positions have quick turnover. You said your friends "have" been in those positions, so I'm guessing they quit? The reviews some of those specific positions on Blind are terrible. Probably why the same job has so many different titles.

guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by guest » Wed May 09, 2018 12:37 pm

coffee_spoons wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 2:20 pm
guest wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 pm

guest in the 2nd quoted post. re the "cushy" job part, there may be some truth to that perception in the bolded, but my point is that there is nothing like the term "cushy" job in tech. no one uses it, it doesn't reflect well on the person using it within the tech industry. tech people typically try to show how valuable their work is, how they are making so called "difference", and how much they work for they have to sell it. no ones says they like slacking, it doesn't get them anywhere. it's more of an outlook, people think that results and practicality counts, whereas i think in bureaucracies or government there is so much of lack of change and unproductive debates and rigidness that people give up the notion that individual as opposed to collectivism or groupism can bring change or result, which can make terms like cushy become more acceptable.

for the talent to fill Senior SWE positions, ive heard managers say they can't find talent, but not sure if it's due to real lack of talent or due to unwillingness of managers to pull the trigger on who they want to hire. hiring someone and getting them to a point where it all works out requires a good deal of effort, and managers at times simply keep pushing out even good candidates to buy more time for projects.
Re "cushy", I'm in biglaw and the majority of my close friends are in tech. I sort of curse my decision to do the law school route to "out-earn" all of them in biglaw. (Fuck. me.)

Obviously, don't use the term "cushy" in tech. It's not a tech thing, it's an American work-culture thing. "Cushy" or "work-life" translates to unambitious, unmotivated, and untalented. Tech people do not like to hear that their job is cushy. That said, compared to most jobs in the six-figures, their jobs are cushy (depending on whether they enjoy the day-to-day). I got coffee with an acquaintance who had gone the bootcamp route and is now working at a Kickstarter/WeWork/Buzzfeed type tech company (heavy on web development), and she got very upset when I said I wanted to do tech because of the worklife balance. She said she worked very hard and twice this year to date, she even had to leave at 8 PM. To anybody in biglaw, that statement is laughable. But she perceived me telling her she had "work-life balance" as me implying that she was lazy, or whatever.
guest-2 in the quote. yes leaving at 8 is late. i think one of the reasons you can't simply compare the hours with BL is that there is little "fluff" in CompSci compared to law. you may actually work only 3 hours per day for 5 days a week and be just totally drained at the end of the week due to intense aspect of CS algorithmic thinking and coding. on the other hand, there is verbiage and fluff you have to navigate in law. you can't "kinda know" something and be able to generate production level code and implementations going to customers independently. if you mess up or make a mistake it'd be obvious.

i actually do coding only may be 2 hours a day around 10 hours per week. more than that becomes hard to sustain. but i am not sure how useful these boot camps are. most of the people going through boot camps only secure very basic type of coding or programming jobs, not the ones where you are seen more like a computer scientist. i think you def need a degree in CS/EE for that.
coffee_spoons wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 2:20 pm
All of my friends in tech including those in the big companies think that leaving at 7 is late. They have hobbies outside of work that they do on weeknights. One of them literally decided to learn to fly an airplane on the weekends. And they all seem to do just fine with promotions.


(That said, my impression is that in tech, nobody gives you credit for how many hours you work, but for how much usable code you produce. If you can get x amount of code done in 30 hours because you're a good developer, you'll have a pretty nice life. If it takes you 70 hours because you're slow, which I think I'd probably be for a while if I switched, nobody's giving you extra credit or recognition for staying in the office late).
the bolded is all that matters. it's all about the productivity and adding value. that requires a very different skill set than being a lawyer. law is intellectual but teaches skills that can hinder getting along with people in a biz environment, which is probably one of the most crucial skills in success in tech once you get past the programmer levels.

User avatar
Kümmel
Posts: 596
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by Kümmel » Wed May 09, 2018 3:09 pm

Series question. I have a couple of friends who are "UX designers," and they make a ton of money. I just don't understand how. Like they do not know any programming languages and can't actually build anything themselves. Just kind of amazes me how they are worth that much when someone who does know how to code can just do it themselves.

User avatar
suralin
Posts: 3795
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:36 am

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by suralin » Wed May 09, 2018 3:24 pm

Kümmel wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 3:09 pm
Series question. I have a couple of friends who are "UX designers," and they make a ton of money. I just don't understand how. Like they do not know any programming languages and can't actually build anything themselves. Just kind of amazes me how they are worth that much when someone who does know how to code can just do it themselves.
good question, yeah product designers and UX researchers get paid well here

it's not really at all the case that somebody who knows how to code can do that stuff too—the skillsets are p separate

UX design is a separate field (eg see the design of everyday things); it's not necessarily about actually designing and coding the front end that users see, but about figuring out which interaction flows make the most sense, how to expose the right affordances in a lightweight way, what do users affirmatively want to do vs what does this design actually incentivize them to do vs what do users want to do that they don't know they want to do, etc

it can sound p trivial but even small differences in a user's experience can lead to huge differences in output/metrics/sentiment/revenue when u multiply by a billion users (a/b testing comes in here but the search space needs to be narrowed down tremendously first)

User avatar
Kümmel
Posts: 596
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by Kümmel » Wed May 09, 2018 3:29 pm

suralin wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 3:24 pm

it can sound p trivial but even small differences in a user's experience can lead to huge differences in output/metrics/sentiment/revenue when u multiply by a billion users (a/b testing comes in here but the search space needs to be narrowed down tremendously first)
Thanks for walking through that. It definitely was something I thought was very trivial, and just couldn't believe my unemployed friend who had no skillset was able to do a bootcamp and now makes easy 6 figs.

Guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by Guest » Wed May 09, 2018 4:46 pm

Would you say that UX is more accessible of a field to break into for somebody without a CS degree or background?

FuzzyDunlop
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by FuzzyDunlop » Wed May 09, 2018 6:14 pm

Guest wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 4:46 pm
Would you say that UX is more accessible of a field to break into for somebody without a CS degree or background?
http://www.karenx.com/blog/how-to-becom ... gn-school/

Guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by Guest » Thu May 10, 2018 10:09 am

To the point of there being no version of Coding Bootcamp Transparency, I think the CIRR plays a pretty comparable role. I think there's nothing wrong about verifying advertisement claims, so this seems like a good addition to the programming field.

https://cirr.org/data

app
Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by app » Fri May 11, 2018 1:55 am

suralin wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 5:24 pm
re prep (@app), couldn't find the specific q, but i have a long reddit post on this, feel free to PM me.
sent PM.
suralin wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 5:24 pm

app wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:26 pm
how many lc problems you did in your first go as total 150 hrs doesn't seem that much esp for fb, or did you have a degree in cs or exposure to those style problems from coursework?
i do have a cs degree, though from an extremely unknown liberal arts college. i did 76 problems on leetcode and largely focused on quality over quantity. probably could've spent less than 150 hrs but i didn't want to wait another yr
i thought it'd be the opposite, that 150 hours or 76 problems isn't really much for fb/goog interviewing standard. i assume you must have done the rest in some other form through courses or sth. i've heard people going through almost half the problems on that site before even trying to interview there, and had very varied experiences. one was asked for a highly specialized euler sequence problem based on math algo whereas some others had much milder questions. i had a big4 one recently but that was not anywhere as hard.

guest

Re: CS career megathread / AMA

Post by guest » Fri May 11, 2018 2:20 am

FuzzyDunlop wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 2:30 pm
guest wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 pm


for the talent to fill Senior SWE positions, ive heard managers say they can't find talent, but not sure if it's due to real lack of talent or due to unwillingness of managers to pull the trigger on who they want to hire. hiring someone and getting them to a point where it all works out requires a good deal of effort, and managers at times simply keep pushing out even good candidates to buy more time for projects.
Did you see the blog post I linked about why the vast majority of computer science grads can't code or pass a simple whiteboard interview? So think about how many interview applicants they have to go through to find a candidate that can pass.

Many times, that candidate isn't American. So you the manager has to make sure they're a culture fit and can get accustomed to American work culture. Or understands how things work differently here, especially if they're from a very different culture like India or Pakistan.

Otherwise, that whole cycle starts again. For some of them, they'd rather just keep the lazy but productive-when-he-wants-to-be Senior SWE they already have than deal with that.
not sure which one that is as there are a couple of links here. can you link that one? i hear it very often as i mentioned before but really i think a lot of this is one of those things where people complain about things that they have power over. i've seen too many brilliant engineers being evaluated by lazy hiring managers who would likely not succeed in the management ladder as not being able to pass a "simple coding test" just because hiring manger is hung up on some trivia about a language that no one knows or cares about. too many managers place emphasis on things primarily because they know them not because they're really crucial to being a "good" sw engineer. in my work, i see everyday managers with open requisitions for a year rejecting solid candidates because they weren't able to find the one they "like" (it's couched differently tho). and it's not hard to see the real reasons. the group typically would have no career path for engineers or clear processes, engineers and managers are in perpetual firefight mode with little regard for the next hire who comes in through the pipeline, and company recruiters who are only do the minimal necessary to make sure they get their salary or commission.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest