Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

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cj2018
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Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:58 pm

Hi All,

I’ve been comtenplating a complete career change and need advice and guidance from more experienced folks around here.

For context, I’m in my late 20s, married no kids, and living in SF Bay Area. I work in a Megacorp in a very stable and chill non-tech role (business strategy) and have been doing similar line of work since college with a few years in management consulting before switching to corporate strategy. I make pretty good income (around $250k in high base salary+RSU+bonus) and have been in my current Megacorp for just a few months.

The good things about my current job are of course great pay, great benefits, chill environment (my realistic productive work is about 20-30hrs / week), nice coworkers but obviously the bad things are the complacency, no learning, office politics (I’m non-white and I can feel the glass ceiling of my current career path by simply looking around me) etc. I’m lucky to be where I am career wise due to my top academic pedigree but I know deep down my current career trajectory is not sustainable in the long run and the good time will end (along with my high compensation) just cuz I know I won’t succeed in playing the game.

I’m interested in making a complete career switch to software engineering and I know I can do this since I majored in CS in college and I’m also drawn to software engineering’s focus on meritocracy (relatively speaking) and flexiblity in been fairly location independent. It’s also probably a lot more intellectually challenging than my current business role. Ideally I want to break into the top software firms (google/fb/uber/airbnb/quora/netflix etc) where software engineers are the revenue generators.

The questions are:

1. Am I thinking this right and how feasible is my plan?
2. How would i make the switch? Should I quit and join a coding Bootcamp to jump start this process or stay put at current boring job and try to study part time and network/interview etc.?

Financially I know it might not make sense in the short time to forego a stable high income job to pursue something I’ve never done before, but if I don’t make the switch soon, I’m afraid I’d be stuck in a deadbeat environment and long term it will be bad for me. Thoughts?

Keenobserver
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Keenobserver » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:06 pm

Hello I am in a familiar situation. Made 250k plus last year but know that will not be sustainable. I am looking to switch to IT as well. My advice is to go ahead and do it now as you are young and full of energy. Do not delay this itch and go for it. Do not quit your current gig, and try to find a flexible route. All the best.

runner540
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by runner540 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:08 pm

$250k for 20 something (or any age) in a "chill" job is very rare. you left consulting for some reason...was it hours? Make sure the grass is really greener.

KlangFool
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:14 pm

OP,

1) A more realistic path would be looking into AI, machine learning, and data science. Something that combines your current job with programming.

2) What do you hope to get out of this career change?

KlangFool

knightrider
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by knightrider » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:15 pm

If you already majored in CS I see no point to taking any bootcamp/classes. You are probably already more qualified than 80% of coders out there :-)

Thegame14
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:18 pm

can you have current employer pay for your tuition, stay long enough that you don't have to pay them back, then re-evaluate your situation once that period is up.

oilrig
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by oilrig » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:33 pm

You're late 20's and making $250k in a chill job, I would stay put if I were you! You have only been at your company for a few months, why don't you give it a year and reevaluate then. As someone who was in your shoes and quit a high paying job after a few months, trust me the grass isn't always greener. You may like coding, but then go to a company/boss you hate. There is no perfect job out there, they all have something annoying about them!

Also, I hope I don't get crucified for this next comment. I am a minority working in HR and I have worked at several megacorps. If you are a non-white person working for a (presumably) tech company in San Fran, with a majority white workforce, then your chances of ever being let go are VERY slim. Megacorps (especially tech companies) are pushing for diversity and more minorities/women in the workforce. I have personally seen race and gender play a huge part in whether a person gets laid off or not. Something also tells me that you are a hard worker and a high performer, you WILL be rewarded for it. Just be patient and give it time, and keep working hard!

bluquark
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by bluquark » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:38 pm

Definitely stay put and put out feelers for now.

Bootcamps will not get you hired at a FAANG-tier company as a software engineer. That is a trajectory towards a likely pay cut. It would be more reasonable to do a master’s degree instead. And you would need to not think of this as a *complete* career switch, particularly in how you present your history to future employers.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you’re alienated and uneasy in your current environment and direction. You might have a sinking feeling as you internalize that you’ve just joined this environment where it seems your values and excitements aren’t shared by those around you. I get it, I’ve been there. You need to do someting about this, but there are many options short of a radical move.

Take your time first to fully understand the career paths from here, both in your current megacorp and outside. Does your corp have a mentorship program? If you can find a trusted person later in their career who you can honestly talk over your concerns with, you will gain a lot from their perspective. Secondly, you should consider external networking opportunities at this point mostly as a way to learn what other career paths are like, rather than narrowly thinking of them as practical entryways to new jobs.

Afty
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Afty » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:45 pm

You're in a good position to do this, if it's what you really want to do. I agree with a previous poster that doing a Masters is a better path than doing a coding school. Since you already have an undergrad degree in CS, I assume you want to do the coding school to brush up on your coding skills. You can do that in a Masters program as well, and it will look better on your resume.

If your majored in CS in undergrad, why didn't you purse software engineering as your career? What's changed to make you want to pursue it?

Having you considered going into product management at a tech company? At the tech megacorp where I work, many PMs have technical degrees but focus on the user and the business case and help engineers decide what to build. Being able to speak both languages -- technical and product/business -- would be a huge advantage in such a role.

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FlyAF
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by FlyAF » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:47 pm

Out of curiosity, if you're worried about sustainability, why would you choose a field where the whole age discrimination thing really became a huge issue?

Leave "chill" a job making 250+k working 40 hours a week or less? Dude, just no.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by WhyNotUs » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:50 pm

Me thinks AI will make coders dinosaurs over time. Given the nature of coding probably not far far off.
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stoptothink
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:58 pm

oilrig wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:33 pm
Also, I hope I don't get crucified for this next comment. I am a minority working in HR and I have worked at several megacorps. If you are a non-white person working for a (presumably) tech company in San Fran, with a majority white workforce, then your chances of ever being let go are VERY slim. Megacorps (especially tech companies) are pushing for diversity and more minorities/women in the workforce. I have personally seen race and gender play a huge part in whether a person gets laid off or not. Something also tells me that you are a hard worker and a high performer, you WILL be rewarded for it. Just be patient and give it time, and keep working hard!
At the risk of getting this shutdown, the "non-white" comment really rubbed me the wrong way. Not in the SanFran area, but I am a non-white exec in an ultra-conservative large company in one of the "whitest" areas in the country. There is no sugarcoating it, my skin color and surname were a massive benefit in getting my current position and moving up the corporate ladder. If OP thinks it (their ethnicity) is holding them down at their current employer, probably time to look for a new place to work instead of looking for a total change in career.

CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by CascadiaSoonish » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:00 pm

As someone who hires technical people, I've learned that code school certificates are a poor proxy for ability to do the job. Lots of people in the market with a cert and they all say "sure, I know Python!" but they only have a single code commit in Github from their code school project six months ago. And those programs often aren't cheap. So if you're considering code schools, caveat emptor.

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by JGoneRiding » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:02 pm

I am not it at all. But from what i read it has a different kind of glass ceiling, age! You have the perfect job! Why on earth would you risk out of bordem. Keep up your skills develop new ones send outta fillers but it is unlikely you would get more money of any significance after what sounds like a ton of work

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aj76er
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by aj76er » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:03 pm

Many (but not all) software dev jobs can feel like working on an assembly line. Daily standup meetings, never ending product cycles (sprints), and very tight deadlines. Make sure you know what you are getting into. You have to *really* love coding and/or the product to not get burned out. And then there's the age discrimination that other posters have mentioned. After 35, it's tough field to stay employed in.

Personally, I'd focus on things you like about your current situation and try to make it work for you. Honestly, it sounds like a sweet gig :). Finding perfect fulfillment from a 9-5 Mega corp job (in any field or sector) is probably pretty rare these days. Focusing on hobbies and interests outside of work may be a good avenue. Perhaps some open source or personal coding projects?
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:09 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:58 pm
office politics (I’m non-white and I can feel the glass ceiling of my current career path by simply looking around me) etc. I’m lucky to be where I am career wise due to my top academic pedigree but I know deep down my current career trajectory is not sustainable in the long run and the good time will end (along with my high compensation) just cuz I know I won’t succeed in playing the game.

With all respect, you have been in this job a few months, you are in your early twenties, and talking about "glass ceiling" attributed to your minority status, comments about "playing the game",etc..I think you need to give any job more time and not be feeling like a victim, it is not positive or worthwhile for you. You are in the very tolerant and diverse SF area, and if you really don't think that your talents will be recognized then I guess you need to move on, but make sure it is the job environment and not your attitude. Many talented folks would love to have your opportunities and income in their early 20s.

sksbog
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by sksbog » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:13 pm

Is software engineering your passion? If yes, then go for it.

I would not and here is why.

Software engineering job will not pay this much, unless you go to a VP level of a megacorp. If you start from developer, it may take you some time to get there.
I have spent all life working for multiple mega corps as software developer, engineer and architect.
The trend has shifted to a shameless degree that the corps are asking software developers and engineers are to act as requirements validators/tech lead/guides to the offshore develpers and engineers of the mega corps, who actually does coding and design work. Its a constant battle for work and layoffs in US are common along with offshore hiring.

Good Luck!

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm

I'd do an MS rather than a bootcamp. You're unlikely to get close to $250k out of a bootcamp, even with a CS degree, because you are likely to be very rusty and won't be able to pass the algorithm-heavy interviews. But yeah, you could be making significantly more than $250k within 5 years so financially it's probably worth it to switch long-term. Don't expect to get there working 20-30 hours per week, though.

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by go_mets » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:19 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:47 pm
Out of curiosity, if you're worried about sustainability, why would you choose a field where the whole age discrimination thing really became a huge issue?
Not to mention a field where the job can be anywhere.
In other words, the company outsources a job to design the new database to coders in India or eastern Europe or outer Mongolia.

LOL.

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by go_mets » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:22 pm

4nwestsaylng wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:09 pm
Many talented folks would love to have your opportunities and income in their early 20s.
I am shaking my head as I am reading the original post.
He/she doesn't know how good he/she has it.
WOW.


.

Starfish
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Starfish » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:27 pm

As a coder for several years you will make less money with stress and long hours.
Non-white thing shouldn't be an issue. If anything in Bay Area is the opposite. I am just looking at the large number of Chinese/Indian/etc executives I know.

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Elsebet
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Elsebet » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:32 pm

Please understand I am not being snarky when I ask this next question. You have to be very talented and exceptional to be a software engineer at the big name companies, do you feel confident that is you?

Do you contribute to open source projects? Is your github repo full of interesting side projects you built? Your competition will have those things plus real world software development experience.

I would try to get a software engineering job at your current company first and see how you like it. Discuss a way to get to that point with your current manager.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

core4portfolio
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by core4portfolio » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:42 pm

Color of person doesnt matter if you are content and perform job well.
Coding is not really interesting after some years .....
Reaching 250k will take quite some years !!!!!!
Hope i dont discourged you but this is where software is now !!!!
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by travelspot » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:58 pm

With that kind of income, especially at your age and the low hours/stress environment, I would not leave for a career change. Maybe if you were miserable, but your question is framed as though you are content and just wondering if the grass is greener somewhere else. It probably isn’t. Plus, who knows what the future holds in terms of coding and the IT industry, and whether you would be as content in that job. In your situation, especially with no family, I would keep doing what I’m doing, saving as much as possible and watching the money grow.
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by palaheel » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:00 pm

go_mets wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:22 pm
4nwestsaylng wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:09 pm
Many talented folks would love to have your opportunities and income in their early 20s.
I am shaking my head as I am reading the original post.
He/she doesn't know how good he/she has it.
WOW.


.
I agree. I love software development, but it's a high pressure grind, and "relaxed" weeks are 50 hours. Do you really want to sign up for that?
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boogiehead
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by boogiehead » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:32 pm

You have a lot of choices, but it just seems like you are stuck in a rut. When you state "no learning" and "office politics" (have you asked for additional tasks, have you looked into training, have you tried talking to management about opportunities etc...)

If you really have a passion for coding why not try to do a internal transfer and reach out to contacts you know in the IT/MIS dept..... the hardest part of starting a new career is getting your foot in the door.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:43 pm

I'd look into a part-time MSCS. I did that when I was going to change to a software engineering career. I didn't have a degree in CS, but had taken several programming courses at the local Community College and was doing programming as part of my then job.

Your company might even pay for it, Megacorp did for me. Now, I did one class per semester, so it took a few years, but I didn't want to impact my lifestyle much. You could go faster.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:27 pm

Thanks everyone for the inputs - they really shed light from different perspectives and give me a lot of food for thought. I know grass isn't always greener on the other side (i've done my fair share of job-hopping..) and as a group i do believe millennial like myself tend to be less tolerant on workplace bs and perhaps tend to experiment with multiple career options before settling down on one's passion?

I'm definitely not going to act irrationally and just quit without any real plans. A more likely scenario based on replies so far would probably be 1) seeking internal transfer opportunity, 2) studying and hustling on the side and trying to see if i can make the switch directly without quitting current gig, 3) taking an unpaid leave of absence and trying the full-time bootcamp thing and see if i can make the switch, come back and stay at current job if it fails 4) forget about this move you are crazy! stay and keep doing what you are currently doing.

I think one of the biggest reasons i'm able to land where i am now is because i was very lucky to find a mentor from a previous gig and started "leveling up" with him as he goes from director -> vp etc. That's why i'm able to go from consulting to corporate strategy and land such a high compensation for my age - i'm definitely very talented and good at what i do, but i do believe largely it's because of luck and connection. Rationally, I don't really feel i deserve to be compensated at this level at my age and feel the income is inflated hence the insecurity feeling i'm getting. How long can i keep this good fortune going? What happens if my mentor gets edged out at work at some point or if i can't keep following him because things change? How employable will i be in a few years when im in mid 35s if i get laid off and need to find a similar job?

i think it might be hard and that's why i'm proactively thinking ways to potentially change course now to something more hard skill-based and meritocratic so i'm less dependent on luck, connection, softskills, location etc.

Lastly, i know for a fact that software engineers at top SF bay area companies (public or startup) are compensated very well. People with 1-2 years of experience typically will earn around $200k in total comp, at least. I know it's crazy but it's true and the earning potential for senior engineers and engineering managers are probably in the $400k-$600k level....in that sense the income trajectory is probably even better than my current job, and i wouldn't even mind staying over at the entry level. Then again, like another poster said, this is all good assuming i have what it takes to break into the top firms...

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:37 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:27 pm

How employable will i be in a few years when im in mid 35s if i get laid off and need to find a similar job?
cj2018,

Why do you need to care about this if you save like crazy over the next few years? That is a more realistic goal.

[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

KlangFool

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:39 pm

Elsebet wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:32 pm
Please understand I am not being snarky when I ask this next question. You have to be very talented and exceptional to be a software engineer at the big name companies, do you feel confident that is you?

Do you contribute to open source projects? Is your github repo full of interesting side projects you built? Your competition will have those things plus real world software development experience.

I would try to get a software engineering job at your current company first and see how you like it. Discuss a way to get to that point with your current manager.
Thanks. These are all valid questions to ask. I do have github repo with side projects and i've self-taught myself the popular web development frameworks but i'm just wondering if taking 3-month to do fulltime bootcamp might be a better and faster route to convert myself to software engineer given the learning is more structured, recruiting and networking might be better and i will have a better story to tell potential employers why i can go from being a corporate person to a software engineer etc. i'm just thinking if doing a 3-month bootcamp shows dedication and determination and obviously also help me actually get all the skills needed to break into the industry.

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:42 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:37 pm
cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:27 pm

How employable will i be in a few years when im in mid 35s if i get laid off and need to find a similar job?
cj2018,

Why do you need to care about this if you save like crazy over the next few years? That is a more realistic goal.

Pardon me as an older person. I really hate folks that are too lazy to capitalize their "I". I am not sure that you take enough care on your post. You are what you write.

KlangFool
Thanks KlangFool. FIRE is definitely something I've thought about so what you said would be another option too.

No worries, and I'm sorry I failed to meet you standard on capitalizing the "I" :oops:

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:44 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:39 pm
Elsebet wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:32 pm
Please understand I am not being snarky when I ask this next question. You have to be very talented and exceptional to be a software engineer at the big name companies, do you feel confident that is you?

Do you contribute to open source projects? Is your github repo full of interesting side projects you built? Your competition will have those things plus real world software development experience.

I would try to get a software engineering job at your current company first and see how you like it. Discuss a way to get to that point with your current manager.
Thanks. These are all valid questions to ask. I do have github repo with side projects and i've self-taught myself the popular web development frameworks but i'm just wondering if taking 3-month to do fulltime bootcamp might be a better and faster route to convert myself to software engineer given the learning is more structured, recruiting and networking might be better and i will have a better story to tell potential employers why i can go from being a corporate person to a software engineer etc. i'm just thinking if doing a 3-month bootcamp shows dedication and determination and obviously also help me actually get all the skills needed to break into the industry.
cj2018,

If you can do this in 3 months, what makes you think that others cannot do this? If almost anyone can do this, why would the employer pay a lot of money for that kind of person? This is basic supply and demand.

KlangFool

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:48 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm
I'd do an MS rather than a bootcamp. You're unlikely to get close to $250k out of a bootcamp, even with a CS degree, because you are likely to be very rusty and won't be able to pass the algorithm-heavy interviews. But yeah, you could be making significantly more than $250k within 5 years so financially it's probably worth it to switch long-term. Don't expect to get there working 20-30 hours per week, though.
Thanks. Agreed that initially I would definitely take a pay cut coming out of bootcamp but like you said, it's about the long-term.

One of the reasons I'm leaning over the bootcamp option versus MS or grad school is tuition cost, opportunity cost, and time. Seems like bootcamp curriculum is more practical and can get me to land a software engineer job in the shortest path. Of course the quality of SF bootcamps vary and I would most likely only consider the path if I attend the top coding school (App Academy?)

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:48 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm
I'd do an MS rather than a bootcamp. You're unlikely to get close to $250k out of a bootcamp, even with a CS degree, because you are likely to be very rusty and won't be able to pass the algorithm-heavy interviews. But yeah, you could be making significantly more than $250k within 5 years so financially it's probably worth it to switch long-term. Don't expect to get there working 20-30 hours per week, though.
Thanks. Agreed that initially I would definitely take a pay cut coming out of bootcamp but like you said, it's about the long-term.

One of the reasons I'm leaning over the bootcamp option versus MS or grad school is tuition cost, opportunity cost, and time. Seems like bootcamp curriculum is more practical and can get me to land a software engineer job in the shortest path. Of course the quality of SF bootcamps vary and I would most likely only consider the path if I attend the top coding school (App Academy?)
You could get a job at a top company directly out of school with an MS, but probably not with a bootcamp. If you don't mind working at a low-tier company or two for a few years first, bootcamp is a viable path, but it will be an uphill battled. An MS is the way to go IMO.
Last edited by KyleAAA on Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:53 pm

bluquark wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:38 pm
Definitely stay put and put out feelers for now.

Bootcamps will not get you hired at a FAANG-tier company as a software engineer. That is a trajectory towards a likely pay cut.
This. Coders are at the bottom of the heap. A startup might take op on. But FAANG? No.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:54 pm

I’ve been in your shoes. Corporate strategy can be alienating after awhile because it’s all about influencing others to get things done.

I’d recommend you get closer to the business: product management, product marketing, etc.

Or find a strategy role at a smaller company that will allow you to drive more impact.

I recently made the move from MegaCorp corporate strategy to small tech company BizOps and have enjoyed it so far.

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:55 pm

bluquark wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:38 pm
Definitely stay put and put out feelers for now.

Bootcamps will not get you hired at a FAANG-tier company as a software engineer. That is a trajectory towards a likely pay cut. It would be more reasonable to do a master’s degree instead. And you would need to not think of this as a *complete* career switch, particularly in how you present your history to future employers.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like you’re alienated and uneasy in your current environment and direction. You might have a sinking feeling as you internalize that you’ve just joined this environment where it seems your values and excitements aren’t shared by those around you. I get it, I’ve been there. You need to do someting about this, but there are many options short of a radical move.

Take your time first to fully understand the career paths from here, both in your current megacorp and outside. Does your corp have a mentorship program? If you can find a trusted person later in their career who you can honestly talk over your concerns with, you will gain a lot from their perspective. Secondly, you should consider external networking opportunities at this point mostly as a way to learn what other career paths are like, rather than narrowly thinking of them as practical entryways to new jobs.
Thanks bluquark. You hit the nail on the head regarding what I'm currently feeling at work.

I appreciate the guidance you provided, will definitely digest on those more. I think it make sense to have coffee/info sessions with current software engineers at FAANG-tier companies and just learn more about their career paths and what their jobs are really like etc. Will do.

quantAndHold
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:55 pm

A couple of things.

Your idea of what rank and file coders make, even in the Bay Area, is distorted. I honestly don’t know anyone who makes $400-600k, unless they’re truly extraordinary. Mid level people at good Bay Area companies can get to $200-250k, but much of that is based on RSU’s, not base salary, so it isn’t a given.

If you already have a BSCS, code bootcamp will hurt more than help. Bootcamp will qualify you for a $50k/year grunt job as a web developer at a third tier company. I know exactly one boot camp grad who got a job at the top tier company I worked at. He spent five years in 3rd tier purgatory first, and still had a lower job title and made less money than the “real” SDE’s.

If you want to break into the industry as a SDE, your best bet is to start taking graduate level classes. You don’t need to finish the program before you apply for jobs, you just need to show that you’re working towards the MSCS.

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:59 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm
cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:48 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm
I'd do an MS rather than a bootcamp. You're unlikely to get close to $250k out of a bootcamp, even with a CS degree, because you are likely to be very rusty and won't be able to pass the algorithm-heavy interviews. But yeah, you could be making significantly more than $250k within 5 years so financially it's probably worth it to switch long-term. Don't expect to get there working 20-30 hours per week, though.
Thanks. Agreed that initially I would definitely take a pay cut coming out of bootcamp but like you said, it's about the long-term.

One of the reasons I'm leaning over the bootcamp option versus MS or grad school is tuition cost, opportunity cost, and time. Seems like bootcamp curriculum is more practical and can get me to land a software engineer job in the shortest path. Of course the quality of SF bootcamps vary and I would most likely only consider the path if I attend the top coding school (App Academy?)
You could get a job at a top company directly out of school with an MS, but probably not with a bootcamp. If you don't mind working at a low-tier company or two for a few years first, bootcamp is a viable path.
Yes, I was thinking break into the industry first via bootcamp route (e.g. 1-2 yrs at startup or lower-tier company) and then leetcode my way into FAANG-tier firms.

FWIW, I have a CS degree from top 10 US university, and MBA from top 3 business school so I'm thinking bootcamp will be a good complement...maybe not?

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:00 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:53 pm
bluquark wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:38 pm
Definitely stay put and put out feelers for now.

Bootcamps will not get you hired at a FAANG-tier company as a software engineer. That is a trajectory towards a likely pay cut.
This. Coders are at the bottom of the heap. A startup might take op on. But FAANG? No.
What about App Academy -> startup or 2nd-tier for a couple years -> leetcode my way into FAANG-tier?

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:01 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:59 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm
cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:48 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm
I'd do an MS rather than a bootcamp. You're unlikely to get close to $250k out of a bootcamp, even with a CS degree, because you are likely to be very rusty and won't be able to pass the algorithm-heavy interviews. But yeah, you could be making significantly more than $250k within 5 years so financially it's probably worth it to switch long-term. Don't expect to get there working 20-30 hours per week, though.
Thanks. Agreed that initially I would definitely take a pay cut coming out of bootcamp but like you said, it's about the long-term.

One of the reasons I'm leaning over the bootcamp option versus MS or grad school is tuition cost, opportunity cost, and time. Seems like bootcamp curriculum is more practical and can get me to land a software engineer job in the shortest path. Of course the quality of SF bootcamps vary and I would most likely only consider the path if I attend the top coding school (App Academy?)
You could get a job at a top company directly out of school with an MS, but probably not with a bootcamp. If you don't mind working at a low-tier company or two for a few years first, bootcamp is a viable path.
Yes, I was thinking break into the industry first via bootcamp route (e.g. 1-2 yrs at startup or lower-tier company) and then leetcode my way into FAANG-tier firms.

FWIW, I have a CS degree from top 10 US university, and MBA from top 3 business school so I'm thinking bootcamp will be a good complement...maybe not?
That might work. Problem is, Leetcode is only half the interview. System design is the other half, and it's hard to pass non-entry-level system design interviews without actual experience building for web scale, which most startups and lower-tier companies won't get you. It's much easier to break in as a new grad than as an experienced industry hire IMO.

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:03 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:55 pm
A couple of things.

Your idea of what rank and file coders make, even in the Bay Area, is distorted. I honestly don’t know anyone who makes $400-600k, unless they’re truly extraordinary. Mid level people at good Bay Area companies can get to $200-250k, but much of that is based on RSU’s, not base salary, so it isn’t a given.

If you already have a BSCS, code bootcamp will hurt more than help. Bootcamp will qualify you for a $50k/year grunt job as a web developer at a third tier company. I know exactly one boot camp grad who got a job at the top tier company I worked at. He spent five years in 3rd tier purgatory first, and still had a lower job title and made less money than the “real” SDE’s.

If you want to break into the industry as a SDE, your best bet is to start taking graduate level classes. You don’t need to finish the program before you apply for jobs, you just need to show that you’re working towards the MSCS.
That's interesting perspective and insight. Thanks for sharing.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:04 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:48 pm
One of the reasons I'm leaning over the bootcamp option versus MS or grad school is tuition cost, opportunity cost, and time. Seems like bootcamp curriculum is more practical and can get me to land a software engineer job in the shortest path. Of course the quality of SF bootcamps vary and I would most likely only consider the path if I attend the top coding school (App Academy?)
Well, these bootcamps and such give one a bare starting knowledge. They can't substitute for years of school and practical experience, and the companies know that. Often they then require an apprenticeship, then you start at the very bottom rung. With a CS degree and a recent MS on top, you're not likely to start there. Have you checked into tuition assistance from your company? It would probably require you to stay for a period, but lateral moves are often easier anyway. That's what I did at Megacorp. After finishing the MSCS, I looked for internal openings for software engineers and applied.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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cj2018
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by cj2018 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:10 pm

KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:01 pm
cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:59 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:52 pm
cj2018 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:48 pm
KyleAAA wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm
I'd do an MS rather than a bootcamp. You're unlikely to get close to $250k out of a bootcamp, even with a CS degree, because you are likely to be very rusty and won't be able to pass the algorithm-heavy interviews. But yeah, you could be making significantly more than $250k within 5 years so financially it's probably worth it to switch long-term. Don't expect to get there working 20-30 hours per week, though.
Thanks. Agreed that initially I would definitely take a pay cut coming out of bootcamp but like you said, it's about the long-term.

One of the reasons I'm leaning over the bootcamp option versus MS or grad school is tuition cost, opportunity cost, and time. Seems like bootcamp curriculum is more practical and can get me to land a software engineer job in the shortest path. Of course the quality of SF bootcamps vary and I would most likely only consider the path if I attend the top coding school (App Academy?)
You could get a job at a top company directly out of school with an MS, but probably not with a bootcamp. If you don't mind working at a low-tier company or two for a few years first, bootcamp is a viable path.
Yes, I was thinking break into the industry first via bootcamp route (e.g. 1-2 yrs at startup or lower-tier company) and then leetcode my way into FAANG-tier firms.

FWIW, I have a CS degree from top 10 US university, and MBA from top 3 business school so I'm thinking bootcamp will be a good complement...maybe not?
That might work. Problem is, Leetcode is only half the interview. System design is the other half, and it's hard to pass non-entry-level system design interviews without actual experience building for web scale, which most startups and lower-tier companies won't get you. It's much easier to break in as a new grad than as an experienced industry hire IMO.
Yeah true, that's why top tier firms focus so much on algorithm and system design questions in interviews. I know the odds are not great for this bootcamp-> startup/2nd tier-> top tier route compared to student out of MS program. I need to do more research then...thanks.

mighty72
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by mighty72 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:15 pm

A couple of things I want to clarify.
First, it is highly unlikely that you would land a 200k job from boot camp
Second, it is highly unlikely that you will make 200k in a couple of years unless you land in a start-up which goes IPO or is sold
Most folks in tech in Bay area get to 200k at least after 5 years and many take many more years of 50+ hours of work.
If you really want to go tech route, start with open source projects to get some projects on your resume.

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by AerialWombat » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:19 pm

I am the non-technical co-founder of a tech startup. We have hired several coders from the coding boot camps, largely because we could pay them less and work them hard for the <1 year we anticipated them staying.

In reality, only one of them has really worked out, and he is now our lead developer. Most just didn’t learn enough in the boot camp to be very useful to us. I couldn’t fathom any of them going on to FANG companies.

That has been my limited experience, on the hiring side.

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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by sambb » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:26 pm

i would seriously consider career diversification as a non-white in any area, as you may face unique (and maybe unfair) challenges. This is the world, it isnt perfect and it isnt fair. if coding is it, then thats it,.

quantAndHold
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:29 pm

AerialWombat wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:19 pm
I am the non-technical co-founder of a tech startup. We have hired several coders from the coding boot camps, largely because we could pay them less and work them hard for the <1 year we anticipated them staying.

In reality, only one of them has really worked out, and he is now our lead developer. Most just didn’t learn enough in the boot camp to be very useful to us. I couldn’t fathom any of them going on to FANG companies.

That has been my limited experience, on the hiring side.
Yep, mine too, as hiring manager at a FAANG. We hired more people with degrees in philosophy than people from boot camps. The bootcamp people didn’t have the skills to get through the phone screen. The philosophers, though, tended to have excellent analytical thinking skills.

ThankYouJack
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:32 pm

If you're only working 20-30 hours a week and don't have kids, I definitely wouldn't quit! I would simply learn on the side. Plenty of YouTube videos that will teach you anything you want for free and it should be a breeze for you with a CS background. Then work on getting side gigs (where you get paid to learn) and starting a consulting biz. Then you'll have a stable, lax $250k job plus great side business where you can push yourself professional as much or little as you want. Good luck!
Last edited by ThankYouJack on Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Will do good
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Re: Need Advice - quit 6-figure job to do coding school?

Post by Will do good » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:32 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:53 pm
bluquark wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:38 pm
Definitely stay put and put out feelers for now.

Bootcamps will not get you hired at a FAANG-tier company as a software engineer. That is a trajectory towards a likely pay cut.
This. Coders are at the bottom of the heap. A startup might take op on. But FAANG? No.
My friends daughter must be one of the lucky ones, after boot camp she landed a job at Amazon, been there couple of years.

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