SWE jobs career advice

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workingmanblues
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SWE jobs career advice

Post by workingmanblues »

Hi,

I am pushing 52, and lost my software engineering (SWE) job earlier this year. Before that, I had a couple of decades in an industry research lab. Transitioning to a startup after the project in the lab came to an end seemed like a good idea. But now I have been finding it extremely difficult to land another SWE job. I have interviewed at a dozen or so places, and gotten past the phone screen to virtual onsite in 5-6 of them, including a couple of FAANGs. In a couple of them, I even thought I was close to perfect but no cigar.

Frankly, I find that nailing every round is a low probability thing--in one FAANG onsite, there were 4 coding rounds including the phone screen, and I blanked out in the 3rd one and took way too long to come up with an O(n) solution instead of the O(n^2) I thought of immediately, and that was probably fatal. I could even tell in the body langauge of the subsequent round with the hiring manager. This was actually a fairly easy problem; in the earlier round, the effer asked me a leetcode medium, and a leetcode hard as followup, and I thought I did decently on them, including answering the hard one reasonably. Then blanked out on a fairly easy one.

Is it like this for everyone? Or is this the age discrimination in play? I mean, I was a straight A student in college, but even there, you can get 90% and still get an A. Here it seems like unless you are at 100%, they won't consider you at all. Are they looking for savants who can write correct code continuously 10 hours a day or something? In any case, in this FAANG, given the number of behavioral questions they had about "can youuuu remember a time when...", even if I had nailed the technical rounds, they would have probably had issues with the lab background where I didn't really scale anything up to even 100s of users, never really had "customers" in the conventional sense etc etc. It's also funny to hear them ask about how I have helped other engineers in their career, when they themselves have a reputation for being cutthroat amholes, with blind being full of horror stories about swes being put on pip, even right after being hired. At least, for this case, I can say "grapes were sour anyway".

I guess my questions are:

1) what are less technical areas someone could transition to?
2) are there less competitive SWE roles, or are they all done by contractors or H1Bs?
3) Is there a way to demote yourself and interview as a more junior candidate? Or does that already set off a red flag, since I was a sr. swe at the previous place.

I seem to get calls from recruiters only for the most competitive companies, and I don't seem to have a chance there anyway. What can one do to get out of this rut? LinkedIn has been my main source, but are there other sites where the less competitive positions are offered? Do career coaches help? What about these new "talent agent" types? I have talked to a couple of them, but they seem to be for winners--those people who can command a $400k package, and need negotiating help to get even more. What about the losers? Will they be able to help even average people like me? Some of them charge retainers of $500 per month, and then want 10% of your first year's salary.

I have thought of AI and ML etc, even got half way through a Coursera course on it. I have an advanced degree in EECS from a top university, but frankly if I can't pass all the regular coding rounds as it stands, I am not sure how I will do trying to code stuff for AI ML that I have learned recently, probably in a new language like python (that I have some familiarity with, but not as much as java). I recently interviewed for a robotics job where they started quizzing me in python, and it was not good. I have written python, and can figure it out, but in an interview context with someone breathing down my neck, not so much. And besides, not sure I want to constantly be wrangling with various indexes and summations and subscripts and superscripts to make a living anyway. Same thing with robotics: love the field, but have no recent experience with modern c++. I used to do a lot of c++ 20-25 years ago, but that's no good. Again, being held back by the idea that if I can't do well in java, then no chance I will do anything in a new langauge.

Since this is a finance forum, I guess I should mention the financial situation as well. It's not dire, but not sure I am fully and comfortably FI either. Total liquid NW (taxable and non-taxable) is around $3 million, with another $1-$1.2 million in home equity. Live in a VHCOL area. Current expenses are around $100k per year, with 2 kids 16 and 12. Allocating about $500k for college for them, but hoping that's a more conservative worst case situation. Unless they get into one of 4 or 5 highly ranked private colleges, I am inclined to send them to some decent state school that hopefully should be less than $250k?

Wife still has a job and makes about $100k, allowing about $60k of the expenses to be covered. Can cover the $40k from the taxable assets of $1.3 million. But we still owe $565k on the house. $20k of the $40k would be going towards principal of the house.

Many days, I think of retiring completely and think the math can work out. But wife is flighty, and gives no confidence about being dependable for many years as the sole breadwinner. Plan B would be to hightail it out of here to a LCOL area--if we sell the house, pocket the $1 million or so, and spend $500k in the lcol place for a house, we would be at $3.5mill, and house paid off. With lower property taxes to boot--here they are $15k per year. Then wife's salary would cover most of it, even with a salary cut, and even if she lost her job, even with $500k set aside for college, $3 million should support about $90k per year safely.

But that seems like a defeat. I feel like I should work for a few more years, at least till the younger one is nearly ready to leave for college, say another 4-5 years. I don't even need a highly paid job. A 100k job would be more than enough to meet expenses while the savings grow some more of their own volition.

Oh mama, can this really be the end? To be stuck inside of "nearly FI" with the "RE" blues again?

Thanks for reading, this is mostly a rant I realize, but am hoping someone can offer inspiring advice as well.
oldfort
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by oldfort »

workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm Hi,

I am pushing 52, and lost my software engineering (SWE) job earlier this year.
I guess my questions are:

1) what are less technical areas someone could transition to?

By 52, a lot of people have long since transitioned to managerial/project management roles.
VictorStarr
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by VictorStarr »

How much time did you spend preparing for your technical interviews?

Only small percentage of engineers working for FAANG companies could pass interview without preparation.
It is usual to spend at least 4-6 weeks preparing for typical algorithms + programming interview, and more time for a design interview.
As a bonus your total compensation would be $400-500K (Senior SWE engineer) instead of $150-200K in third tier companies.
Nobody is happy with spending substantial time on basic algorithmic problems but it is a really of current interviewing process.

BTW, I know some engineers that do leetcode problems on regular base just for fun.
srt7
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by srt7 »

You may have to lower your expectations on salary and the company you work at. Perhaps not a FAANG but something like a bank (Chase, BoA, USBank etc.) or FinTech (Schwab etc.) who are heavily reliant on Java stack and would appreciate your experience and skills. Basically, think outside of tech companies and more towards those that use tech to run their non-tech businesses.

You seem like an awesome engineer who still has a LOT to give to this world before calling it in for retirement so I truly hope you find something to your satisfaction. Good luck!
visualguy
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by visualguy »

Do you have some strong expertise that you developed in the industry research lab or the startup? If so, could you potentially leverage that to get a job at a place where they need such expertise specifically?

Trying to get some generic SWE job at FAANG in your 50s is not a good situation to be in. You have to leverage your experience and expertise somehow. Otherwise, it boils down to how good you are at these types of interviews, which is partly a matter of practice and knowledge, and partly a matter of naturally being able to function well under those circumstances. Also, even if you were able to pass these interviews, and get an offer, would you expect to be happy being a coder there if it wasn't related to something you really like?
VictorStarr
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by VictorStarr »

srt7 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:03 am You may have to lower your expectations on salary and the company you work at. Perhaps not a FAANG but something like a bank (Chase, BoA, USBank etc.) or FinTech (Schwab etc.) who are heavily reliant on Java stack and would appreciate your experience and skills. Basically, think outside of tech companies and more towards those that use tech to run their non-tech businesses.

You seem like an awesome engineer who still has a LOT to give to this world before calling it in for retirement so I truly hope you find something to your satisfaction. Good luck!
It is really good advice. A lot of financial software is written in Java. Financial company maybe a better match for your skill set and have better work/life balance. Also interviews should be easier.
humblecoder
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by humblecoder »

Don't get down or discouraged. Those "puzzle" programming interviews tell you a lot about the company. Those types of interviews are crap in my opinion and I wouldn't want to work for a company that wouldn't hire you because you didn't memorize how to implement a quick sort from scratch or whatever. I've been on the receiving end of those types of interviews in my coding days (I've since moved onto management). If it was a good day, I did well. If it was a bad day, I did poorly. I remember one interview I went on at a company that I would call "middle of the road". It was a smaller company that had been bought up by a larger company. Most of their product was on the mainframe side doing utilities as such. After I learned more about the company in the interview, I didn't have much of a desire to work there. However, they interviewed as if they were Google or Microsoft or something with all sorts of insane programming puzzles, logic puzzles, etc. I got the first couple but after awhile my brain was getting fried and I missed some. Never got a second interview from them. I don't know what sorts of programmers they ended up getting but it wasn't as if people were flocking to work there in that dying industry.

I had another where I walked in and they handed me a written test. I had 20 minutes to answer as many multiple choice answers on C++ as I could. After that, they said "thank you" and that was the entire interview.

I've got tons of stories like that, but my point is that these types of interviews mean nothing.

When I interview technical candidates, I ask them some general technical questions, just to get them talking tech with me. We talk about projects they've worked on, thorny problems they had to solve, hacks that they had to put in to get something to work. I treat it as a bunch of hackers talking shop over the proverbial beer (I say proverbial because we aren't allowed to drink on the job :sharebeer). From that, you can get a good sense of their level of skill and, more importantly, their passion for technology and figuring stuff out. What I look for is somebody who is smart, passionate about the craft, and can figure out how to get sh*t done.

You also should expand yourself and look into being a scrum master, architect, or other role where your experience can be a benefit. That might help combat any age discrimination that might exist since those roles are stereotypically populated by experienced folks.

Anyway, there are hundreds and thousands of companies out there looking for a good tech guru. I know the FAANG's have a cachet to them, but honestly, they're just another company. Don't be lured by the mystique. There are many other places where you can make a difference. Do a search, find some companies that interest you, apply liberally. Network, network, network. You are in a good financial spot where you can prioritize happiness and job satisfaction over chasing a $400K comp package.

Good luck to you.
visualguy
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by visualguy »

humblecoder wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:57 am When I interview technical candidates, I ask them some general technical questions, just to get them talking tech with me. We talk about projects they've worked on, thorny problems they had to solve, hacks that they had to put in to get something to work. I treat it as a bunch of hackers talking shop over the proverbial beer (I say proverbial because we aren't allowed to drink on the job :sharebeer). From that, you can get a good sense of their level of skill and, more importantly, their passion for technology and figuring stuff out. What I look for is somebody who is smart, passionate about the craft, and can figure out how to get sh*t done.
Your approach makes more sense, but it's hard to argue with the success of FAANG companies... Their interviewing approach seems nutty, but it must work for them. They do end up with a lot of strong engineers. They certainly disqualify some good ones as well with these interviews, but that's tolerable to them since they have so many candidates to choose from.

Interestingly, many other companies (but not all) copied this style of interview, just like they copied the awful open-space office layouts.
frugalor
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by frugalor »

You should ask these questions at teamblind. But that's the reality of software engineering interviews. You have to leetcode everyday for a few months before you can pass some interviews. (for me at least) But a lot of it is luck too. It depends on who asked you the questions, what questions they asked, how prepared you are for the specific questions at the time of the interview.
Marseille07
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Marseille07 »

If I were you, I'd look for slightly different roles than SWE, such as devops / SREs. They're less focused on coding, more focused on infrastructure / operations / monitoring and all that jazz. The coding bar is much lower, though comps are about the same as SWEs.

Also good is to see if you can get into product / project management, or even become a manager.
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Watty
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Watty »

A quick search found this article that says that FAANG companies have cut back on hiring.

"FAANG is still slashing new software engineer, tech jobs"

https://www.businessofbusiness.com/arti ... -covid-19/

So that could be part of what you are running into.
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm with 2 kids 16 and 12. .
........
Plan B would be to hightail it out of here to a LCOL area--if we sell the house, pocket the $1 million or so, and spend $500k in the lcol place for a house, we would be at $3.5mill, and house paid off.
If you stay where you are then are you planning on moving to a lower cost of living area when you retire? If so then one advantage of moving now is that your kids would have some tie to that area and they might live near you when they grow up. If you wait until they graduate from college then you move to some place else they will have little reason to move to live near you.

If you stay where you are then they may not be able to afford to live near you when they grow up. It was years ago but at one point I lived in the Bay Area which has always been expensive. One thing I saw was that some of my older coworkers had grow up kids that were well into their 20s who were still living with their parents and that was not always a good situation. The problem was that the kids did not have high paying jobs so they could not afford to live in an apartment even with roomates.

Try to picture what your family might look like a dozen years from now and consider how where you live will impact that.

If you move to a truly low cost of living area then $500K is likely way more than you would need to spend to buy an upscale house.
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm I am pushing 52, and lost my software engineering (SWE) job earlier this year. Before that, I had a couple of decades in an industry research lab.
"industry research lab" could mean a lot of things. One thing I would look at is if there is software that would be specific to that then look into jobs related to that software.
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workingmanblues
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by workingmanblues »

Hey, thanks everyone for chipping in. Some responses:

1) Why FAANG. I am not targeting FAANG at all, they are the ones who regularly ping me. In fact, they pinged me within a WEEK of rejecting me, and pinged me yet again. Not sure why. Are they using people like me as interview fodder? Wouldn't surprise me..

2) Have found it very difficult to get anywhere when I initiate. When a recruiter contacts me, then at least something happens like a phone screen or even past that. But applying on my own hasn't worked at all.

3) Banks, financial. Yes, this sounds like a good idea. In fact, I did get a take home from Capital One. They gave me a whopping 36 hours to finish it, but it hardly took 45 minutes, and what I turned in was perfect. But after that, nothing. In contrast, a take home from a "hot" startup had a 90 minute window, and it took all 90 minutes, and just 2 minutes after time was up, I figured out why I was failing a test case on one problem--stupid int vs long trip up that was causing a wraparound. Needless to say, that was fatal there.

4) Managerial. Definitely, applied to many VP, dir, mgr roles, haven't got anywhere. Not even a screen for those types of jobs. I need to figure out how to get noticed there. I was a manager in the res. lab, then became a SWE because I actually wanted to sharpen my hands-on skills. Maybe this hurts now as people see it as going the other way?

5) Research lab expertise. Maybe--a lot of it was more academic, and not in an operational capacity. The stuff I liked doing in the past doesn't have much commercial value; it has stayed pretty niche. The field I worked most recently on there is highly valued, but operational experience has way more cred there than working on some specific part of the problem in a more academic manner. In any case, we didn't make any earth shattering breakthroughs in it either so there's not much to go on there. Finally, I have grown tired of that area, and don't find it a good fit for what I like to do. I chalk being sucked into it in the lab as a mistake in the first place.
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workingmanblues
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by workingmanblues »

srt7 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:03 am You may have to lower your expectations on salary and the company you work at. Perhaps not a FAANG but something like a bank (Chase, BoA, USBank etc.) or FinTech (Schwab etc.) who are heavily reliant on Java stack and would appreciate your experience and skills. Basically, think outside of tech companies and more towards those that use tech to run their non-tech businesses.

You seem like an awesome engineer who still has a LOT to give to this world before calling it in for retirement so I truly hope you find something to your satisfaction. Good luck!
Thanks for the vote of confidence, much appreciated! Will definitely start targeting fintech more aggressively.
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workingmanblues
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by workingmanblues »

Watty wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:35 am A quick search found this article that says that FAANG companies have cut back on hiring.

"FAANG is still slashing new software engineer, tech jobs"

https://www.businessofbusiness.com/arti ... -covid-19/

So that could be part of what you are running into.
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm with 2 kids 16 and 12. .
........
Plan B would be to hightail it out of here to a LCOL area--if we sell the house, pocket the $1 million or so, and spend $500k in the lcol place for a house, we would be at $3.5mill, and house paid off.
If you stay where you are then are you planning on moving to a lower cost of living area when you retire? If so then one advantage of moving now is that your kids would have some tie to that area and they might live near you when they grow up. If you wait until they graduate from college then you move to some place else they will have little reason to move to live near you.

If you stay where you are then they may not be able to afford to live near you when they grow up. It was years ago but at one point I lived in the Bay Area which has always been expensive. One thing I saw was that some of my older coworkers had grow up kids that were well into their 20s who were still living with their parents and that was not always a good situation. The problem was that the kids did not have high paying jobs so they could not afford to live in an apartment even with roomates.

Try to picture what your family might look like a dozen years from now and consider how where you live will impact that.

If you move to a truly low cost of living area then $500K is likely way more than you would need to spend to buy an upscale house.
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm I am pushing 52, and lost my software engineering (SWE) job earlier this year. Before that, I had a couple of decades in an industry research lab.
"industry research lab" could mean a lot of things. One thing I would look at is if there is software that would be specific to that then look into jobs related to that software.
Hmm, good points to think about. The older kid is currently a junior, and I am kind of loathe to move now and disrupt him for one year. He was born and brought up here, and has childhood friends he's grown up with. Even for us, it would be a difficult move as I have been here for 30 years. Would like to do that after a stage has been reached preferably. Frankly, if I continue working for another few years, I don't see why we couldn't simply stay here forever, or have a foothold here. Could buy a cheaper house elsewhere and split time or whatever.
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workingmanblues
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by workingmanblues »

humblecoder wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:57 am Don't get down or discouraged. ...

You also should expand yourself and look into being a scrum master, architect, or other role where your experience can be a benefit. That might help combat any age discrimination that might exist since those roles are stereotypically populated by experienced folks.

Good luck to you.
Thanks! Am definitely trying to target managerial roles, and in this last company we did use scrum a lot. It's been hard to even get a bite there..I guess i need to keep trying and chasing contacts.
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workingmanblues
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by workingmanblues »

VictorStarr wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:53 pm How much time did you spend preparing for your technical interviews?

Only small percentage of engineers working for FAANG companies could pass interview without preparation.
It is usual to spend at least 4-6 weeks preparing for typical algorithms + programming interview, and more time for a design interview.
As a bonus your total compensation would be $400-500K (Senior SWE engineer) instead of $150-200K in third tier companies.
Nobody is happy with spending substantial time on basic algorithmic problems but it is a really of current interviewing process.

BTW, I know some engineers that do leetcode problems on regular base just for fun.
I would say, I have been preparing, obviously not enough perhaps. I do a leetcode problem everyday--have been doing the daily monthly challenge for the past 5-6 months. During some bouts of preparation, I was doing up to 4 a day. In fact, the problem I choked on I had done once a few months before already. I guess "plateau" is the word I am looking for. The design interview is more tricky. Have looked at many youtube videos on it etc, but I have no direct experience in scaling something up with load balancers, CDNs, in memory dbs, consistent hashing, managing db clusters, implementing sharding yadda yadda. The most recent SWE role did not expose me to any of these things either.
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AerialWombat
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by AerialWombat »

Sell the house and move (that’s always my solution).
For entertainment purposes only.
VictorStarr
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by VictorStarr »

workingmanblues wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 3:32 am
VictorStarr wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:53 pm How much time did you spend preparing for your technical interviews?

Only small percentage of engineers working for FAANG companies could pass interview without preparation.
It is usual to spend at least 4-6 weeks preparing for typical algorithms + programming interview, and more time for a design interview.
As a bonus your total compensation would be $400-500K (Senior SWE engineer) instead of $150-200K in third tier companies.
Nobody is happy with spending substantial time on basic algorithmic problems but it is a really of current interviewing process.

BTW, I know some engineers that do leetcode problems on regular base just for fun.
I would say, I have been preparing, obviously not enough perhaps. I do a leetcode problem everyday--have been doing the daily monthly challenge for the past 5-6 months. During some bouts of preparation, I was doing up to 4 a day. In fact, the problem I choked on I had done once a few months before already. I guess "plateau" is the word I am looking for. The design interview is more tricky. Have looked at many youtube videos on it etc, but I have no direct experience in scaling something up with load balancers, CDNs, in memory dbs, consistent hashing, managing db clusters, implementing sharding yadda yadda. The most recent SWE role did not expose me to any of these things either.
If you did not have much exposure to building large systems, it makes sense to take a course in system design interview. There are a number of online courses, for example, https://www.educative.io/courses/grokki ... -interview (I have no idea about quality of this course).
Typical examples are url shortener, twitter, distributed web crawler, typeahead, etc.
doniboni
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by doniboni »

Trying to balance between finding the right job, physical location and salary and switching a field or role is super, super hard.
You are probably going through a tough period but I hope everything works out in the end!

In the last 10 years I've interviewed more than 500 people for a FAANG company and several startups both as a Hiring Manager and on technical interviews and can pretty confidently state a few things.

1) No one is using people as "interview fodder". It's a hard task for interviewers to balance between quickly delivering in a stressful environment and finding the time to interviews so setting up interviewing sessions unless it's necessary is extremely rare.

2) The interview processes set up in those big companies and the high-flying startups are are results of years of iterations, experimentations, data reviews and some of the smartest people in the industry have set them up and even though I don't understand everything I respect those people a lot. All do respect to everyone but if a person walks in and just says it's stupid it's statistically more likely that that person is missing something.

A few things I hope you find useful:

There are three components - set the right goal, have a good preparation, have a good presentation.

1) You need to clarify for yourself what is your core strength and ideally find a place where this core strength is needed. Everything else you do adds bonus points for passion, interest, breath of knowledge and so on. Even you you have studied ML or something similar if the position is ML specific and you have also a person applying that has been doing it in the last 5 years most probably he would be the person hired. Your core strength is something is something where you can have a clear judgement of your level of skill compared to the market.

2) If you jump from one interview type to another you won't be able to take advantage of the interview experience. If you have let's say 10 interviews specifically targeting Java enterprise software I guarantee you that after the first few the questions and tasks will start largely repeating themselves.

3) Your CV presentation and attitude during the interview are also important. I cannot suggest specific services as we are in different countries but you can find it useful if someone can review your CV and do a mock interview with you and give you some feedback. Confidence, communication style and such do matter during an interview.

Good luck and hope everything is well!
humblecoder
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by humblecoder »

visualguy wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:19 am
humblecoder wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:57 am When I interview technical candidates, I ask them some general technical questions, just to get them talking tech with me. We talk about projects they've worked on, thorny problems they had to solve, hacks that they had to put in to get something to work. I treat it as a bunch of hackers talking shop over the proverbial beer (I say proverbial because we aren't allowed to drink on the job :sharebeer). From that, you can get a good sense of their level of skill and, more importantly, their passion for technology and figuring stuff out. What I look for is somebody who is smart, passionate about the craft, and can figure out how to get sh*t done.
Your approach makes more sense, but it's hard to argue with the success of FAANG companies... Their interviewing approach seems nutty, but it must work for them. They do end up with a lot of strong engineers. They certainly disqualify some good ones as well with these interviews, but that's tolerable to them since they have so many candidates to choose from.

Interestingly, many other companies (but not all) copied this style of interview, just like they copied the awful open-space office layouts.
I don't think it's their interview process. I think it's because every Joe and Jane Coder from all of the top CS and Engineering schools wants to work there, so they have the pick of the litter. If they just pulled resumes out of a hat and then hired those folks on the spot, they'd probably get candidates who are just as good. Sort of a BH approach to hiring, if you think about it! :D
Dude2
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Dude2 »

VictorStarr wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:09 am
srt7 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:03 am You may have to lower your expectations on salary and the company you work at. Perhaps not a FAANG but something like a bank (Chase, BoA, USBank etc.) or FinTech (Schwab etc.) who are heavily reliant on Java stack and would appreciate your experience and skills. Basically, think outside of tech companies and more towards those that use tech to run their non-tech businesses.

You seem like an awesome engineer who still has a LOT to give to this world before calling it in for retirement so I truly hope you find something to your satisfaction. Good luck!
It is really good advice. A lot of financial software is written in Java. Financial company maybe a better match for your skill set and have better work/life balance. Also interviews should be easier.
+2
Also the medical companies. Plus, location is important and salaries can vary widely. This sort of media-driven idea that only highly talented foreign workers are able to do the mountain of technical work is ludicrous (I mean all of this political H1B stuff). I work in defense. I'm sure you can imagine all of the legacy code that exists in defense -- FORTRAN, C, C++, Ada, etc.

I'm 52 also. I went through a time where it seemed like there was a force that tried to push out the older in favor of the younger, but this technology thing is highly cyclical. Business people do not necessarily understand the "science" of the work and the never-ending need for engineers to do it versus some sort of other model in which only the latest and greatest is worthwhile...however, it catches up to them. Worst case is having no job but working on educational or open source projects while waiting for things to turn around. I'm telling you, your skill are valuable and needed. Keep trying.
Last edited by Dude2 on Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer.
bling
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by bling »

visualguy wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:19 am Interestingly, many other companies (but not all) copied this style of interview, just like they copied the awful open-space office layouts.
having worked in semi-private offices, cubicles, and open-floor plans, i much prefer open-floor.

being exposed to the conversations that happen around you can be very beneficial. being able to start impromptu conversations is useful. if you want to concentrate on something, use the universal "i'm wearing my headphones leave me alone unless it's important".
60B4E24B
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by 60B4E24B »

workingmanblues wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 3:14 am
humblecoder wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:57 am Don't get down or discouraged. ...

You also should expand yourself and look into being a scrum master, architect, or other role where your experience can be a benefit. That might help combat any age discrimination that might exist since those roles are stereotypically populated by experienced folks.

Good luck to you.
Thanks! Am definitely trying to target managerial roles, and in this last company we did use scrum a lot. It's been hard to even get a bite there..I guess i need to keep trying and chasing contacts.
Do you tailor your resume when applying for management vs SWE roles?
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Dude2 »

bling wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:24 am
visualguy wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:19 am Interestingly, many other companies (but not all) copied this style of interview, just like they copied the awful open-space office layouts.
having worked in semi-private offices, cubicles, and open-floor plans, i much prefer open-floor.

being exposed to the conversations that happen around you can be very beneficial. being able to start impromptu conversations is useful. if you want to concentrate on something, use the universal "i'm wearing my headphones leave me alone unless it's important".
Couldn't agree more. Being able to look far out across the open area is such a blessing for the eyes, but I can see the argument about distractions. Typically I will arrive early or stay late or, if possible, work in a lab where density is less.

I'd add also that I agree with OP that the interview process is essentially a kind of torture. I've been through interviews similar to what is described. It's like that old Tom Hanks movie where the guy keeps repeating, "I understand that. He can get the job, but can he do the job." There is one set of skills that you could practice in which you can be a really good interview candidate, but those skills have nothing to do with grinding it out day to day. Indeed, I've been through interviews I thought I "nailed" as well, only to not get an offer and come away with the impression that the company was just "practicing" and getting their processes down. There was no actual job on the table, whether Bjarne Stroustrup himself walked through the door.
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bling
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by bling »

doniboni wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:08 am 3) Your CV presentation and attitude during the interview are also important. I cannot suggest specific services as we are in different countries but you can find it useful if someone can review your CV and do a mock interview with you and give you some feedback. Confidence, communication style and such do matter during an interview.
agree. in OP's first post there are a couple red flags i noticed.
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm Is it like this for everyone? Or is this the age discrimination in play?
bringing up ageism, aka "the victim card". businesses are in it to make money. as long as you bring profit to the company, you will have a job. oh, you've been getting raises for the past 20 years and now all of a sudden you're not as competitive on the open market vs fresh grads? why are you surprised?
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm 2) are there less competitive SWE roles, or are they all done by contractors or H1Bs?
this implies H1Bs are less qualified. salary data by law is public. go look up all the salaries for FAANG companies and tell me that these people are getting abused and taken advantage of.
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm 3) Is there a way to demote yourself and interview as a more junior candidate? Or does that already set off a red flag, since I was a sr. swe at the previous place.
it frankly doesn't matter what your title is. it matters what you can do at the new company which will have a different definition of "senior". it's certainly possible to interview at a lower level -- just tell your recruiter you're nearing retirement and want less responsibility and will take the pay cut to do so. but, are you willing to take orders from someone half your age?
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm Total liquid NW (taxable and non-taxable) is around $3 million, with another $1-$1.2 million in home equity.
you've already won the game. you also realize this as you talk about relocating to a LCOL couple sentences later. you don't *have* to work. you can do other things to keep busy. what about starting a side business? what about becoming an independent contractor yourself? you've been in the industry for decades, reach out to your network.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by ClevrChico »

2) are there less competitive SWE roles, or are they all done by contractors or H1Bs?

You may want to consider a SWE contracting job through a staffing agency, where you would be a W2 employee of the staffing agency. The contracts are normally for a year or two, the bar is pretty low, and competition is light.

Alternately, a permanent SWE job with a Megacorp would be better, but harder to get.

My FAANG interview experience:

"It's a Big Club, and You Ain't in It". - George Carlin
Last edited by ClevrChico on Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
bling
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by bling »

Dude2 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:37 am I'd add also that I agree with OP that the interview process is essentially a kind of torture.
it can be grueling, but i also have little sympathy to the complaints. it doesn't matter what industry, it's going to be difficult to judge someone's ability to do the job in a couple hours. interviewing will always require a different skillset which requires practice like any other skill.

here, we have the entire interview process extremely well known in advance. there are courses and tools to help you succeed. you've been told the rules of the game, where the award is high compensation, FAANG on your resume which will forever open doors in your future, but you're unwilling to play?
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Dude2 »

bling wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:51 am
workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm 2) are there less competitive SWE roles, or are they all done by contractors or H1Bs?
this implies H1Bs are less qualified. salary data by law is public. go look up all the salaries for FAANG companies and tell me that these people are getting abused and taken advantage of.
The way I read this, the OP is saying that H1B jobs are highly competitive, the opposite of how you read it. This is what is being put out in the press with regard to the reduction of H1B slots in the US. The implication is that only top notch people are getting those slots, i.e. these are the cream of the crop. In other words, do less competitive SWE roles exist or are all the desired SWE roles being done by H1B people or contractors. Maybe I'm wrong. You can look at either H1Bs or contractors as negative or positive, depending on the context. Contractors for example, could be people that do jobs that anybody can get, or, in contrast, you hire a very specialized contractor to perform a unique job (and pay big bucks).
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

visualguy wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:19 am
humblecoder wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:57 am When I interview technical candidates, I ask them some general technical questions, just to get them talking tech with me. We talk about projects they've worked on, thorny problems they had to solve, hacks that they had to put in to get something to work. I treat it as a bunch of hackers talking shop over the proverbial beer (I say proverbial because we aren't allowed to drink on the job :sharebeer). From that, you can get a good sense of their level of skill and, more importantly, their passion for technology and figuring stuff out. What I look for is somebody who is smart, passionate about the craft, and can figure out how to get sh*t done.
Your approach makes more sense, but it's hard to argue with the success of FAANG companies... Their interviewing approach seems nutty, but it must work for them. They do end up with a lot of strong engineers. They certainly disqualify some good ones as well with these interviews, but that's tolerable to them since they have so many candidates to choose from.

Interestingly, many other companies (but not all) copied this style of interview, just like they copied the awful open-space office layouts.
FAANG can afford false negatives, since they have zillions of applicants. Some other companies miss a golden opportunity by trying to emulate them.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

bling wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:08 am
Dude2 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:37 am I'd add also that I agree with OP that the interview process is essentially a kind of torture.
it can be grueling, but i also have little sympathy to the complaints. it doesn't matter what industry, it's going to be difficult to judge someone's ability to do the job in a couple hours. interviewing will always require a different skillset which requires practice like any other skill.

here, we have the entire interview process extremely well known in advance. there are courses and tools to help you succeed. you've been told the rules of the game, where the award is high compensation, FAANG on your resume which will forever open doors in your future, but you're unwilling to play?
Haha, yeah, I can understand that view. Many many years ago, when we were hiring for a top tier investment bank, we would tell candidates that we had to do a drug screen, that they could schedule it for a convenient time, and that marijuana would not be detected 30 days after use. Wink wink. And then we'd repeat the timing issues with a second wink wink. And, they'd schedule it for a month later, and then flunk the test. :oops: Our feeling was that if you couldn't hold off smoking for 30 days, you either didn't give a hoot or had a more serious problem. It happened a surprising number of times.

A point in disagreement: I know a very capable software developer who was flown out to CA to interview with Facebook, but was given an interviewer who wasn't quite as good. There was a disagreement on one question (actually, a followup to a question), with interviewer too stubborn to be open to an arguably better solution. This was the only interview the candidate flunked, having had offers from top tier FAANG and other companies. The process only works if the interviewer is more capable than the interviewee or has sufficient ego strength to know his/her limitations and go on to another question.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Normchad »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:40 am
bling wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:08 am
Dude2 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:37 am I'd add also that I agree with OP that the interview process is essentially a kind of torture.
it can be grueling, but i also have little sympathy to the complaints. it doesn't matter what industry, it's going to be difficult to judge someone's ability to do the job in a couple hours. interviewing will always require a different skillset which requires practice like any other skill.

here, we have the entire interview process extremely well known in advance. there are courses and tools to help you succeed. you've been told the rules of the game, where the award is high compensation, FAANG on your resume which will forever open doors in your future, but you're unwilling to play?
Haha, yeah, I can understand that view. Many many years ago, when we were hiring for a top tier investment bank, we would tell candidates that we had to do a drug screen, that they could schedule it for a convenient time, and that marijuana would not be detected 30 days after use. Wink wink. And then we'd repeat the timing issues with a second wink wink. And, they'd schedule it for a month later, and then flunk the test. :oops: Our feeling was that if you couldn't hold off smoking for 30 days, you either didn't give a hoot or had a more serious problem. It happened a surprising number of times.

A point in disagreement: I know a very capable software developer who was flown out to CA to interview with Facebook, but was given an interviewer who wasn't quite as good. There was a disagreement on one question (actually, a followup to a question), with interviewer too stubborn to be open to an arguably better solution. This was the only interview the candidate flunked, having had offers from top tier FAANG and other companies. The process only works if the interviewer is more capable than the interviewee or has sufficient ego strength to know his/her limitations and go on to another question.
This stuff just goes with the territory. You can only learn so much during an interview.

The candidates never really know what the interviewers are looking for. Perfectly capable candidates are not necessarily good fits for every team or opening.

People do have big egos. And one manifestation of it is that they think they can accurately gauge candidates in the interviewing process. You can certainly weed out some terrible candidates, but that’s about it.

So sometimes you reject people that would have been amazing. And sometimes you hire duds and have to fire them down the line.....

I think it was google (or maybe Tesla) that publicly said a good degree has no predictive value for success in their company. I think interviews are just as flawed.....

But if you want the job, you have to do it. And you have to win out over the other folks who are interviewing. Some people won’t like you because you’re 52. Some won’t like you because you have a lot of expertise about things they don’t care about or understand. Some won’t like you because you’re self confident and can’t be steam rolled by them. And some won’t like you because you struggle with their silly puzzles that you’d just look up in the real world......
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by rk6 »

Suggest investigating doing some cloud computing certifications, specifically those related to s/w development and DevOps.
In the process of getting those certs you can strengthen your skills with the desired development languages and toolsets.
Getting a mid-level certification for AWS or Azure opens a few more doors in my experience.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by bling »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:40 am A point in disagreement: I know a very capable software developer who was flown out to CA to interview with Facebook, but was given an interviewer who wasn't quite as good. There was a disagreement on one question (actually, a followup to a question), with interviewer too stubborn to be open to an arguably better solution. This was the only interview the candidate flunked, having had offers from top tier FAANG and other companies. The process only works if the interviewer is more capable than the interviewee or has sufficient ego strength to know his/her limitations and go on to another question.
all these companies are huge, so a lot of it is a crapshoot based on who you get as interviewers.

i do the complete opposite of what you posted here. if the person i'm interviewing is smarter than me, i always recommend to proceed to the next stage because i want to work with people smarter than me.

there are certainly a lot of engineers with huge egos that could use some humility.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

bling wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:13 am i do the complete opposite of what you posted here. if the person i'm interviewing is smarter than me, i always recommend to proceed to the next stage because i want to work with people smarter than me.
It could be argued that the reason I did well in my career is because I hired people smarter than me. If I’m going to delegate, it helps to delegate to someone good :D
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by sk.dolcevita »

OP, my sympathies and all the good luck!

I am bit disappointed that some are dismissing reality of ageism and bro culture in big tech. Both are rampant. It is now well accepted that the rhetoric of meritocracy can often cloak various -isms. OP would need to just put in his share of effort and hope for good luck to strike him at least one.

OP:

(1) You need to kill Leetcode easy and medium and do some of the hard as well. This, whether you like it or not, is now a requirement to get a job at FAANGs and similar companies. And don't forget the complexity analysis.

(2) For anything but entry level interviews, you will need to show some knowledge of system design issues. Grokking the System Design Interview series at educative.io is a popular resource. If you like reading a book instead, you could look at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CMF2CQF. In addition, there are tons of YouTube videos.

(3) Taking MOOC courses in ML/AI to make a switch is likely not to help much. Those courses should complement your other existing body of work in the field and can rarely lead to a job by themselves.

(4) Take up a project to build something from end-to-end. Doesn't need to be fancy but something that you can talk about with at least feigned passion.

(5) Also, implicit bias is real. Make sure you present yourself as a man of youthful vigor. :-)

If you do all this diligently, you would have done your part. That's the only thing in your control.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Watty »

workingmanblues wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:55 am
Hmm, good points to think about. The older kid is currently a junior, and I am kind of loathe to move now and disrupt him for one year. He was born and brought up here, and has childhood friends he's grown up with. Even for us, it would be a difficult move as I have been here for 30 years. Would like to do that after a stage has been reached preferably. Frankly, if I continue working for another few years, I don't see why we couldn't simply stay here forever, or have a foothold here. Could buy a cheaper house elsewhere and split time or whatever.
It sounds like your ties are so strong to that area and you are doing well enough financially that moving to a lower cost of living area is not a realistic option for you. You might want to take that out of consideration since that is just a distraction.
stan1
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by stan1 »

A few options.

Apply at smaller companies and in other industries (especially since you don't need the FAANG pay check). Look at the holdings in Vanguard Value Index and Vanguard Small Cap Value for some ideas.

Consider 1099 work which can lead to a full time job. Plenty of companies use 1099 hires to "try before they buy".

You may need multiple resumes if you've worked on a lot of platforms or have also managed projects. For example, if you have coded Java and also administered enterprise Oracle data warehouse deployments you'd need one resume for each that positions you as an expert in one area with supporting roles in the rest of the areas you know well.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Definitely not interview fodder. Interviewing is expensive for the company, they're not there to waste your time or theirs.

What was said earlier about interviewing being a crapshoot is very true. We do our best to limit bias in the interview panel (eg each portion of the interview involves at least two panelists, the panel doesn't see your resume ahead of time, interview feedback is submitted without consulting others) but there's still a lot of dumb luck involved. Sometimes you just get someone having a bad day.

FWIW, my employer (one step below the FAANGs) has lots of grey hair SWEs.
Watty wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:35 am A quick search found this article that says that FAANG companies have cut back on hiring.

"FAANG is still slashing new software engineer, tech jobs"

https://www.businessofbusiness.com/arti ... -covid-19/

So that could be part of what you are running into.
Not my experience. My employer has over a thousand open SWE positions.

There's also not a one-to-one relationship between listings and positions. My department just leaves up a generic software engineer listing at all times but at any given time there might be between one and twenty open positions for it.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by bling »

sk.dolcevita wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:42 am I am bit disappointed that some are dismissing reality of ageism and bro culture in big tech. Both are rampant. It is now well accepted that the rhetoric of meritocracy can often cloak various -isms.
you're the hiring manager. you're given two choices. hiring 3-4 cheap grads fresh out of college who will work overtime for free, or hire one experienced engineer for the same cost who will not work more than 40 hours a week because they have a life outside of work. is this ageism? or is it the harsh reality of the bottom line?

as the same hiring manager, you must increase diversity because that's what HR is telling you to do. you have 100 resumes on your desk. 95% of them are men and white/asian. what are you supposed to do? reverse discriminate against qualified men so you can have more women in aggregate? it's a complicated problem with no good solution. there's a push to get young girls into tech in elementary schools but we're still another 10-15 years from seeing the impact of that.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Normchad »

bling wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:41 pm
sk.dolcevita wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:42 am I am bit disappointed that some are dismissing reality of ageism and bro culture in big tech. Both are rampant. It is now well accepted that the rhetoric of meritocracy can often cloak various -isms.
you're the hiring manager. you're given two choices. hiring 3-4 cheap grads fresh out of college who will work overtime for free, or hire one experienced engineer for the same cost who will not work more than 40 hours a week because they have a life outside of work. is this ageism? or is it the harsh reality of the bottom line?

as the same hiring manager, you must increase diversity because that's what HR is telling you to do. you have 100 resumes on your desk. 95% of them are men and white/asian. what are you supposed to do? reverse discriminate against qualified men so you can have more women in aggregate? it's a complicated problem with no good solution. there's a push to get young girls into tech in elementary schools but we're still another 10-15 years from seeing the impact of that.
It should also be noted that for some jobs, we just don’t care how much experience and leadership and success you have. We are specifically looking for more junior people, because they are 100% capable of doing the job I need done.

Unfortunately, there is a relative glut of “leaders” and “leader-wannabe”, and a shortage of foot soldiers.

I’m thankful though that where I work, there is just no reason to discriminate based on age or anything else. We are told, pick the best person for the job. So I’ve got lots of team mates in their 40s, several in their 50s, and a few in the 60s. And they’re great.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) People hire people.

At 52 years old, you are not going to beat out the younger folks in coding the latest language. But, you had worked in the industry long enough. Hence, people know you and you know people. It is time to use your professional network and contacts. You are not the only one being laid off. You are probably not the first either. Where are those people that going before you are letting go?

Use Linkedin to find out where they are now. Ask for help and advice.


2) 100K per year job


Why would someone want to hire you at 100K per year when they can get a younger worker? It is a strange world. This may or may not apply to you. In my case, I applied for $40 per hour contract work and I get no offer. But, I had contract work at $65 and $100 per hour.


You might in a situation where if the employer needs your combination of skills, salary is not a problem. If they do not need you, it won't matter if you ask for a lowered salary.


3) This might be the beginning of the flood gate of people getting out of your region. Those who get out last may be stuck with the expensive house with no buyer. Just watch and listen carefully.

Good luck! You are in better shape than most other unemployed folks.

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frugalor
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by frugalor »

I agree that are actually a lot of hiring going on at FAANG now.

I am 45. As an older engineer, it's hard to compete with especially very talented young H1B holders who will work 24/7 so not to get deported. If you are unlucky to get one that constantly challenges you so to make them look good, it could be really taxing.

The FAANG interview style is bad and good. Bad because soon after I passing the coding interviews, I just forgot how I solve some of the leetcode easy ones. They are just like school exams. They are testing your capability of passing the exams. For most people, it just takes practice. That's bad for engineers, especially the older ones who have to find time to practice. It's good because once you get into the groove of internalizing (even for a short period of time just to pass the interviews) the finite numbers of algorithms and data structures, you can pretty much pass most coding interviews. At that point, you can pick the highest offer. Making 500K+ at FAANG is very tempting. You can easily job hop to get a higher pay. That's good for engineers.

When I started out, I felt so disloyal and bad that I was interviewing 2 companies at the same time. Now, I am considered a weak developer if I don't have more than one offer at the same time. But that's a different topic.

Not sure if it's easy to job hop for H1B holders. But maybe that's why FAANG like them more.

If you are financially secured, why not consider joining some up and coming startup so that you might hit the jackpot. I think you can get 180k+ base and ask for a lot of options.

I am still new to this board, I am pleasantly surprised to find many people are/were in the tech field.
Last edited by frugalor on Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

KlangFool wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:04 pm Why would someone want to hire you at 100K per year when they can get a younger worker? It is a strange world. This may or may not apply to you. In my case, I applied for $40 per hour contract work and I get no offer. But, I had contract work at $65 and $100 per hour.
No, it is not a strange world. When a company is trying to fill a job at $100k, they expect an output worth a $100k pay. Why would an army recruit a 4-star general for a sentry duty? Do you think a general makes a better sentry than a private?
KlangFool
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by KlangFool »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:14 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:04 pm Why would someone want to hire you at 100K per year when they can get a younger worker? It is a strange world. This may or may not apply to you. In my case, I applied for $40 per hour contract work and I get no offer. But, I had contract work at $65 and $100 per hour.
No, it is not a strange world. When a company is trying to fill a job at $100k, they expect an output worth a $100k pay. Why would an army recruit a 4-star general for a sentry duty? Do you think a general makes a better sentry than a private?
MathIsMyWayr,

You missed my point.

My point is if you are a 4-star general, you do not qualify for sentry duty. So, do not waste your time applying for a sentry position.


KlangFool
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

KlangFool wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:21 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:14 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:04 pm Why would someone want to hire you at 100K per year when they can get a younger worker? It is a strange world. This may or may not apply to you. In my case, I applied for $40 per hour contract work and I get no offer. But, I had contract work at $65 and $100 per hour.
No, it is not a strange world. When a company is trying to fill a job at $100k, they expect an output worth a $100k pay. Why would an army recruit a 4-star general for a sentry duty? Do you think a general makes a better sentry than a private?
MathIsMyWayr,

You missed my point.

My point is if you are a 4-star general, you do not qualify for sentry duty. So, do not waste your time applying for a sentry position.


KlangFool
Uh?
Why wouldn't a 4-star general qualify for a sentry duty? Yes, he does, but a recruiting sergeant may feel fresh recruits are better fit for the position. Along the same vein, some (many?) employers may expect less experienced candidates better fit for a $100k position than OP who has many years in labs. He may qualify, but will he be enthusiastic for such tasks?
oldfort
Posts: 2545
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by oldfort »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:32 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:21 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:14 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:04 pm Why would someone want to hire you at 100K per year when they can get a younger worker? It is a strange world. This may or may not apply to you. In my case, I applied for $40 per hour contract work and I get no offer. But, I had contract work at $65 and $100 per hour.
No, it is not a strange world. When a company is trying to fill a job at $100k, they expect an output worth a $100k pay. Why would an army recruit a 4-star general for a sentry duty? Do you think a general makes a better sentry than a private?
MathIsMyWayr,

You missed my point.

My point is if you are a 4-star general, you do not qualify for sentry duty. So, do not waste your time applying for a sentry position.


KlangFool
Uh?
Why wouldn't a 4-star general qualify for a sentry duty?
Because the 4-star general hasn't done sentry duty in 30 years ago. Analogies only get you so far, but in tech, you wouldn't want some exec who hasn't written a line of code in 20 years to fill in some software developer position.
frugalor
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:35 am

Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by frugalor »

For big tech, they interview at all levels. They will pay for whatever level based on your interview performance. And they are always in need for higher level developers.
livelovelaugh00
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by livelovelaugh00 »

Op, I'm 52 also. SWE. Similar NW. Downsized to small house last year when the only kid went to college. The property tax alone saves almost 9k a year! At this age, don't want to keep up with the Joneses. No mortgage. What a relief! I've been in Java since 1998. There were only two years I'm not working in Java. I worked on Talend ETL. Even though there's no single day of employment gap in my career, I determined not to go through another interview if I would laid off.
My friends who experienced the interview process in the past a couple of years all hate the new process. I always remind them to look back their job changes in the past. The ones that eventually hired you did not give you a hard time during the interviews. You did not feel awful for yourself afterwards. They liked you and you liked them. If they are going to test you like you're a new graduate, don't waste your time and emotions, just politely end the interview. Everytime when I participate in new hire interviews, I've always focused on their experience and the nasty problems they encountered in their projects. I also want to make sure the potential new hire is not a jerk. The young people in my team like to give exams. Whatever. Sometimes, a jerk got in. Everyone will become old. When I was in my 30s, I thought I could and want to
work in this field forever! Later on, many people either laid off, became QA, scrum master or pursue the management position. I still code. My coworkers are in their 20s and 30s. I could be their mother. I will not quit my job. I will wait for company to let me go someday. After decades of hardworking, it is hard to be a slacker too. Need to learn it to preserve my health. Try the companies thats away from city.
ivgrivchuck
Posts: 554
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:20 pm

Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by ivgrivchuck »

workingmanblues wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:10 pm Thanks for reading, this is mostly a rant I realize, but am hoping someone can offer inspiring advice as well.
Have you leetcoded? When you interview at software companies, they always ask the same kind of algorithm questions. The bar has been going significantly higher over the next 5 years or so. If you prepare well, you'll have the advantage.

When you apply for a big public traded companies, you can find a lot about the interview process, the questions they ask and so forth online. If you prepare well, you'll have the advantage.

I'm personally a bit saddened by the fact that this has become the industry norm, but what can we do?
44% VTI | 36% VXUS | 10% I-bonds | 10% EE-bonds
Normchad
Posts: 2005
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: SWE jobs career advice

Post by Normchad »

Here is the inspirational advice......

You don’t want to be someplace where they don’t want you. You’ll never be happy there. Do not waste one bit of time worrying about why they don’t like you. It does not matter. You don’t want to be there anyway......

You only need to find one place that fits. It’s like buying shoes. The hundred pairs that don’t fit, don’t matter. You just need to find the one that fits. Where you’ll be happy with them, and they’ll be happy with you.

It takes time to find that, and that’s okay. You’re actually in great shape, so,it’s okay to take some time to try to get it right.

If you still love this stuff, you are very lucky. And you will find another gig, where you will be happy and fulfilled.

I know it seems dark now, but tech is where it is at. Every company in America needs folks like you, even non-tech companies hire tech people. (Walmart as an example has a huge tech staff. So does Kraft cheese, I’m sure). There is tremendous demand for folks with your skills!

Brighter days are ahead my friend! It will come!
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