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What to learn and in what order to reach FAANG?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

I am a self taught developer and have primarily focused only on Android. I'm not a genius and I know I lack in many of the lower level foundation areas. Examples would be I've been doing Android development and really do not know much about the JVM or ART for the matter and how they work. I have never had to learn algorithms at all with my 7 years in the industry. The list goes on.

I do see myself as a solid Android developer and can churn out work but the goals I am striving for I won't hit at my current knowledge level. In my opinion.

However I am a process person and for me I basically need to put together a personal step by step plan on what to learn in order.

What are some suggestions?!

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(4 comments)
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    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    To add to this. I'm 31 and there is one app that I helped on a few features through a contract gig. They let me go after a few features and changed directions ( this was a few years ago ).

    Now they have released the public version finally and it is called AirChat. It's a startup backed by Naval and Brian Norgard.

    This is my biggest regret in my career, I focused on strictly Android developer studying and application vs engineering as a whole. If I had known actual Computer Science I think I would have had a chance to stay on the team.

    Pretty sure they only hire geniuses right now.

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      Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
      a month ago

      You shouldn't feel bad at specializing in Android, and FAANG doesn't only hire geniuses. I know both of these for a fact as I'm an Android specialist and I'm also not a genius 😁 (at least not a "traditional" genius). In fact, I would go as far to say that I'm not that smart. I've always been pretty slow to pick up complicated concepts - "Getting" things takes me a long time.

      What I will say though is that in order to get into FAANG, you need to be extraordinary in some way. For me, there were 2 things that helped me a lot:

      • I'm good at getting people to like me - I've historically been effective at empathizing with people, especially when they're down and need cheering up. Because of this, I have cultivated an incredibly deep network over the years and never had trouble getting intros at top tech companies. I'm an introvert too by the way, so don't think that you need to be some "Charisma: 100" extrovert to do this, that's not the case. We share a lot of networking tactics here: [Masterclass] How To Build Deep Relationships Quickly In Tech
      • I'm always tinkering - Ever since college, I've been building side projects for fun and to bolster my learning. I have published 30+ apps with around 5 million users combined, and these have been so powerful getting me interviews at Big Tech and boosting my overall coding power. I didn't built super genius or innovative apps either; I literally built some of the simplest apps you can possibly imagine. You can learn more about this here: [Case Study] Building An App With 1,000,000+ Users To Get Into Facebook

      So it's kind of true that you need to be a "genius" in some way in order to get into Big Tech, but it doesn't have to be through raw natural intellect which is what people think of when they hear the word "genius".

      Here's another excellent discussion I recommend checking out: "For self-taught developers - How to build my own knowledge system during work?"

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      Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
      a month ago

      I forgot to mention that I have near 0 understanding of JVM and ART and I've done just fine as an Android tech lead. This is because I've always worked more on the product side and never needed to deeply understand those areas.

      The only time you should feel bad about a lack of knowledge is if you have been punished for not being familiar with certain things. In that scenario, embrace the mistake and learn those things. That's life.

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    When it comes to the step-by-step plan to break into FAANG, this is it:

    1. Get the interview
    2. Pass the interview
    3. Meet expectations (don't get PIP-ed!)

    It looks like you're still on Step #1. The good news is that it's easy to tell where you stand with it: Just apply! More specifically:

    1. If you have any Big Tech recruiters in your inbox, reply back to those messages
    2. If you have any referral sources, leverage them to get a warm lead in. You can try reaching out to folks within Taro Networking as well: https://www.jointaro.com/networking/?selectedServices=Referrals
    3. After you have exhausted #1 and #2, just send in applications online and hope for the best 🙏

    Before you do any of this though, make sure to polish your LinkedIn and resume, particularly your resume. Follow the advice here: [Masterclass] How To Write A Stellar Tech Resume That Gets You More Job Opportunities

    We also have communal resume events so keep an eye out for those. Here's an example: https://www.jointaro.com/event/collaborative-resume-review-meetup-9/

    Lastly, my job searching course lays out the interview success process in a step-by-step way: [Course] Ace Your Tech Interview And Get A Job As A Software Engineer