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How should I prepare for when Big Tech hiring resumes again?

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Software Engineer at Series A Startup2 years ago

I'm an earlier-in-career engineer currently working at a quickly growing startup. Things are going well, but I do think I want a Big Tech name on my resume someday.

Right now, Big Tech hiring is frozen, but it will open up again eventually. I'm wondering how can I make sure that I'm prepared when it all opens back up - Should I be regularly studying Leetcode in the meantime or something?



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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 years ago

    In a nutshell, I heavily recommend that you don't worry about all this.

    For earlier-in-career engineers, the Big Tech interviews will often be very DSA focused. This is a problem if you're just studying for it constantly because:

    1. DSA knowledge decays over time. So let's say you start studying now and hiring resumes a year from now. Everything you learned from today to 6 months from now will probably have disappeared from your mind, making the time wasted.
    2. DSA studying has very minimal returns on your work performance.
    3. The opportunity cost is that you could have spent this time and effort working on something with clearer returns like doing better at your current job or doing side projects (which can also be connected to your current job, especially in startups!).

    When Big Tech hiring resumes, which it definitely will someday, the window will probably be fairly large, at least 1-2 years. You can be reactive here - When that time comes, you can just start doing DSA then, assuming you still want to get a Big Tech name on your resume.

    Zooming out, I would challenge the idea of going to a Big Tech company. I know that I did it, but I also felt like I had a great time working at Course Hero and Robinhood. You don't need a "FAANG" company to be a successful engineer, and some of the strongest engineers I've seen were folks who joined a startup like yours early on, stayed there for a long time, and then grew at light speed as the company grew at light speed. This was the case for so many engineers who joined Robinhood very early. Maybe you can do the same for your company!

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