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Should I switch companies if I'm not challenged enough?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community19 days ago

I have been at my current organisation for a year and i just received a good performance rating and a raise. I have been doing pretty well overall. However, over the last two months i have felt that this role doesn't fulfill my intellectual needs and I am not challenged enough. I would like to widen the tech stack that I work on and have more flexibility in impacting the product (it's a big tech company and has a lot of hierarchy). To continue to be good at my work, I need to spend a good amount of time (~50% of the time) doing non-challenging/repeated/admin work. I have started taking courses and my attention has derailed from office work quite a bit.

I realise that if i want to get promoted here, I need to continue to do what I did to get the good rating and do it even better perhaps. But at the same time, I yearn to work on a broader tech stack and take on more challenging work which may or may not come my way at my present org. The reasons to not switch would be : it's just been a year here, I have vested RSUs (spread out over 4 years) and a promotion would be good for my career (and good for my self confidence), also the work life balance is decent. But I have the urge to switch my attention to side projects and eventually to a role and company where I'm challenged more and hopefully make a lot more impact (startups).

Do you have any advice for me?

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Discussion

(2 comments)
  • 5
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    18 days ago

    In general, the best time to look for a job is when you have a job. The question for you is, how much time/effort would it take for you to get a job you really care about?

    • Be careful of "grass is greener" syndrome
    • Do you have a friend or opportunity that you feel confident you could get an offer for? or at least an interview?

    I'd recommend trying to get a few interviews so you get more data on the 2nd question, and then you can evaluate if you can bridge the gap without too much pain.

    A few other factors to consider:

    • Will the Senior/Staff title at your company translate to other companies? If you're at a Series B or C co, people will expect there to be title inflation, in which case I would not wait around for a promo.
    • How much money do you have saved up?
    • Are there side projects or networking things you can do now in a passive way, so that in 6 months - 1 year you'll be really well positioned to get the job you want?
  • 2
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    16 days ago

    Rahul gave a good breakdown of the "Leave" path. Here are my thoughts on the "Stay" path, which has a higher premium given the bad market (you are also already at a very good company):

    • Delegate your more repetitive/basic work away - A senior engineer's "leftover" scope is good for mid-level engineers and amazing for junior engineers. Try to mentor engineers in your team so you can offload the non-challenging parts off of your plate. Follow the advice here: [Taro Top 10] Effective Mentorship And Growing Others
    • Create your own scope - This is effectively a hard requirement to go from senior -> staff. The most exciting work is rarely handed to you because it will by default go the most senior engineers on your team (usually a Staff+ engineer). If you are getting bored with your current scope, expand it to find a harder problem. This will be much easier once you follow the mentorship advice from the previous bullet point. Here's a great playlist about all this: [Taro Top 10] How To Create Scope As An Engineer
    • Build side projects - The great thing about having good work-life balance (WLB) is that you have an abundance of the only resource that matters: Time. A good WLB job is literally one of the hardest resources to come by, so I wouldn't give it up unless you really, really have to. Side projects are a self-driven, independent way you can bolster your learning however you want, and it's a ton of fun! I was always hacking on Android apps on the side to massive career benefit. I captured my learning there here: [Taro Top 10] Building Impressive Side Projects