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πŸ“£ Seeking Career Advice: Balancing Growth Opportunities and FAANG+ Aspirations πŸ€”πŸš€

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Senior Software Engineer at Intuit8 months ago

Hey there, fellow professionals! I find myself at a career crossroads and would greatly appreciate your insights and guidance. 🌟

I've been in the industry for over 10 years now, and I'm torn between two compelling paths: pursuing career growth within my current company to reach a staff position or aiming to join a top-tier FAANG+ company (Google, Netflix, META) as an L5 engineer. πŸ“ˆπŸ’Ό

Both options require significant time investments. On one hand, focusing on my current company involves creating a strategic plan for success, skill development, and building a strong network. On the other hand, preparing for FAANG+ interviews demands extensive interview prep. πŸ“šπŸ’ͺ

I must admit that I feel inadequate for not having reached a staff position yet, and I acknowledge that transitioning from a tier 2 to a tier 1 company is no easy feat. ( though I have done it before, affected by layoff at tier 1 ) There's no guaranteed path to securing a staff position, even with prior experience. πŸ™‡β€β™‚οΈ

I'm seeking your advice on how to strategize in this complex situation.

(1) Should I focus on attaining a staff position within my current company, hoping to leverage that experience for a staff offer at META, Google, or Netflix?

(2) Or should I dedicate my time to prepare for interviews and pursue growth opportunities in one of the FAANG+ companies? πŸ€”

(3) And hey, here's a wild thought: Is it possible to explore both paths simultaneously? As a proud parent, I understand the juggling act that life can be, so any advice on maintaining work-life balance would be greatly appreciated! 🎭

Would love to know your insights, personal experiences, and any other factors I should consider in making this decision. Thank you all in advance! πŸ™πŸ’ΌπŸŒŸ

#CareerCrossroads #FAANGOpportunities #StrategicPlanning #SeekingAdvice

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Discussion

(2 comments)
  • 4
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    8 months ago

    I must admit that I feel inadequate for not having reached a staff position yet...

    Don't be - The vast majority of engineers will literally never reach the equivalent of a staff engineer at a FAANG company (it's incredibly hard and I would say most engineers in this position don't have great WLB). L6 also is the first level where I see engineers down-level themselves - I know several Meta E6s who purposely took on L5 roles after they left Meta.

    I talk about more about reaching staff as a career goal here: "How can I think like a staff engineer?"

    As a proud parent, I understand the juggling act that life can be, so any advice on maintaining work-life balance would be greatly appreciated!

    I strongly believe that family comes first. I'm leaning against finding an outside role unless you really dislike your current situation at Intuit. Getting a FAANG role, especially a staff role will almost certainly have worse WLB because:

    1. In general, FAANG expectations are higher than most companies due to top-of-market pay.
    2. The stack ranking net has been widened at most of these companies in the current economy, and performance review has generally become tougher. There are way more PIPs and performance-based firings happening now.
    3. Many Big Tech teams are thinner now after the layoffs, so there's a lot of teams that have like 12 engineers worth of work but there are only 7 engineers on the team.

    Check out this thread from a Meta engineer about how to maintain WLB: "How can I have less burnout and better work-life balance?"

  • 3
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    Is there a quick way to test the waters between options #1 (climb the ladder) and #2 (interview around)?

    In a vacuum, I'd lean toward option #1, since Intuit is a great, well-known company, and getting to Staff Eng there will be powerful for your career. Also, interviewing at another company takes a lot of time and energy.

    But this changes if you have an unfair advantage when it comes to applying for a new job. The best jobs never come through applying the normal way -- they come from:

    • A friend advocating for you and providing a strong referral
    • A brand new opportunity that hasn't been publicized yet (e.g. a startup)
    • Demand in the market for a particular skill set that you have

    If you have any of the above, I'd explore the external opportunity. Some of this is not in your control, but you can put our feelers as well to see how likely it is. The feedback you get should dictate how much energy to split between #1 and #2. I would not do #3 for an extended period (both job searching and promo grind).

    The other aspect is how long you've been at Intuit. The one-year mark is an important milestone in terms of perception (to not be a job hopper). Ideally, I'd stick around for at least 1.5 - 2 years.