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How to make yourself layoff proof as a non SWE focused engineer

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Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Community4 months ago

Hey everyone, I've been working at a seed stage startup in London for 5 months now. I am the sole contributor to an ML product the company is launching and I'm taking care of the entire ML life cycle (training/testing/deploying/monitoring/integrating)

But the startup is trying to scale vertically (creating a suite of products/ecosystem of tools for its niche). This is the company's second product and is the bigger product compared to the first product they launched and has more revenue opportunities

I haven't had much exposure to the software side of the product as there is currently so much scope for ML opportunities

I am also a junior. I have about .75 YoE before I started working here and I am terrified that the company is going to lay me off once they get enough of this AI product done and its time to move on to the next. I worry they're gonna want some SWE with 10 YoE and I'm not that. I don't want to have to job search in this market as well

About me: my expertise is 70% ML and 30% SWE. I also have a bs in cs so I'm not a noob at SWE. MLE is also 80% SWE and 20% ML realistically


  1. How to ensure that if the company decides to start another product that they won't just ditch me
  2. How to figure out the long term plans? I've tried asking to figure out but with such early stage startups it's hard to know what their plans are

I am totally okay and happy to contribute to the software efforts as well should they decide to move on. just don't want to get laid off!



  • 2
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    4 months ago

    I can't read the minds of your founders obviously, but given the scope that you have (literally everything), I imagine it would be pretty hard to get rid of you. That being said, my main advice is to think about this from the following lens: "How painful and regretful would it be for the company to lose me?".

    So how do you make the answer to that a question "A LOT"? Be an excellent teammate and do stellar work:

    Lastly, I recommend this video as well: This Is How You Become A Layoff-Proof Software Engineer

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

    How to ensure that if the company decides to start another product that they won't just ditch me?

    Have an input into the direction of the company -- what gets built, what is prioritized, and what the customer wants. If people start to trust your judgment on the product side, you become much more indispensable.

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