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If my main goal is compensation, would it be wise to learn blockchain tech since it will potentially be the tech of the next couple decades?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Mastercard8 months ago

I'm currently a frontend engineer at mastercard with 3 years of experience. I've been thinking about my next career move and do want to increase my compensation significantly within the next year. Outside a promotion, I can start leetcoding (I'm very out of touch atm) and try to land a higher paying job. But the other option is to learn blockchain and try to break into that field as it is more niche, maybe more high paying, and competition would be less too. But a quick glance at blockchain jobs on linkedIn wasn't very convincing as most jobs were asking for staff level devs. What do you guys think is the best avenue? Learn a niche technology or go the traditional route of leetcoding but has also has a plethora of competition especially in the current economy?

Appreciate your input!

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(3 comments)
  • 33
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    8 months ago

    There's a lot of great blockchain companies out there with amazing engineers to learn from, but I really don't think you should pivot into it purely for job prospects.

    On top of the standard advice of "Optimize for learning and become the best software engineer you can be" to maximize your compensation, there are 2 well-known hard tactics here:

    1. Get lucky with a startup - This will put you in the top 1% when it comes to pay but is of course really hard to do.
    2. Join Big Tech - This covers both the "old-guard" of FAANG alongside the "New Wave" recent IPOs like Uber, Airbnb, and DoorDash. This will put you in the top 5% when it comes to pay. It's hard but not as hard as #1.

    For Option #1, it's pretty clear to me that the attention has shifted from blockchain to AI. If your goal is to follow the market, it makes more sense to switch into MLE:

    For Option #2, you can definitely try but keep in mind that the tech economy is really bad right now and every Big Tech company has frozen 95% of hiring. Here's our resources to help there: [Taro Top 10] Breaking Into FAANG

    fwiw, quality front-end engineering is hard, just like it is for any other branch of engineering. There's an infinite amount of scope there, especially at Big Tech. Even if AI/VR/Blockchain completely takes over, companies will still need to expose a nice interface so that users can seamlessly access the underlying functionality. If you like front-end, I recommend just sticking with it - I'm sure you can find L5/L6/L7 scope within front-end at any big company.

  • 42
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    8 months ago

    I also want to add: If you truly prioritize your learning, your compensation will be a lagging indicator and eventually catch up to you.

    There's really no tricks when it comes to getting paid more as a software engineer (if there were, I would tell you!): Just grow as fast you can, and if you turn into an amazing software engineer delivering top-of-market work, you will someday land a top-of-market opportunity.

    Of course, there's some cut-and-dry tactics here and there like making sure to negotiate your offers and moving/immigrating to higher pay regions, but when it comes to the meat and potatoes of tech, the strategy really is to just become as awesome as possible.

    Treat others with kindness to build a stellar professional network, strive to deliver high quality work and build airtight systems, and regularly put yourself in uncomfortable situations where you have to learn fast - If you keep doing all of that, top companies are going to fight to pay you fistfuls of cash, especially once the economy improves.

  • 22
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    Head of Engineering at Capgemini
    8 months ago

    Alex hit on most of the key points. I'll add a few things that helped me when navigating a career pivot.

    • It's very hard to be "successful" and more importantly fulfilled if there's not some innate level of interest in the problems you're required to solve in the domain. Go work on a few blockchain related problems to start and speak to a few people working in the space. You'll get a pretty good sense after doing this of whether it aligns with your initial expectations and aspirations going in
    • To ease the transition, look for ways you can extend your existing skillset into an adjacent space that is still relevant to your target domain. Personally, I had success with this approach since the motivation to move into the space is to "expand my problem solving toolkit" rather than trying to fit myself into a specific role or skillset requirement
    • From my limited exposure to Blockchain / Web3 space, unlike SWE and Data/ML, LinkedIn isn't the primary source to build connection and find roles in this space. Friends have had better traction on Twitter, but biggest bang for buck is hitting up a major conference such as ETH Denver.