I'm currently employed at a startup where we're building bookkeeping tools. My work mainly involves Python, some database work, and a lot of business logic wrangling. Due to the small size of our app and engineering org, I don't have many opportunities to gain the necessary experience in distributed systems. I'm seeking advice on how to transition to distributed systems. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
When it comes to career pivots, here's my advice to everyone: Transfer internally. Here's why:
Given that your current company literally doesn't have the scope for distributed systems work, things are a bit trickier (i.e. your transition plan will have extra steps). So here's the plan I would follow to transition:
Distributed systems is unfortunately tough as not every company will have this scope (like yours), so you have the extra steps of #1 and #2. This, combined with the fact that career pivots are hard in general, means that this plan will take a long time. I recommend doing some more soul-searching to figure out if distributed systems is truly what you want to do as all of this is a hard process.
Of course, if you do get an interview for a distributed systems position while lacking the experience, you should take it. But I would temper expectations and expect to be down-leveled from mid-level to junior.
To help with Step #1, I recommend these:
To help with Step #2, I recommend these:
The good news is that you can also make moves to facilitate this transition outside of the work realm, which will also help you figure out if distributed systems is right for you: