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Side Projects (102)

How to come up an idea which matched on personal limited skills? (assume you do it by yourself and have limited information)

Junior IT Support at Taro Community profile pic
Junior IT Support at Taro Community

I used to try several courses to learn C++ for Unreal Engine, however after I finished all of them, I even can't came up an idea to make a project which matched on personal limited skills. As a result I tried lowering my expectations by finding it the most basic one (I found CS50 - programming with Scratch) to build logical thinking skills. When I did the assignment (the assignment has specific perquisite), unfortunately it turns out I trapped into tutorial hell and I still can't came up an idea. Feeling burnout, I decided to take a break for few days because I believe good idea doesn't come from burnout. But after few days recovered I somehow came up an idea by looking past interest game and turns it into my assignment , however after did a few days, my idea didn't match my knowledge skills. (in this moment I don't know about Jointaro yet)

I understand programming is about doing and doing as this explains and also communication . But I'm struggling to find the solutions based on my current situation. A lot of advice and courses on internet are omnipresent, and the comments more or less just say "thank you for your advice" or "Great video" whatsoever (especially YouTube) . I tried some of them based on my current situation, however I realized there is no progress and I slowly doesn't have principle of life.

Sorry if my questions seems so futile for experienced software engineer. However I want to give it a shot to breakdown my own problem. If you think my situation has something off, feel free to ask so there will be no misunderstanding. Thank you for your attention.

Additional: I also find out whether I write blog or write questions, it takes me a lot of time (maybe 1 - 3 hours or could be more depending the complexity), because I try every possibilities to avoid misunderstanding or miscommunication. I believe people who smart at great university or company might not need take such hours to do so.

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Would an "unfinished" project(s) be worthy to present in interviews?

Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployed

Hi there, everybody. I was aiming to build a few applications to present in interviews. Last week, I was building a small-scale Spring Boot application with the help of a tutorial. The project I was working on was meant to retrieve data from a database using PostgreSQL to provide multiple choice DSA questions. I was creating an automated study buddy for technical interviews. Unfortunately, I've been trying to figure out some technical issues and database connectivity mishaps for some days, unfortunately to no avail. Currently, I'm working through a Node.Js tutorial to build an application geared to help me keep track of the things I'd like to do during my job search, so I can always stay on task. I don't know if I'm going to run into some more issues that plague me.

The thing is, I'm learning a LOT from both experiences. Now I feel I can have an educated conversation on the trade-offs of monolithic and microservice architectures... and I LOVE what I'm learning. I'd really like to have at least 3 small-scale projects handy that I'm using to automate my own life and make this job search easier for me.

Of course I'm going to continue to try to plow through these issues, and I'm not here to necessarily ask for help with my applications (although I won't say no if someone wants to help). It'd be great if I can explain how I solved these problems, because I know the challenging problems I've solved are what I'd want to highlight to people in an interview.

But let's say if the day comes where I have an interview and DON'T have a "finished" product, yet I still have these code samples that I can defend and show that I've gained a great deal of experience from... would it be a good idea to present these in an interview?

Thanks for the help,

Evan

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Should product-minded engineers learn UX design?

Junior Engineer at JPMorgan Chase profile pic
Junior Engineer at JPMorgan Chase

Questions:

  1. Is learning design a worthwhile investment as someone most interested in doing full-stack work at product-based startups?

  2. Might working in a small product-based startup be an effective way to pick up design skills while working as a SWE?

  3. How can engineers build more complex side projects without any design skills?

Regarding #3:

I’d argue that basic product design skills are critical for building any CRUD application. You can’t build something without defining what it’s going to do first. 

Literally - you can’t write code for a feature if you don’t know how the app will behave during a loading state, an error state, a complex edge case from a wonky user flow, etc.

You can wing the design and iteratively dogfood it to improve its UX - but that’s the same as doing UX design while having zero UX design skills. It’s the software engineering equivalent of writing spaghetti code - except you’re not even improving.

Personally, I find that UI libraries like or are most helpful for solving UI problems like designing a button or a modal. However, they can’t help you decide how a screen in an app should work, nor can they abstract away all design challenges for more custom use cases.

Also, any CRUD application built with poor design will inevitably feel like a crappy database client. 

The design problem applies to backend projects, too. Backends exist to service frontends, so you can’t build a backend without knowing what features the frontend needs - and you can’t do that, either, if you don’t design it first!

These are all challenges I’ve faced working on my own projects.

I suspect the best approach is really to just learn UX design and a design tool like Figma. However, that’d be a hefty investment given UX design is a separate field from SWE - especially if it’s just for a side project.

Also, building cool stuff as a semi-competent engineer is tons more fun (for me) than learning design from scratch!

What are your thoughts on my aforementioned questions?

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How to Approach Taro Networking Event

Data Engineer at Financial Company profile pic
Data Engineer at Financial Company

I'm ambivalent about attending Taro Networking events. On the one hand, the people I meet there are so talented and nice! On the other hand, what am I really getting by meeting them?

Now, I know I just said something extremely transactional. That I don't seem to "get" anything from meeting people. But let's continue this line of thinking for a bit. In my mind, going to a networking event can get you 3 things:

  1. potential job referrals

  2. potential partners for side-projects and maybe even a startup (which can be considered a kind of job referral)

  3. friends/social-contact

Let's assume that I'm not looking for friends, so only the first 2 are in play.

What should I be doing while networking? What happens is I tell them about what I do - my role, company, stack - they do the same, we'll talk about the industry for a bit, and that's that. It seems to me like I'm not getting much out of it, probably because I'm doing it all wrong.

Here's an excerpt from an email from a Data influencer I follow who makes a similar point:

Traditional networking is like a relic of the past for back when we didn't rely on the internet.

Back then, people only recommended and worked with those they'd met in person.

But in our digital age?

We can instantly find and judge coders, designers, data experts, and marketers online based on their LinkedIn & portfolio sites. 

So, here's an alternative to traditional networking... 

**Build things that matter. 

For example, let's say you wanted to break into genAI, or land an e-commerce job at Amazon, or work in ad-tech at Facebook or Google.

To impress hiring managers and recruiters at these FAANG companies, you could build an AI tool for to help retailers advertise more efficiently.

So his point is to build stuff and use that as the fodder for networking. I'm inclined to agree, since personally, my side-project cupboard is bare. I could be falling into the trap of thinking that I can/should only network once I've reached a threshold of building however.

So to sum this up, how do you balance networking vs. building and can you expand on the relationship between them?

Thanks!

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Looking for advice on fine-tuning LLMs as a side project

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Entry-Level Data Scientist at Flatiron Health

I'm a Data Scientist looking to switch company and move to a role closer to ML/LLMs. My plan is to build a side project fine-tuning LLMs to familiarize myself with this field and leverage that experience on my resume. I was wondering if anyone here has experience building similar projects or went through a similar learning process - it would be very helpful to get some insights on skill acquisition and finding a job in this area. Here're some examples of what advice I'm looking for, but please feel free to share other aspects as well - anything will be greatly appreciated:

  1. What are some good resources to learn about building LLMs? (currently mostly learning from HF, reddit, and googling)
  2. What's the best tech stack to build personal fine-tuned LLM projects? (I'm planning to use Runpod or similar services like Vast for training and inference, but was wondering if there's other better options)
  3. I'm looking to get into an early stage company in this field. What kind of project should I build to maximize my chance at getting into such companies? My plan rn is to fine tune a model using literature works (novels, poems, proses, etc.) since training data is relatively abundant and it's aligned with my interests. Are there more impactful use cases (for job hunting) out there?
  4. What are some things I should keep in mind when producing deliverables to better showcase my technical and learning abilities? I'm planning to make a series of blog/social media posts documenting my experience building this project. Is there anything in specific that would draw companies' attention?

Thanks in advance and please feel free to share your thoughts!

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Transitioning into the compiler engineering field (or any other domain) if you are unemployed and don't have prior experience in the field

Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Taro Community

I am currently seeking to transition into a career as a compiler engineer, a field I find deeply fascinating. The interdisciplinary nature of compiler engineering, bridging areas such as computer architecture and graph theory, intrigues me greatly. Additionally, the sector offers promising financial rewards, especially with companies like Meta, Nvidia, and AMD that are at the forefront of hardware accelerators experiencing significant growth. I am convinced this growth trajectory will continue, making this career path an ideal blend of intellectual fulfillment, professional growth, and competitive compensation.

Due to recent layoffs, I find myself unemployed, and I am seizing this moment to pivot towards compiler engineering. However, I acknowledge that there is a steep learning curve to becoming an ideal candidate for such positions. The required skill set typically includes:

  • Proficiency in C++
  • Experience with GPUs
  • Knowledge of an Intermediate Representation Language (e.g., LLVM)
  • Understanding of computer architecture

Previously, I worked as a senior backend engineer, specializing in tool development using functional programming languages such as Scala and Ocaml. My experience spans across FAANG companies and two startups.

To bridge the gap in my skill set, I have been actively contributing to open-source projects similar to LLVM and honing my C++ skills through consistent practice on Leetcode. Despite securing a few interviews for compiler engineering positions, I have not been successful, primarily due to difficulties with compiler-specific questions.

I seek advice on the following:

  1. How can I enhance my chances of entering the compiler engineering field, especially without being part of a compiler project community or holding a position of authority within such a project?
  2. What strategies can I employ to prepare for and succeed in domain-specific interviews, considering my lack of prior experience in this area?

Any guidance or insights from those who have navigated a similar path would be immensely appreciated.

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What legal documents do I need to provide before joining FAANGMULA on an existing side hustle?

Mid-Level Software Engineer at Other profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer at Other

Today during office hours Rahul talked about this a tiny bit (sans the legal), but I'm curious as I've had many friends who worked at Google previously that discouraged me from applying to Google (like 10 years ago) if I still wanted to do a startup (this was long before Area 120 was a practiced thing). Recently, a friend (VC whose girlfriend works at Google) said many people still build venture/angel funds on the side while still working full time for Google. But of course, don't create your startup company using company property (a la Silicon Valley HBO lessons).

Questions

(1) What companies are flex about having things on the side - a side hustle (but you can't advertise it), examples being two different companies on both ends of the spectrum: Google, Apple etc.)? I've heard some FAANGMULA companies are more stringent than others (Apple being very much against this and super private and only sorta kind supporting open source, vs. others which are all for it and have accelerator/internal incubator programs at the company (Area 120), or even sponsoring ex-employees (a cohort of my class at Verizon Ventures one year was all MIT alumni, ex-Googlers that were sponsored by Google, paid their incorporation fees, I was one of the two weird VR founder people).

(2) I've also heard that from friends if you work at Google, you are not allowed to get paid for speaking gigs on your technical expertise or whatever your functional role is at that company (this differs from from Meta I've heard from other friends). Is this true?

(3) If you go into a FAANGMULA company, what info (legally) what information do you need to provide the the employer? What docs from the state/federal/govt or whatever) that says you have a a DBA, LLC, S/C-Corp etc. What do you need to disclose more specifically and what documentation and legal paperwork do you have to provide?

For example, I currently take consultations and speaking gig money and have revenue (royalties from my book I published years ago) and plan on having an existing app that generates money in the app store that is runs auto-pilot prior to coming into the company. Also note, that I'm aware that this product should not compete with the company's main product lines.**

(4) If you are going to start all this AFTER being hired into FAANGMULA, how do you inform your company employer formally (HR, direct report boss), and that your side hustle does and will not interfere with your primary role at the FAANGMULA company hour wise and that you will still meet all of your core duties/goals/tasks/deadlines for the company and this is sort of 'hack on the weekends thing?'

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Projects vs. Open Source - which is better for my career?

Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Community

TL;DR Contribute to Open Source ML or do side projects for ML. Which do you suggest is the better option?

I just started a new job, but due to circumstances (visa, tough market), I had to take the first job I could take and I ended up in a devops/production support role where I cant really write much code or write any production code (literally dont have access to dev code). I dont plan to stay here long (>6 months).

I read the infamous "" post and wanted to do side projects so that I am not rusty

Context on me: 80% of my background is in Applied ML/Data Science and 20% is software engineering. I am interested in pursuing as an ML Engineer/Data Scientist

Open Source

Pros

  • Tons of open source ML stuff supported by big tech companies
    • Meta has a ton of OS projects
  • Huggingface is open source
    • Lot of companies use ML models from huggingface (for e.g. BERT for NLP). Would contributing to this on huggingface be seen as impressive?
  • Exposure to working on large codebases, good software engineering practice as well

Cons

  • Minimal Impact
  • Hard to showcase my achievements, especially on LinkedIn

Projects

Pros

  • Ability to make and measure impact
  • easy to showcase
  • learn a lot

Cons

  • For ML, projects with impact is hard to do. Most ML applications is based on improving current products using existing data
  • Experience from building ML projects might not translate to what I would do on the job as a lot of it involves working with Engineering around data
  • It takes time and a lot of effort to have a ton of downloads
  • Can end up taking a lot of non-ML work work (web design/frontend) which is not relevant to MLE

Final question: If I were to do open source, what is the best way to showcase on LinkedIn?

  • Do you suggest adding the company you did OS for under the experience section and saying "Open Source Contributor"? My concern with this is that it may sound scammy/shady
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Confused about choosing tech stack for learning and for my personal project

Systems Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Systems Engineer at Taro Community

I've been in the IT industry for 3 years, working on various projects. For the past 1.5 years, I've been heavily involved in Python projects, mainly as a back-end developer using Django. My tasks typically revolved around building or updating APIs as per specific requirements.

Most of these projects were already underway when I joined, so I mostly inherited tasks based on existing project needs. As a result, I wasn't part of the initial database design or project structuring.

Now, I'm starting on my personal project using Django. However, I lack experience in structuring and designing a project from scratch, especially in organizing apps and defining models.

I took a look at other frameworks like Spring Boot and noticed they don't offer the same level of "batteries included" features as Django.

I'm currently dealing with two main challenges:

  1. Impact of Learning Django First: I'm concerned that focusing solely on Django might limit my overall understanding of back-end development. Django's comprehensive built-in features might not be present in other frameworks, and that worries me.
  2. Project Design and Structure: I'm puzzled about the best practices for structuring and designing a Django project, especially regarding app organization and model structuring.

I'm seeking advice on overcoming these issues and figuring out how to structure my project effectively. I'm also contemplating whether sticking with Django could potentially narrow my overall grasp of back-end development because of its extensive in-built functionalities.

Also, I applied to some companies and most of them are asking for experience in Java back-end development.

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What would a roadmap to make a transition from Junior to Mid-level look like?

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Associate Member of Technical Staff at Taro Community

Hi Taro Community!

I am in a very similar position as mentioned by someone here: and from the responses it is evident that switching teams/companies will be an unavoidable step soon. I am currently at an entry-level position (will be completing 6 months at current company soon) and wish to look for roles at the next level of hierarchy (for instance my current role is equivalent to SDE 1, I wish to look for roles similar to SDE 2 or equivalent next). Few points:

  • I am planning to complete 1 year at my current company, so by the time I switch I shall have ~1 yr of experience as an entry-level software engineer (apart from other experiences as internships/side projects/etc.)
  • Firstly, is it realistic to prepare for mid-level at the current position? Do companies hire entry-level SWE's with at most 1 yr of experience for mid-level?
  • If yes, is it advisable to apply now (or 6 months down the line)? I do not wish to work as an SDE-1 (entry-level) in another company by leaving my current one as it will only lead to further delays in promotions (I believe it takes at least a few months to set a good impression in a new team that you are capable for a promotion)
  • How can I best utilize the next 6 months before I aggressively start applying to companies? I understood the point related to side projects - is it advisable to build side projects in the tech stack my team is using, or should I expand my scope to include new technologies I am interested (but not actively working on right now)?

Any insights/suggestions/interview tips will be really appreciated. I have very less workload right now and really want to make the best use of time to switch further.

Thank you!

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Learning new Tools for Interviews?

Data Engineer at Financial Company profile pic
Data Engineer at Financial Company

I'm a Data Engineer. Within the data engineering realm, there are a lot of tools, just like in the software engineering realm. The modern data stack is pretty popular these days. It includes things like Spark for ETL at scale, Docker for virtualized environments, Airflow for orchestration, dbt (data build tool) for transformations in SQL, Fivetran for automated data connectors, Snowflake for data warehousing, and more.

I'm far from knowing all of these tools well, primarily because I use very few of them in my day job. The main reason I want to change jobs is because of this.

I'm worried I'm caught in a catch-22 situation where I don't know the tools so I can't get jobs that have them, which I guess is similar to the new-grad cold start problem.

My question is, how should I think about learning new tools for job interviews? My current instinct is to learn via failure. That is, I have almost all of the above tools on my resume. If someone asks me about them and I'm not able to give a good answer, I will learn that part about the tool so if I'm in the same situation I can answer properly.

Another approach I can think of is to do Udemy courses of them so I have a deeper understanding of how they work. I've learned to be wary of course not tied to projects, though, so I'm hesitant.

I guess I could do projects to learn more about them, but those take time and right now I'm focused on applying to jobs.

I imagine some answers might focus on what my current problem is: can I get interviews or am I failing interviews? I don't think my issue is with failing interviews right now, and certainly not because of specific knowledge people have called me out for for not knowing these tools. I think my issue is more with sourcing interviews currently.

If there's general advice regarding how to think about prepping for an interview when you only have some of the requirements on the Job Description, would love to hear that too.

Thanks!

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Discussing Projects in Interviews

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I’m a Data Engineer at a slow-moving finance company who’s looking for my next job in Big Tech. I just had a recruiter from Stripe reach out about scheduling an interview, which happened because I had a buddy who works at stripe refer me to the role. The position is for backend engineer.

The recruiter says the call will be 20 minutes and I should come prepared with “the most technically complex project” I’ve worked on, and talk about my role, duration, number of engineers, and stakeholders.

I’m nervous about this because my current role is something of a hybrid between data engineer and data analyst and I do a fair bit of data-analyst type work. It’s not that I don’t have projects I can talk about, it’s just that I’m insecure about them and I feel like they are unimpressive to a ‘real’ software engineer and this becomes apparent under sustained scrutiny. So maybe I can get by the 20 minute intro call, but there will surely be an hour-long session later where they want to go into excruciating detail. I do have some experience with backend as well, but it’s already almost 3 years ago now.

My question is this: how can I go about improving my situation? I’m applying for entry-level roles (IC1) and was under the naïve assumption that I just had to get very good at DSA/Leetcode. Obviously, this is not the case.

In order to better handle these project walkthroughs going forward, I see a number of potential approaches, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive:

  1. Get better at discussing projects in my current toolkit. Ditch the imposter syndrome and spend more time thinking about what I already have.
  2. Invest more in my current job to create better projects with ‘scope’ that are more impressive in interview rounds. Right now, I’m not very committed to my work and coast, doing whatever is assigned to me but in a minimalist way. My current manager has told me how he wants me to be more active in getting things done and taking on a larger role, but as a Tier-3 company, there is no expectation or requirement for me to do so (i.e. very low chance of me being let go), and furthermore, I tell myself I will be leaving soon, so why take on more responsibility? This might ironically contribute to it being harder for me to move since I don’t do the kinds of things that make it easier to interview.
  3. Do side-projects outside of work that I can discuss. But here I run into the issue that I’m not working with anyone (unless it’s open source) and this is probably not the best approach unless my side-project is really good with users. I’ve heard Alex and Rahul say this a number of times.

Happy to hear anyone’s thoughts about how I can improve my situation. I probably have the wrong attitude towards my current role, as I’ve been wanting to leave it for over a year. I’ve thought about quitting a lot so I can have more time for interviewing, side-projects, networking, learning, and prep, but everyone says that’s a bad idea (especially in the current climate), so it’s easier to just muddle on in my current role.

Thoughts are welcome!

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Side project feedback - Uber/Lyft simulation

Senior Software Engineer at Series B fintech startup profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Series B fintech startup

I'd like to ask for your feedback on my side project - a full-stack simulation of a ride-hailing app such as Uber or Lyft.

App: 
Blog: 

A bit of background first. I've been wanting to publish a personal full-stack project for a while. These were my main reasons:

  • I wanted a platform to explore concepts and tools I don't get to work with in my day job, helping me accelerate my learning.
  • I've wanted to break into big tech and thought this project could help me stand out among many applicants.
  • I enjoy writing and wanted to get better at it.

Why did I choose a simulation of the Uber/Lyft app? I always found something very attractive about these apps - they're visually appealing and dynamic, with colossal architectures behind them. I thought it would be very cool to re-implement some aspects of such an app. I have also been reading the Uber engineering blog and got a glimpse of the complexity these companies are dealing with.

My final goal with this app was to have an animated map with cars picking up customers, driving them across the map and dropping them off at their destinations. Customers would post ride requests and the system would match them with the nearest drivers. The simulation would run on the backend, and the frontend map would show the action in real-time.

I started working on the project last autumn. I've spent around 300 hours working on it and you can see the result in the links above.

My ask

I'd love to get your feedback to improve or extend this app and my blog, keeping in mind my objectives:

  • I plan to apply to big tech companies this summer, and I'd like this project to help me with my applications.
  • The project targets both recruiters and hiring managers. With recruiters, the goal is to pass the initial screening and get me to the interview stage (of course, I'll also be trying to secure referrals, but I might not always succeed). With hiring managers, this project might help me score extra points in my final evaluation.
  • I might be applying to companies such as Uber or Bolt, but this project is not supposed to impress just the ride-hailing companies.
  • I prefer not to put much more time into the project at the moment, as my focus right now has to be on the coding interview prep.

Possible additions or improvements include:

  • Splitting the system across multiple machines (perhaps 3), making it truly distributed.
  • Adding various components used in large-scale systems such as load-balancer, rate limiter, or message queues. Indeed, these components are not actually needed for the app to function. But by doing so, I could demonstrate my ability to work with them (albeit not necessarily demonstrating deep expertise).
  • Adding comprehensive documentation with system diagrams and explaining the choices I made.
  • More rigorous testing by adding integration tests (right now, I only have unit tests).

As for my previous background - I've been an engineer for ~4.5 years, most of my experience is from a small startup (series B). I consider myself a full-stack engineer but going forward, I aim to specialize more in the backend. Therefore, the project should strongly communicate my backend skills. For my next role, I also prefer backend positions to full-stack ones.

Recently I watched the great masterclass from Rahul and Alex on side projects. It made me realize that while my project might be interesting from a technical perspective, it has no users. In fact, this app doesn't allow any user interaction by nature. However, what I'm lacking in terms of users, I'm hoping to make up with the degree of technical complexity. Please also share your views on this aspect.

Many thanks if you've read this long post to the end. I'll be very grateful for any tips on how to make this project more appealing 🙏🏼

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What is a hiring manager's opinion on a candidate who takes some time after being laid off to work on side projects/freelance?

Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer [SDE 1] at Amazon

I am an SDE1 that was recently laid off from AWS (~2 YOE total). Lately, I have been reflecting on what I wanted to do/what really excites me. I really enjoy software development and while I do want to get another job one day, I wanted to use this opportunity to scratch my entrepreneurial itch and create apps/websites/side-projects for fun or for many small business owners I know that need someone to create software for their business. I'm not sure how long this "break" will be but I would say ~2 to 3 months time. Part of this is inspired by Alex Chiou's love for side projects.

I understand that finding a job will take some time as well, so the total gap on my resume that will be filled by this freelance work/applying might be ~6 months total. I understand that there are other posts on Taro that talk about the impact of a career break but this won't necessarily be a break per se. On my resume I will put this down as freelance work I completed for clients and will be prepared to show potential employers a portfolio of what I did.

I was wondering if this would negatively reflect on my application when applying for SDE jobs again/will make it harder for me to land a job. Alternatively, I could begin applying and interview prep now and only work on these projects on the side. Thanks.

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Help deciding on a "main" programming language to build awesome projects and for my general career (AWS & Terraform is my main work)

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
Anonymous User at Taro Community

Hello. I did kind of ask about this before, but now it's more prevalent dilemma for me as I'm actively interviewing and many of my best opportunities are asking for someone who ALSO has a software engineering background:

Scenario: This past year at working an AWS Cloud Consulting Partner I only grew my cloud and Terraform skills and it was my first professional role. I didn't have any software engineering mentoring and I had very little programming work outside Terraform, but I got to mess with a few different languages in my spare time and still haven't decided on one to main. So I figure it needs to be a language & framework good for an ambitious one-man project (possibly a PWA) that I can be passionate about which would drive my learning, provide a great and productive developer experience so I can build some epic stuff myself and learn from it.

Basically, I need a versatile, productive, "startupy" programming language that can be my "main" and kill two birds with one stone here as I have entrepreneurial ambitions:

What do I like doing? What am I passionate about? Well, game dev with Godot. But it uses GDscript and job prospects with it are nill. So I'm considering making a game website PWA like the old as a one man show. So definitely a scalable full-stack CRUD project. I want my development experience to be as productive as possible, and for that reason I'm now considering mainly the firs two options here:

1. Ruby on Rails (despite it being the butt of many jokes and claims that its dead) . It being "batteries included" and everything else I hear about it is that its super productive and fun. I have not tried it yet though. It might be an ace because I see a number of "remote work from anywhere" opportunities for ruby devs to work on legacy code, i.e Gitlab, but I'm really wary of it being a bad choice to specialize in for my career.

2. Blazor with NetCore C# - Blazor is new tech with inherent risk, but it would allow me to focus on one language and framework while doing the full stack (I think similar to Ruby with the "batteries included" approach.). There's a risk of Blazor being new, but the Net Core skills I obtain will always be relevant. On the contrary, with javascript I felt like what I knew was never enough, there was always another framework or some abstraction on top of React, or new way to do JS I had to learn, which I found extremely frustrating. I'm really not a Javascript fan because of that, but if I had to, I'd probably try Svelte. But the point is, I'm trying to avoid bouncing around the way I have been. I really need to be an expert with one language and framework, and I'd like to be able to "do it all" with that language and framework for it to have an opinionated way with best practices so I can get up and running quickly and learn the skills I building an awesome project.

3. Golang - I started looking at Golang because of it being said that it has an opinionated way of doing things rather than a 20x ways to do one thing which was very appealing to me. Also it's cloud reputation, compiling down to a binary. BUT - it seems its for microservices rather than an impressive full stack startup project. I'm not sure how motivated I'd be making an API instead of a complete project like the PWA game site I mentioned. I really don't want to have to switch to JS for a React front end to get up and running. For this reason, I'm also not sure if Python is a good choice compared with the first two options. I know it has a templating feature, but can I do it all with that?

Can I get some opinions and advice? I'm looking for a new job and need to build up my core software skills fast as possible:

Speed, productivity, specializing in a worthwhile language and learning core software engineering through making an awesome PWA project are my main targets for this.

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Advice for someone looking to switch jobs to a Senior Engineer at tier II or tier I tech company?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

Continuing from the post here:

Would the suggestions in that post be different for my scenario? I have added my details below.

I have a total 12 years of work experience. Currently, I am a SDE II at a fintech company. I have worked at this company for 3 years now and had 3 managers in past 3 years. At my current company, I am being asked to constantly move from one project to another every 6 months. For the last 6 - 7 years I have been working on mostly frontend engineering, including hands-on experience in Angular, React, and Backbone JavaScript libraries. I am looking to make a job switch as a Senior Frontend engineer.

I know that to get to the Senior level, I have to show influence at high levels. After reading the answer to some of the questions in the community, I am not able to decide whether I should focus on building web projects or should I start building an Android app. The advantage of choosing a web project is that I already have expertise in modern frontend frameworks. My initial years of experience is in legacy backend systems(mainframes) which I think is not of much use now in Silicon valley companies.

As far as my interest level goes, I am very much inclined toward the web. But I know that app development is definitely something that helps to attract users to your product. I am a bit lost on what I should invest my time on. Considering that I have 12+ years of experience, should I do both? Will doing both Android and web both open a lot more opportunities for me?

Should I focus on building something where I can show the impact with the number of users rather than thinking about the platform (android or web) for which I start building my side projects. Should I even care about doing side projects considering I have 10+ years of work experience?

Should I target full-stack roles instead of front-end roles?

Looking for suggestions. Apologies if this question comes out as too broad and not very clear. I am open for discussion if that can help to narrow down the response.

Current TC: 220 - 240K

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Side-project - Data Eng, Full-stack, or mobile?

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Data Engineer at Financial Company

I'm a Data Engineer looking to break into FAANG. As such, my time outside of work right now is spent applying to jobs, asking people for referrals, and networking. When I have interviews, my focus shifts to Leetcode.

I really want to build a side-project though both because it's fun and because it will help me perform better at future jobs.

My (common) issue is this: where do I start? Not in terms of the problem I am solving. I have a super-smart friend who's a lawyer and an MBA who's into fantasy sports and he has neither the time nor the ability to create an app. I feel like I could just generate a bunch of different ideas with him and pick the one most interesting to me.

I mean in terms of tech area. Alex and Rahul are both mobile developers and that naturally lends itself to great apps. I know Alex has mentioned that in a vacuum, it's better to focus on front-end for side-projects. I have no experience with front-end or mobile, some back-end dev experience and a fair bit of data.

I could build a data eng project. Start Data Engineering has some great projects on his blog () and there's definitely plenty of examples online (e.g. ).

My question is whether I should build a DE project. I'm not particularly wedded to DE because I feel like I want to do more SWE work and less business analyst work. Above all, I want to get into FAANG for the boost to my learning, career, and comp. DE is prob the easiest way of getting there but again, not wedded to it.

So I see my options as a) doing a DE project (maybe using the projects above to get my feet wet); b) doing a full-stack project (hard to do a back-end only project I think); c) mobile? (Alex and Rahul are tempting me).

Is there any advantage to mobile over a web-dev project?

If I do b or c, I'm concerned about falling into tutorial-hell or at least taking too long to learn before building. I'm tempted by a full-stack course like Zero To Mastery's full stack course, but it's 40 hrs, and I know it's prob not necessary.

Just want to add that I'm a newb for side-projects and I'm aware that I can and will experiment with multiple project types once I get started.

Sorry for the unstructured thoughts here. My brain works on NoSQL, not SQL ;)

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How to become a top developer in outsourcing company?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

Even though starting to work for a big company like Meta, Amazon, Google, etc. I believe is a hard to achieve (I haven't work for) somehow it looks pretty straightforward. Learn for interview, get the job, level up. Yes, I am sure it's hard and not many will do it but still you know what should be done (yes, may don't know how). But let me tell you a different story:

I work in a not that famous country in the EU and non of the top tech companies is there. Actually 90+% of the companies are outsourcing companies. As a SE with 10 years of experience in the outsourcing world I can tell you how it works: you work on a legacy code which is so old and so bad (hundreds of people have tried write code there) you can't see good practice at all, no code reviews (sometimes there is bad it is very rare), no unit tests, performance review is only about client's feedback and so on, you got the point. It's about the money only and nobody cares if you are good or not if the client is happy. In very rare cases I have started something from scratch but all of my colleagues were so bad progmmers like myself that we messed up all. It's a deadlock. After 10 years I realized I am a bad programmer and I've seen so many bad practices that I have no passion to do anything anymore. Now to the questions:

  1. Is it possible to apply best standards in an outsourcing company like those in FAANG and if yes, how?
  2. How can I fill all the gaps I have at the moment? Can I fill all the gaps with side projects only? How can I fill them when nobody will teach me anything new. Nowone will review my code and like @Alex said, they are the main source to learn :) How would I know is the code good or not? Could it be better?

The ultimate goal of my career (and maybe in life) is to fill the gap not only in my skills but to create a company (product based or outsourcing) where everyone who join to have a chance to become a great programmer. But before helping others, I need to help myslelf. This is how I found Taro.

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What are the things I should look out for when designing a file storage system?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I am working on a side project. I may use GCP or AWS for it.

tldr of the system : Create a web ui to process input files and generate a tabular output giving the link to the dashboard .

I have a bunch of files generated , about 2GB in size in total , Account ID is the high level directory and inside each account there 50 log files each having specific content .

I want to create a UI using Angular framework . Using the UI I will upload the files to GCS /AWS S3 . Then the backend should trigger complex backend scripts, written will be written in Python or Java and then output file is generated. Using the output file a dashboard with few images embedded is generated.

In the end the UI should have a table which should indicate status of processing to COMPLETE and in another column show point to url of the dashboard.

I want to deal with least amount of security work as I want to avoid studying Oauth 2.0 authentication .

Few additional questions , non-system design questions =>

  1. What are the things I should learn in Angular to cover most bases in this project, I am a backend engineer and going over youtube videos . I want to stick with Angular as I have few work projects going to come in coming months so it will help me to learn it .
  2. I am unfamiliar with typescript . How much effort will it need to learn in order to code for this project. I am most familiar with Python only.
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