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Grow Your Tech Career at Apple

Apple Inc. is an American technology company that specializes in consumer electronics, software and online services. Apple's introduction of the iPhone in 2007 ushered in the modern smartphone era and a massive platform shift. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple is the most valuable company in the world with a market cap of more than $3 trillion.

How to Deal with Stress Joining FAANG for the First Time?

Senior Software Engineer [ICT4] at Apple profile pic
Senior Software Engineer [ICT4] at Apple

Background Context

About 7.5-8 YOE, worked at a F500 before and a med tech startup before that. I'm an iOS Developer to be more specific.

I recently joined Apple as an ICT4/Senior SWE, and this is my first time joining FAANG. So far I’ve been assigned a couple of basic tickets which I landed ahead of schedule, and my manager is unsure of what I’ll be focusing on as Apple is wrapping up its last week of feature dev for the year.

I am extremely stressed. And honestly, for no reason other than I’m placing this stress on myself. I feel like I need to prove to my team and manager that I am in fact a senior level engineer, but since I am already at the level I guess there’s no need to? My colleagues who are mostly all a level below have been on this team for years and obviously can code circles around me. What I’m failing to find is what Rahul and Alex call “the engineer who everyone gravitates towards” on my team. I don’t think we have a dedicated Staff Eng, but rather a few senior SWEs (and even that I’m not sure of since everyone’s title is hidden), and honestly I have no idea what the expectations are of me, and I think that also attributes to my stress levels.

My manager says to just sit tight and has given me a few tickets that are supposed to help my designated Apple buddy - who has been amazing btw - and these tickets are fine and all, but I guess I’m just not sure if I can actually perform at the senior level at FAANG. From all the videos on Taro it seems like at the senior levels there’s a lot of leadership and design going on (which held true at my last company), but frankly in the past couple weeks I’ve been here, I’ve only seen engineers across all levels chugging out code as fast as they can (maybe that’s something specific to Apple).

Not sure if Apple just values "solver" archetype or if this is normal and that it's going to just take me a few months to ramp up and get used to everything. I think there's also quite a bit of imposter syndrome going on - I know I deserve to be here, I just need time to deliver more work and for my manager to give me some feedback.

I know I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I am, but I just want to take care of my mental health while doing the past I can to make sure I'm taking care of my career.

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How to stand out when applying for ML engineering positions at high-profile companies?

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

Hey everyone,

I'm a senior ML engineer (~4.5 years exp) working at a medium-sized company. My educational background is a BSc and MSc in computer engineering from a not super fancy university in Europe. I wrote a few papers during my university years and as a result of hobby projects, but these were published in mediocre conferences (so not Neurips/ACL-level).

I tried applying to a few ML engineering jobs in the past couple of months (Spotify, Apple and Amazon) but did not hear back. I searched through Linkedin to see the backgrounds of ML engineers working at these companies in my area just to get an idea of the situation. My impression was that a vast majority of these people went to top-tier universities (significant number of people have a Phd), interned at FAANG during their university years, wrote (or contributed to) papers in top ML conferences etc.

I know that ML engineering positions are very competitive at these companies & also the market is very tough now in general, but it got me wondering:

What should someone like me work on to increase my chances of joining one of these companies as a ML engineer? The patterns I see from people working there is hard to achieve at this stage in my life as:

  • I already have a MSc degree and doing another one at a better university does not really make sense
  • Since I'm working as a senior engineer, I don't know if applying for internships positions (even if it's FAANG) is a sensible choice
  • Writing top-tier papers is incredibly time consuming and hardly possible with maintaining a full time job. To be honest, I tried to do this in the past (since I know publications at top-tier conferences matter a lot in these situations), but it really affected my personal life. This is almost like trying to do two full-time jobs, which messed up my WLB.

Some things I was thinking about focusing on that could help me stand out:

  • Writing technical blogposts to our company's engineering blog.

  • Apply to meetups or conferences as a speaker.

  • Certifications (I was thinking of something like or )

  • Focus on promotion to staff/principal MLE. It may be easier to step into a higher tier company by down-leveling.

  • Keep trying to do research/writing papers as a side project, but need to figure out how to do this without burning out.

I honestly don't know if the above sound sensible, so I'd love to hear your opinion on this or if you have any additional ideas.

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Dead end job role at Apple?

Mid-Level Software Engineer [ICT3] at Apple profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer [ICT3] at Apple

Hi,

I have 6 years of experience in the software engineering field, mostly working as a software consultant and at not well known startups. Having done MSc in the field AI, I got an offer to interview with Apple for an interesting role that seemed to have the best from 2 worlds - Software Engineering & AI/ML. To my surprise, after 6 interviews over the span of 2 months and an emotional rollercoaster, I got the job at ICT3 level and moved to another country. I thought I might be underleveled at first, but I kept thinking I actually don’t have experience in AI/ML so they’re levelling me as ICT3 must be right, I also don’t feel like a senior yet.

The situation I’m in now at work is very frustrating and disappointing to me, because of the following :

  • I’m still onboarding after 9 months in, without being in a senior role. There is no serious documentation, I have to “network” in a forced manner, to find out vital information for an engineer like “do we have 2 prod environments and when do releases happen”.
  • up until now I have not received any tasks or projects to sharpen my skills or keep the ones I worked hard for so far
  • I had to beg for 8 months to be included in a project, the explanation was “we’re in the planning stage, we’re waiting for OKs to get started”
  • I get neither serious SWE experience from this, nor ML/AI related one.
  • Over the past month, after telling my manager I would apply for other jobs if this situation (not participating in anything palpable - just meetings) did not change, they finally moved me to another team that’s closest to SWE that this role can get.
  • in the new team, they advertised this project that would mostly be backend work in Go. It turns out the codebase belonged to another team and the role that I’m in, does not imply bettering/maintaining their codebase or adding new features, it’s mostly data hillclimbing and adding some strings in the right places, so super humiliating after having prepared from DSA , system design & design patterns
  • I don’t get to touch any AI/ML models yet or work with them, because I don’t have experience with AI/ML
  • My manager is a new manager and has half the experience in the field as I do. I talked to him about my disappointment of being so undervalued and his take on this is, I first have to learn the tech stack to participate in “more advanced” projects. However my male colleagues, who joined the company a few months earlier than me, have been given more responsibility faster (participating in 2-3 projects after aprox. 6 months in)
  • Time spent in the office is not productive at all, I can’t do focused work there at all. People chat and socialise all the time in the open spaced office we all work in and there are at least 60 people working there. This forces me to work overtime & during weekends, to achieve deadlines for the project and to learn the needed tech stack
  • I’m starting to feel trapped in this job because it’s consuming my time, including my free time and I’m actually worried that if I continue like this without coding, participating in code reviews & other healthy SWE practices I’ll get out of hand and have a hard time getting another software engineering job or staying relevant in the industry
  • Maybe what I’m experiencing in this particular branch of Apple is unusual for FANG or even other Apple jobs and would be grateful for others’ opinions on this situation.
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