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Often refers to the "Big 5": Google, Meta, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. They have all broken the 1 trillion dollar mark at some point and are premier career destinations for software engineers.

How to resolve conflicts between coworkers?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I’m an E5 iOS engineer at a Big Tech company. An E5 Android engineer (let’s call him A) on my team is very direct & blunt in his communication style. If he doesn’t like something, he’ll definitely let you know. An E5 backend engineer (let’s call him B) on my team is the complete opposite in his communication style. A and I collaborated on an official spec that we shared with our entire team to align everyone. B deviated from this spec in his RFC, but had tagged A and me on his proposed name change in the sample json response in his backend RFC.

A called B “sloppy” for embedding the source of truth in the backend RFC’s sample json response instead of using the official spec as the source of truth. This offended B, who viewed it as “finger pointing”. From B’s perspective, it was an innocent misunderstanding that’s easily resolved since it’s so early in the project that not much code has been written. It’s a single string that can be easily changed on both the mobile and backend sides. B thinks that A is making a mountain out of a molehill.

I worked closely with B last quarter and really enjoyed it. He’s extremely kind, easy-going, encouraging, and puts you at ease. If you make a mistake, he would never call it out explicitly. A seems to be the complete opposite of all those things, but I haven’t worked much with A yet.

Both A and B vented to me privately for support. A thinks that B is “sloppy” for burying the changes in the backend RFC instead of updating the official spec. B thinks that A is “difficult to work with” and “points fingers” over something that can be easily resolved. We’re still in the early stages of this project, and B doesn’t know how he can work with A if A keeps finger pointing.

When I suggested that A sugarcoat the “sloppy” comment, A told me that’s already the sugarcoated version.

B’s planning to escalate this to our EM, since he suspects that A will as well, so he needs to “defend himself”. Any advice on how I can improve the situation? Sadly, I feel that most engineers at this company use A's "direct" approach. I personally get along fine with both of these individuals (so far, at least), so they both confided in me. I think that A is “right” that the source of truth should be in the official document, but the manner that he communicated it could have been improved (not that I’m an expert at this skill either!). Are there concrete actions that I can coach A on to make him a better teammate to work with? When another teammate (E6) previously berated B in front of the entire team, I escalated it to my EM on B's behalf and my EM had intervened. Should I just escalate this to my EM as well? There are some strong personalities on this team that are going to make this project challenging. Sigh.

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4 Comments
2 days ago

How to set professional boundaries with male colleague?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I’m a female engineer (E5) at a Big Tech company. I worked closely with a male colleague on the same team for a while. He’s also E5. After our team’s manager resigned, there was a re-org and we ended up on different teams. His team had some attrition, so he recently asked if I would like to join his team. I’m happy with my current team, so I said no.

Over time, there’s been a growing undercurrent of very personal questions and crossing of professional boundaries.

Some questions he had asked me (he asked these very aggressively and kept pushing for answers when I gave hand-wavy responses to some of them):

  • What did I do with my company stock? How much did I sell? Where did I put that money? What’s my financial strategy? We both joined pre-IPO, so our stock was worth a lot at one point.
  • Do I own a house? Where is it located? When did I buy it? How big is it (square feet as well as number of bedrooms/bathrooms)? How much is left on the mortgage?
  • Do I have a boyfriend? Do we live together? When did we meet? How did we meet? What does he do for a living?

Moreover, he keeps asking me to meet him in-person. Back when we were on the same team, I had skipped our in-person offsites due to COVID worries. I’ve never met him in-person, and am now extremely hesitant to. My spidey senses are going off.

He also asked me to communicate via WhatsApp instead of our company slack. Then he sent me a TikTok video with a sexual innuendo. When he recently asked me to use a non-company Zoom account to zoom, I declined and said that I don’t want any more sexual jokes. When he asked me if I’ll report him to HR, I asked him to keep things professional.

We’re in the same org, so I may need to work with him at some point. How do I enforce professional boundaries here? I don't want to go to HR unless absolutely necessary.

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13 days ago

Interview Kickstart or formation.dev?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

Hi All,

Just want to say thank you to Rahul and Alex for creating this platform. I’ve gone through almost all of the free content and have found it very valuable in performing at my day job.

For my question:

I’m interested in getting into a Tier-1 company and have tried interview preparation on my own using NeetCode 150, Structy, etc., but am interested in a more structured learning approach. I have failed a couple of interviews and think half is due to anxiety/freezing up and the other half is inexperience with DSA. I have found it difficult to have the discipline to study after work and am interested in making a financial investment to facilitate this process. Also, I am looking to be more comfortable with the interview process through mock interviews.

I am currently trying to decide which platform to use to get an offer for a DE role at Tier-1. I’m deciding between Formation and Interview Kickstart.

Do you have any opinions on the quality of either program? For context, my current role consists of data engineering work but my role is a software engineer. Formation does not have any data eng specific content so I was thinking about IK. Do you think the quality of formation DSA outweighs the fact that I could learn some domain knowledge through IK? I’m currently enrolled to do to the trial with IK this week to see how the course is, but am still open to enrolling in formation. For DE roles, is DSA enough through formation and then I could supplement with SQL questions?

I know you guys just partnered with formation so you may be biased. Thank you in advance for your advice.

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3 Comments
a month ago

Stuck as an Entry Level Engineer

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

Hello,

As the title says, I’m stuck as an entry level engineer in FAANG for almost 4 years now. I’ve been reflecting on what I’m doing wrong.

My first company I worked for 1 year and didn’t not like it because the lack of mentorship. I joined and my questions never got answered, the tech lead didn’t really care about giving mentorship, just gave me links and bug IDs. I was able to survive for 1 year but I left the company because I felt so lost. My manager mentioned that I was “on track” to getting promoted but I hated the culture.

Then worked for 1.9 years on another company, where I received awards for my projects and contributions. I did receive mentorship here, but I was not able to get promoted. At the end of the timeline my manager mentioned I was moving slower and slower. I was working as a full stack and I believe my error here was not playing my strengths, since every time I had to take another project it would be on a different area, such as server on a language I never used before. I had a few discussions with my tech lead and I felt I lost my team trust because they would give a lot of comments, and just get a lot feedback from other people. This kinda demoralized me and made it hard to keep working so I changed teams. My last team I worked for 8 months before getting laid off. Here I also received recognition for my projects. My first project I missed the deadline because the onboarding had nothing to do with my project. I integrated our tool with an external team, so most of the code base I worked was not even ours (the techlead and team didn’t have much knowledge). Then I was given another project where I was starting to get traction, onboarding and project matched, I had to ramp up again on the new tech stack and my manager was getting frustrated with me, my team was very helpful and I was slowly to become independent. I feel like people trusted me here and code reviews would go smooth this time, at the end I was finally getting positive feedback, but was affected by the layoffs. From reflecting, here is what I did wrong:

  • Not communicating well enough my work with my managers. Status updates I was blocked/learning and that would make me look slow.

  • Not very good mentorship, I feel like at the beginning I needed lots of 1:1 to be able to learn our teams codebase. Sometimes I got very good mentorship but not complete. So I learned well parts of the code base where the tech stack applied.

  • Switching projects too much, went from front end, full stack, server side with several languages. Every time I had to re learn a lot of new of the tech stack.

I did get several recognitions for my contribution with at least helps me think I’m not completely inadequate for the field.

I am looking for a new position, is there anything that could help me perform well as a mid engineer?

Thanks

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2 Comments
a month ago

How do I move ahead in my career?

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

Background: I studied Bachelor's in computer science from a Tier 3 college in India and joined a reputed early-stage startup (Bay Area based) as an Operations Manager in India. I worked there for two years, and during that, I got exposure to technology. I gained tech skills by myself and moved to another startup as a Backend Developer.

I have been working as a Backend Developer for the last five years. All the companies I have worked for and left were in the early stage, so until now, I didn’t progress much in my career and still hold the designation of Software Engineer. I am earning and learning decently in Dubai, but I feel like stuck and not moving forward as I don’t see my future, at least in the current startup. I work as an Individual contributor, and management is pretty naive here.

I don’t understand what to do to move ahead from here:

  • I don’t feel much enthusiasm for engineering as my other colleagues and friends feel, so I feel like doing MBA and trying Product Management. But I am also not sure as I have already changed my career path once, and I am already 30 years old, so, not sure if doing it is a good idea or not. It's costly as well, so not sure it's a good investment. My wife is also doing an MBA, so I feel maybe FOMO is causing me to try it and get out of this zone.
  • One question that keeps me curious is why most of the engineers who are already working in Engineering don’t go for MBA.
  • Another option I feel is to try a Master's in computer science as its relatively cheaper than MBA also, I have been doing tech for the past five years so it can be a supportive degree, but I don’t love tech so much that I want to spend whole life in it, so I feel may b its also not a good idea.
  • I have a very limited professional circle as I have worked in very small startups and studied at Tier-3 college, so I feel like MBA/MS can help.
  • I feel like maybe I can also try FAANG instead of MBA and MS and see what happens from there, but I like my current work with elixir and enjoy it, so I don’t feel much happiness while doing preparation.
  • Also, I feel it's been three years here. We are two backend developers here, and we have good money. I get decent work with Elixir. I can stay here at the same startup, and maybe I will grow in future here only, which I strongly feel will not happen.

So, this is the problem I don’t understand where to go in my career from here. I am sure, for one thing, I want to try my startup again (I have tried twice, once in college and once a year back and closed before it started) in future.

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a month ago

Should I join the new team along with my manager?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

Hi all,

Due to recent changes in the company (Big Tech), my current manager is moving to a new org and a new manager is brought to manage the team. I really respect my manager and they were amazing at supporting me (helped me grow from E3 to E5 in 2 years).

They mentioned the new team has an opening and mentioned that I'd be welcome to join if I wanted to. The new team is our company's top priority and based on initial understanding, their work sounds very interesting to me. Here are some pros and cons I could think of:

Not Changing Team:

  • Pro- I have great relationships with IC6s on the team and also junior engineers.
  • Pro- I know the codebase well and scope is well defined.
  • Con- Been working in this space for 2+ years and feel slightly bored sometimes. Skillset also becomes stagnant.
  • Con- Manager mentioned hard to find IC6 scope in the org moving forward.

Changing Team:

  • Pro- Will continue the same manager, who I have a great relationship with.
  • Pro- Exciting new space and top company priority.
  • Pro- Manager considers me as high IC5 and mentioned potential IC6 growth opportunities-(although since manager hasn't joined the new team yet- so I should take this with a grain of salt).
  • Con- Having to ramp up to a new team as an IC5 (seems a little risky considering layoffs).
  • Con- Unknowns like work life balance, team friendliness, team success etc.

Considering these, I am planning to talk to the senior manager in the new org to evaluate their team and vision. Since this is a unique situation, how should I approach choosing between the two? What kind of questions should I ask? Thanks a lot!

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2 months ago

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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2 months ago

How to navigate promotion talks when no direct manager or director in sight for approx. 2-3 months while being a new member on a team?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I recently changed teams(been over 4 weeks). The current team did not have a manager/sr. engg manager to report to, and everyone reported to an Sr. director. This sr. director reported to a VP in my org.

Unfortunately during a round of layoffs, our director got laid off. So, now imagine my team is "headless".

Our VP did mention that they will try to bring in someone interim. Say that happens, and I am able to make a good connection with this "new" but temporary manager, but after a few months, we get a "permanent" manager, my questions and/or concerns around these are

  1. This would be my first time I will be in this situation mine is a tier-3 company, also not a tech-first company, is this how even Big Tech works? How do you all navigate this change, and continuous (non-technical) context switch of leadership?
  2. As you might have guessed how do I best make sure that my accomplishments(refers to the brag doc*) gets clearly communicated between my old manager, me, and my new manager?
  3. Does it make sense to even "talk" about getting promoted with the old manager if I have been on this team for 4 weeks?
  4. Re. to point 3, some notes about my accomplishments: I already was able to find bugs in their pipelines, and communicated about this to cross functional teams too, and everyone acknowledged this, and we have been able to avoid a major failure while shipping to prod environment, thereby saving us time(in months). What I am trying to say is I have been making(in my humble opinion) impact from day 1. I also am contributing to an internal library which will be used for onboarding several teams(cross regional too) in my company. I am the second developer on this repo. I already am keeping track about all of this in my "brag doc", I have been clearly communicating about my work with my scrum master, my current Principal Engineer, and other engineers.
  5. This is painful to write but, we have 3 engineers including me who are on the same level as mine(level 2), 1 Level-1, and 1 Principal Engg. Now, I am not comparing, but how do I put my best foot forward so that I too get a shot of pushing forward my promo packet along with others? There is a notion in my company(I dont know about Big Tech) that we "tend to" not have more than 2 level-3 engineers on a team, so should I just give up of not hoping to get promoted, and instead keep my head down and wait for new year or until I quit? Sorry if I sound negative, but its what it is.

Some more information about me:

YOE: 6+ this is what has been killing me from inside, 6+ yoe, and stuck on Level-2, I agree things were not hunky dory with me(been through a lot of personal s***), and couldn't focus on this side of my life.

I agree this is my mistake, but I know myself, and I know I can make it work,I can push myself and make it work, but asking for a guidance is all.

Appreciate you all for reading till the end, can't thank this community especially Rahul,and Alex.

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2 months ago

How to avoid building the wrong thing when navigating ambiguity?

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

I'm an E5 at a big tech company. I've been on multiple projects where stakeholders waited until the very end of the projects to say, "That's not what I wanted." What can I do to prevent this from happening? I got feedback that I "need to navigate ambiguity". Does "navigating ambiguity" mean somehow predicting that stakeholders want something besides what they sign off on? If so, how do I develop this skill?

This seems to only happen on projects led by E6+ engineers or an M2. I have not had this experience when working with other E5's or more junior engineers.

Examples:

  • Misaligned OKRs: At the beginning of the quarter, my M2 told me that it was okay to have a multi-quarter effort, so I planned to do an analysis and roadmap in the first quarter, then execute on improving metrics in subsequent quarters. My M2 signed off on my OKRs for the first quarter. When I provided my deliverables at the end of the quarter, the M2 said, "That's not what I wanted." Then he told me that he wanted metrics moved, even though my OKRs clearly said it was just an analysis & roadmap. I asked 2 mentors (a Director & an M2 - both not in my management chain) for a 3rd party opinion and they both agreed that there was no way to read my OKRs as moving any metrics. I'm confused why the M2 signed off on it and didn't say anything about it in our team's weekly OKR review meetings if that's not what he wanted. He gave me feedback that I need to "navigate ambiguity." When I asked him for concrete, actionable steps to navigate ambiguity, he said, "If you need to ask that, then clearly you don't know how to navigate ambiguity." I'm so confused! Please help!
  • Low-level design missing on a cross-functional project: The DRI (an E6 backend engineer on a different team) kept talking in circles & refused to answer questions whenever the other mobile engineer and I asked about the low-level design for our project. The other mobile engineer tried escalating to our EM, but our EM did not help us. As a last resort, the other mobile engineer and I aligned on the mobile implementations and built that. During end-to-end testing, the DRI said, "That's not what I wanted." He did the same thing to the data scientist. The project was initially scoped for 6 weeks, but ended up taking 2.5 quarters due to all the churn around "late findings". My EM gave me feedback that I need to have a low-level design before starting implementation.
  • Wrong requirements on a cross-functional project: The DRI (E8 web on a different team) provided a requirements doc that was confusing, meandering/disorganized, and hard to follow/understand. An E7 mobile engineer flagged that the doc is not a proper requirements doc at a TSG (Tech Steering Group), but the DRI ignored him and forced me to implement it. I asked for requirements clarification, acceptance criteria, and end-to-end test cases, but he refused to provide any of them. He told me that the requirements doc was all I needed. I escalated this to 3 EMs (my EM, the project's EM, and the DRI's EM) due to my bad experience from the previous project, but none of them helped me. When I asked my EM point-blank how to avoid building the wrong thing, he told me to just make sure I get sign-off on the low-level design in my mobile RFC. I made sure to get sign-off from the DRI before implementation. I also provided TestFlights every 2 weeks for the duration of the project. On the final day that I was allocated to the project, the DRI asked what happens in an error scenario. I said, "Exactly what was documented and signed off in the low-level design of the mobile RFC. Why would it be any different?" Sure enough, he said, "Oh, that's not what I wanted." When I asked why he signed off on the low-level design, he said he missed the flowchart that described the error handling. This happened even though I explicitly tagged him on that flowchart in the Google Doc. So the overall mobile design was about 80% wrong. Turns out his requirements doc said the opposite of what he wanted and that's why the wrong thing got built. The TestFlights had the wrong behavior starting with the initial build, but he missed this as well. His feedback for me: "needs to make sure we build the right thing". How do I avoid this in the future? My EM was unable to provide any advice on how to avoid this in the future. All 3 EMs resigned towards the end of the project.
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2 months ago

How to become a top developer in outsourcing company?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
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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7 Comments
2 months ago

Resume review for landing L4 or L5 in Faang+

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

My resume is below and a review would be great!

Questions:

  1. I tried to be concise and to "show" not "tell". What major improvements can I still make? Lots of progress already from seeing Alex's resume and the masterclass on resumes , but would love more.
  2. Does L5 make sense given the resume, or since I have just over 3 years of experience would L4 be worth pursuing as well over my current position? Following up on questions about down leveling , and leaving a startup for big tech .

*Note because my most recent experience is Team Lead and where I don't directly ship, I did break the rules and use bold to highlight earlier impact. I also put skills at the bottom for visual balance.


Team Lead for Software Engineering, Company X ⁓ $450M startup ⁓ 1M monthly active users

April 2022-Present

  • Managed 8 direct reports, 2 promoted to Senior (one from the junior), 3 on-boarded
  • Proactively addressed underperformance among direct reports resulting in 2 engineers improving their skills to meet expectations
  • Empathized with individuals to build trust and understand root causes which included addressing a system problem rather than blaming an engineer for poor performance
  • Recognized hard work resulting in high team morale and often completing sprint goals

Android Engineer II, Company X ⁓ employee #18 of 150 ⁓ engineer #4 of 25

May 2021-Mar 2022

  • Rebuilt our $125M-revenue driver, a 2D list of games, to be faster, modular, simpler
  • Devised a strategy to improve UX through the creation of a bottom sheet and a resizing video solution, lead to a 4.3% increase in D7 profit
  • Created a service reminding users when their games are installed, even when outside app, and made a reusable, modular notification system, leading to a 75% decrease in abandonment
  • Debugged a $1M bug and presented a brownbag on it

Android Engineer I, Company X

Nov 2019-April 2021

  • Presented 20+ architecture and testing docs to my team before building complex features
  • Created robust test suites to ensure correct behavior and great UX through fault tolerance

Internships: Zillow, Undergrad Research

Skills: Kotlin, Java, Room/SQLite, SOLID, MVVM, Git, Design patterns, OOP, TDD

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3 months ago

Should I leave my startup after 3 years for big tech?

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

I’m considering leaving a startup because of 2 things I’ve seen on Taro:

  1. faang+ as a long term investment in your career
  2. .

2019 Goal of Joining a Startup

  • Learn a lot about how to be a good software engineer

  • Be an early employee at a startup that makes it big

  • Quickly become an Engineering Manager because I like working with people, helping others

2023 Thoughts on Staying as an Eng Manager or Joining Big Tech

  • Dream of being an EM, is happening on small start up scale with a growing number of reports who like my management so far

  • The dream is to be early at a unicorn and that is close, but

    • The new standard should be 10B not 1B

    • Doing this with a first job is not necessary and high risk

  • In 2-4 years I’d likely still be a engineering manager from a no-name startup

  • L5+ engineer in big tech may fit well with my personality right away based on Taro, where I love collaboration, helping people, product and technical challenges

    • I like not just spending 80% of my time heads down coding and that may be possible and expected right away in big tech, no need to be a manager
  • Getting a 2 FAANG+ badges on my resume over the next 4 years would be more way more worth it than even a million dollar payout from a startup

    • Could have many doors opened for high level roles at startups OR faang depending on what I feel like at the time

    • Big tech stock offer may also easily be worth 1M in 4 years

Priorities 2019

  • Supportiveness of team

  • Growth opportunities

  • Company prestige

  • Maximum outcome (Risk)

  • Compensation

  • Company ethics

  • Product space

  • Technical space

  • Work-life balance

  • Level/title

  • Benefits

  • Location

  • Stability

  • Remote work


Priorities 2023

  • Supportiveness of team +0

  • Work-life balance +7

  • Compensation +2

  • Company prestige -1

  • Growth opportunities -3

  • Stability +7

  • Company ethics -2

  • Remote work +6

  • Level/title +1

  • Benefits +1

  • Location +1

  • Product space -5

  • Technical space -5

  • Maximum outcome (Risk) -10

Taro priorities video is

Startup Stats

  • 150 people, 25 engineers (doubled from a year ago)

  • Fall 2021 had 50% investment at 250M valuation

  • Dec 2022 450M valuation

  • Revenue has since doubled in last year to 125M

  • Profitable per years with 20% gross margin

  • Growing industry

  • Not venture backed, so not expecting 20x growth

  • Estimated in 2-4 years to sell for 1-2B

How to evaluate a startup video

Current job stats

  • Team lead for a year after 2.5 years as Software Engineer

  • 0.1% equity, 100k cash

  • 18th employee, 4th engineer

  • Dream of being an early employee at a unicorn, seems close

  • Would lose all stock if I leave before acquisition/ipo

  • Biggest point for discussion: ***2-4 years of being manager at a small startup may not qualify me to be an EM in big tech***


FAANG+ Offer

  • L4 equivalent

  • 190k cash, 350k stock over 4 years, 60k sign on bonus

  • Work life balance is supposed to be great

  • Great food, big tech lifestyle that I’ve always heard/dreamed about

  • Would work to be promoted to L5 in 1-2 years, then manager a year after that.

  • Being a new person at a fresh company sounds very exciting now, I know the business fully and the tech stack of the current place to the point where many things Ive see before and feel stale/boring


Questions

  1. Based on my write up about values, priorities, liking collaboration, would I like being an IC L4 coming from being a manager where I have solid tech skills but strong soft skills that I enjoy using.

  2. If I stay at the start up would I be able to get a big tech EM offer with 3-4 years of management experience at the start up? Note this question shows what I’m learning now as a manager.

  3. Should I down level myself from L5 to L4 if I think I could get the offer at L5 but am not sure about the certainty of success? (Question asked separately )

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5 Comments
3 months ago

How collaborative, creative, and engineering driven do you get to be in an L5 role in FAANG+?

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

At my startup I was asked to deliver feature after feature + bug fixes by PMs as fast as possible without much time for proper refactoring work or engineering initiatives. Also it was pretty individualistic where you get assigned a task and only work with other engineers during a tech spec review meeting, code review, and syncing with a backend engineer (as an Android dev).

From Alex’s video on getting promoted to tech lead, I saw how you can 1) drive projects as an L5 engineer (vs a PM putting that together with designers) 2) Not have to know how to implement everything yourself for a project, but work with many others and facilitate the team. This sounds 100x more engineering driven and collaborative than at my start up with few developers. Is this common to many people’s experience of the norm in FAANG?

What I liked about Alex's story is also how he had the time and space to do things like document the differences between iOS and Android, as well as go all the way through to making a data analytics plan for monitoring it himself. Seems like a lot of freedom and ownership which I didn't feel I always had the time for personally. Being able to not have to spend 80% of your time coding but rather doing deep work thinking, planing, designing holistically sounds extremely satisfying and rewarding as an engineer. Maybe this also comes with experience at startups as well?

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2 Comments
3 months ago

Would time as IC in big tech (if lacking experience in modern tech and big tech) enhance marketability for EM roles?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

Trying to decide about taking an IC role I received in big tech (my first one! Thanks, Alex and Rahul!). I'm very excited about it except that I'm concerned about whether I'd still have the option to be an EM again someday, if I took this offer (I am an EM in a very small company now).

Do you think someone with this resume/background would still have a shot at EM roles? Doesn't need to be FAANG or big tech, but EM roles in at least mid-tier companies.

My resume would look like this, in this order:

  • 12 YOE as software engineer and senior software engineer in small non-brand-name companies (no modern tech or working at scale). I did lead some teams of 6-9 people for about two years during this time (some EM jds will count that toward management experience)
  • 1.5 YOE as software manager/director managing three then six people in a small non-brand-name company (got role through internal promotion) (little modern tech, no distributed systems or working at scale, not a great management culture in this company, management is very casual, I have a lot of exposure to the overall business, though)
  • 1 or more YOE as a senior engineer at a big tech company (first work experience working at scale with distributed systems and modern tech, mentor team members, manage an intern or two if allowed, work on management- and impact-related goals with manager, options for impact in the org)

There are actually lots of EM roles requiring experience with distributed systems, microservices, large-scale consumer-facing products, modern tech, etc. I don't meet the basic requirements for these roles now but would meet them after working as an IC in big tech.

100 Views
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2 Comments
3 months ago

Is there a tactic to finding jobs/companies to apply to?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I feel like I'm doing this wrong. When I want to see what jobs are available, I go on LinkedIn, hit the "jobs" tab, type in "frontend jobs", and scroll through the search results. But that's often unproductive because nothing looks enticing. I scroll past companies that I don't know (because I assume the pay or the benefits will be mediocre), past companies that I've heard negative things about (which is a lot of them), and then I'm left with no options at all.

I wanted to work for a FAANG company, but after all the layoffs and hearing stories from my friends who have boring work and teams, constantly feel anxiety around their jobs, and feel like code monkeys, I am a bit turned off from applying to FAANG-type companies. I work for a well-known fintech company now but I don't have a good manager and the upcoming changes in upper management don't look promising. Plus, I've been here for 3+ years and I want to know how other companies operate, know more people, and just learn more within software engineering too.

Here's what I'm looking for

  • great team (a team I can learn lots from, I get along with, and have folks who care for me as a person). I've had this before so I know this is not an impossible ask
  • innovative work
  • great manager
  • good health insurance/benefits (such as vacation)
  • good work-life balance

Location doesn't matter and I'm ok with a remote job too. One tactic I thought of was to look up "great places to work" and apply to companies from that list.

But in general, how should I look for jobs and companies to apply to when I'm not targeting a specific company? Plus, is applying to FAANG level companies worth it for the resume boost and the experience?

Appreciate any insight into this! Thanks!

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1 Comment
3 months ago

Should I make a career path or just be open to interesting positions?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

I don't really know what I want to do in my career. I finished university one year ago, and I work as a full stack engineer right now, and I'm quite interested in ML. I'm more frontend-facing right now, but I see low returns on spending too much time learning new frontend frameworks my entire career. I'm more interested in becoming a well-rounded engineer, so I feel that there would be higher returns on digging down into the backend more. I have been looking at trying to join some big tech company as a backend engineer, but I just went on an interview for a small tech company which does quite alot of ML with the hopes that they were looking for another ML engineer. Instead they presented me with a broad-scoped data engineer role which sounded pretty cool.

My strategy up until this point has just been to find cool roles where I get to learn useful stuff as an engineer from people who are way smarter than me. Sometimes I think "If I would make a startup, would this skill come in handy?" Is that a poor framework? Should I have a plan? I don't even know if I ever want to make a startup lol. I'm interested in joining big tech, but other than that I'm not really sure. I just enjoy building stuff, and I see this as an opportunity of learning data engineering really well (which I don't know very well), but that is perhaps not a wise career choice? Any guidance on how to think as a new grad is appreciated lol.

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1 Comment
4 months ago

Switch jobs or stay to eventually join big tech?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Startup Company

I graduated with a master's in CS 1.5 years ago and since then I have been working at a no-name brand company as a full-stack engineer. I would love to join Spotify but I lack prestigious grades and side projects. The tech stack I work in is somewhat old (Angular 2, .NET, no cloud, in-house solution for CI/CD, etc). The company is nevertheless alright and my colleagues are all very friendly, including my boss and manager.

If I would want to join Spotify, should I double down at my current job and try to get those side projects started, or should I consider another position in-between my current position and Spotify in order to increase my chances to join Spotify? The reason why I’m not a big fan of this idea is that I don’t like to join a company with the intent to leave within 1-2 years. The reason why I'm considering changing company is because I worry that my current growth could potentially be a lot higher than what it currently is.

Will my lack of experience in newer frameworks/tools be a large disadvantage to me when I’m looking for a junior/midlevel role at a tech company where being efficient in languages/tools is a must? Is it better to stay since I can make more of an impact now since I’m familiar with my company’s tech stack compared to having to go through an onboarding process at a new company which may result in decreased impact for that period? I would prefer to join big tech in 1 year as a junior engineer, rather than in 10 years as a mid-level engineer.

105 Views
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2 Comments
5 months ago

What kind of organisations should a person join at different points in their career?

Senior Software Engineer at Grab profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at Grab

Part 1: Before Joining an organisation

  1. How can one identify the best kind of organisation to join at different point in one's career? I understand that the advice to this question may not be a prescription for all, but how can one identify places that would help them to maximize their learning and growth. For several other people, different parameters may be important for them as well such as work-life balance. Personally, I feel that WLB is dependent on a person more than that on the organisation. Thoughts?
  2. Quite often we feel that growth may be fast paced at startups, but there can be startups that do and don't promote the growth of a person. Given that there is no list out there to check, how can one make the best suited decisions for their career, not landing at a place they should not be at? What kind of research can a person do before joining an organisation?

Part 2: After joining an organisation

  1. Given that a person has joined an organisation, what are the kind of signals that they can identify to see whether the organisation is supportive of their career growth and is indeed the right place to be, for them?
  2. On several anonymous portals, there are people from the organisation that will talk poorly about an organisation when things are not going good for them. Managers can quite often paint a really rosy picture about the place. How do you identify the honest signal from the noise all around?
  3. If you find an organisation not good for you after you join there, how quick is it too quick to leave? How much time should you spend there before you can make a judgement about the same?
151 Views
4 Likes
6 Comments
7 months ago