Tech has one of the highest rates of job switching, making this skill incredibly high-leverage and vital to master. Understand what it takes to convince companies you are strongly competent.

What should I add in my experience section in my resume?

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

I have been part of an MNC for last three years. During this time I have been part of four different projects. I have added following points in my resume for those three projects.

Data Scientist (Apr 2022 - Mar 2023)

  • Analyzed data from various sources to identify issues impacting growth and profitability across product and service offerings.
  • Utilized a variety of tools and technologies to conduct data analysis and visualization.
  • Recommended solutions to address complex business problems based on findings from data analysis.
  • Tech Stack: Python, Pandas, PySpark, Databricks, NumPy, SQL, Excel

SAP BW Analyst (July 2021 - Apr 2022)

  • Created custom reports and flowcharts to present the raw data to clients in an easily digestible format.
  • Utilized innovative methods to increase efficiency and decrease run times for all reports by over 15%.

Network Associate (Nov 2020 - June 2021)

  • Monitored network capacity and performance to diagnose and resolve complex network problems.
  • Successfully resolved over 500 complex network issues, resulting in a 95% customer satisfaction rating.

For the last six months, I have been part of a Django development project as a backend developer, in which I could not get any work because the use case we are supposed to work on has not been finalized yet. I am actively looking for a job switch, looking for an entry level SWE or Data role and could not think about what should I write in the experience for the last 6 months.

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7 hours ago

How to communicate with HR and EM when they didn't include for the appraisal/promotion cycle?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community

Hey there, for context, I completed my first year as Software Engineer.

I joined the company because I was in dire need without checking the company culture, following which I was not satisfied with the designation. I then started to look out for a job.

I got that offer after 4 months of joining with 33% increase in the salary.

When I told my EM he was willing to talk to the HR and match the salary but then the Head of the department didn't promote my role in the light that others in the team will think and ask why in 4 months I got my role upgraded.

The leadership conveyed that I might get the designation in the 6 months appraisal cycle.
In the appraisal cycle they denied my promotion saying my salary doesn't match the orgs designation and they don't know what to do.

I was not happy with the decision and since I didn't had any offers I kept working for the organisation hoping I will get it in the 1 year cycle.

Now I didn't get the review form for 1 year appraisal cycle. I think they will say in the lines of because your salary was revised at the 4 month you are not eligible for this cycle.

Though I don't feel my designation is the right one. But I have some other responsibilities as well like family, commute etc. I'm losing my motivation.

I need help in crafting effectively to EM and HR so that they consider my role and some appraisal so that they inline my career in the organisation else juniors will have a higher role in front of me.

From today I have also started looking out for other jobs, but I don't want to hurry in making decisions.

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15 days ago

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.


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2 months ago

Dealing with "This offer is the best we can do for this level"

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


  • Opportunity:- A month ago, I interviewed at a recently IPO'd startup for a senior SWE position and did well.
  • Uplevelling:- The interviews apparently went so well that they suggested I was a good fit for a staff SWE position on the team and made a verbal offer for that.
  • Subsequent Downlevelling:- The actual offer was delayed by 2-3 weeks only for the final offer to be a senior SWE offer.
  • Compenstion Issue:- The final offer is a bit (~10%) lower than all my current offers on all compensation components (cash, stock, sign on). Also, I'm still awaiting a couple of more offers that could be even better paying ones.
  • Recruiter Constraints:- The recruiter stated that this is the best offer they can do for the senior SWE level. This might be true given the ranges available on Glassdoor but I'm not too sure since there was only 1 data point available.
  • My Opinions:- I really liked the team, the manager and the kind of work for this opportunity. But I don't want to leave out on a meaningful amount of money being offered by other opportunities.


  • Assuming that the offer is genuinely at the top range, can I still attempt to negotiate given that the team believed I'm suitable for a staff SWE uplevelling?
  • If I should negotiate, how do I approach it given that they've stated it's the best they can do?
  • Do companies offer compensation beyond the high-senior SWE but below the low-staff SWE ranges to good candidates?
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2 months ago

Should I take a SWE job in government or keep trying to get back into tech after layoff?

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

Hi Taro. I got laid off in April from AWS. I interned at NASA JPL and I am considering going back fulltime and continuing to apply to tech companies. I don't have an offer but I am hopeful I would be able to connect with a team since I interned there one year and have 1.5 YOE at AWS. I have some concerns about joining JPL, because they are prototype and research focused.

  • They don't have many production systems or serve customer traffic.
  • They also operate mostly in small and independent groups so the engineering standards can differ a lot. The research group I interned at had poor engineering and code quality compared to AWS.
  • The engineering environment is different than corporate. Some technologies and experiences missing at JPL that are common in tech are pipelines (CI/CD), TPS, tickets, oncall, debugging large and distributed systems, customer traffic, metrics, operational reviews.
  • JPL pays poorly and has slow growth. You can be there 10 years and make less than an SDE-1 in FAANG.

I don't have any visa issues. Finances are not a problem. Currently I have very low expenses and good savings because I didn't RTO and I am living with my parents. I have 1.5 YOE at AWS and 3 years of internships before that. I see the market picking up so I am tempted to keep trying for a tech company.

Another thing to consider is that there is a lot of inertia when you join a job. I will have little time to look for other jobs in the first few months because I will be busy onboarding. I will also have less time to look for jobs and study for interviews.

Please give advice :)

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2 months ago

Optimizing for career growth vs money.

Senior Software Engineer at N/A profile pic
Senior Software Engineer at N/A

Hey there 👋 For context, I quit a toxic job 2 months ago and I'm back in the job market.

I just finished an interview process with a company I really like, I think it checks almost all the boxes:

  • Company size (Series C)
  • Culture
  • I'll join the team that will be on the spotlight for the next 18 months -> My job will have a major impact.
  • I would be able to work on React Native if I decide to (I'm a frontend engineer w/ React expertise)
  • I think that I can reach staff level in about a year or two there.
  • People I interviewed with are superb.
  • Fully remote.

I expect to get an offer from them on Monday (I'm writing this on Thursday night). I know that because the recruiter called me today to touch base and to tell me that things went good! The problem with this company is that the salary is more on the lower side...but it's still on the range I have in mind.

The dilema is that I'm just starting to interview with other companies that pay 50% more, but finishing interviewing with them will take me at least two weeks...and the company I'm getting the offer from probably won't hold the offer for that long.

I have a few thoughts / concerns that I'd like you to help me sort out / discuss:

  • I'm thinking that it would be wise to optimize for career growth, I probably could get a better job if I manage to do great things in the company I'm getting the offer from. What do you think? The salary is not as high as the other companies, but it's good money. (FWIW, I live in a low-cost-of-living country)
  • I was hoping that I could negotiate a better salary with this company if I had other competing offers, but I got nothing, and I wouldn't get any other offer by next week. Do you have any tips about how to negotiate a better offer even when I don't have the leverage of a competing offer? I understand this might not be possible. I feel that I did a really good interview process though, so maybe I could use that as leverage.
  • I really like one of the "slow companies", but they've been just dead slow. I interviewed with their CTO and he said that they will kick off things immediately...but that hasn't happened. Should I ping him? I feel that they should be the ones making the next move, but I'm not 100% sold on that idea.
  • The other companies are just fine, honestly, their pay is what makes them more attractive.
  • Not sure if this is relevant or not, but I'm 36, I wonder if I should spend my 37-38s working for the company that pays less than the others while chasing career growth.
  • I have a good runway, so if don't end up with an offer from any of those companies, I'd be just fine for another 8-12 months.
  • I live in Latam, so it's hard to get 100k+ offers, it's not like I have a pool of options to choose from.

Thanks for reading! 😁

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2 months ago

Manager offered me return internship rather than SDE position due to hiring freeze, but I would need to delay graduation for it. Should I do it?

Software Engineering Intern at Amazon profile pic
Software Engineering Intern at Amazon

My manager made it clear that my org is not offering return FT offers, but that he would put "incline return" for an internship position if I stayed another year in school (or somehow delayed graduation until 2025).

I could just take random classes or another major to extend my time in school. I also could do a 1-year Masters program which I have already been admitted into. But I am an older student and would rather not stay another year in school. I also feel like I am learning very little in school (I go to a small state school). Compared to the ridiculous amount I learned this summer in the industry, I feel like staying in school for another year would be a huge waste of money and time.

I could potentially work Fall/Spring internships for the next year (so basically a gap year) to artifically delay graduation by a year as well.

Becuase I go to a small state school, getting interviews from Big Tech is extremely hard. We send about 1-3 kids to each FAANG+ company each year and I was only able to get 2 FAANG+ interviews even with refferals to every top company, a 4.0 GPA and relevent experience. Even getting actual SWE engineering jobs is really hard with most CS grads getting jobs labeled "SWE" but that involve very little coding.

Because of that, my worry is this might be my only chance to break into Big Tech for a long time (if ever).

So is it worth delaying my graduation for a shot at big tech? Or should I just graduate and start my career, even if its at a non-tech company (with potentially very little actual engineering work)?

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1 Comment
2 months ago

How Long to Complete Take-Home Assignment II

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

My was “When given a take-home assignment, what is a reasonable turnaround time to get it back to them?” I now know it’s within a week.

I was given the assignment to create a basic Django app and was told to spend no more than 3 hours on it. Here’s the short text of the assignment description:

Table Metadata Extractor (Python)

Please provide a Python Django application that has one API endpoint which accepts a database connection string from your DB of choice (Redshift, BigQuery, Snowflake, MySQL, Postgres), connects to the database using and returns a list of the TableMetadata data objects (see below) for all tables in the database.

TableMetadata = {

columns: List[ColumnMetadata]

num_rows: int

schema: str

database: str


ColumnMetadata = {

col_name: str

col_type: str


Bonus points for:

·         Instructive error messages for improper connection strings or other invalid input

·         A solution that is efficient

As a Data Engineer/Analyst, I haven’t done web-dev stuff in years and have never used Django. My immediate instinct upon reading this project description was to find a resource to learn Django online. I’m not sure this is the right instinct, because software is about doing more than learning as Alex has mentioned so many times.

The way I see it, I have 3 ways to approach this assignment:

  1. The way I just mentioned. Go down a learning path (hopefully not a rabbit hole), learn about Django and try completing the assignment.
  2. Dive right in, try building the solution from scratch, Googling and ChatGPTing liberally.
  3. Don’t do the assignment, spare myself the time and headache, and beef up my Python web-dev skills for the future.

The first approach requires the most upfront time. The second might be longer or shorter than the first. And the third doesn’t require any upfront time but requires a commitment to being in a much better position to do the assignment in future.

This is the second time in a couple of months I’ve been in this position since I was given an assignment for a different company to build a Flask app and did a shoddy job with it.

My first question is, which of the 3 options should I do to address this time-sensitive situation?

My second is, how should I address this situation long-term? Building some web-dev projects in Python with Flask/Django/FastAPI seems pretty logical. I don’t get to work with them at work, but I could spend a few weeks building stuff with them. I guess that’s the answer, the key is to avoid tutorial hell.

My third is, how should I think about take-home assignments in general? Should they stretch me a lot in terms of learning new things or conversely, should I be, say, 80% comfortable with what I need to do, just stretching a bit here and there to do stuff?


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3 months ago

Help after a layoff

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Anonymous User at Taro Community


I got laid off this January, and I am trying to find guidance on finding my next job. I have almost 4 years of experience (2 FAANGs). So far I had 7 first round interviews, made it to final round on 2 (failed 5), and got one offer, which is a really big pay cut (govt job) and I have to relocate far, so I am not really wanting to take that offer.

I am applying for front-end roles so my prep varies between leetcode (50%), JavaScript and front-end tech questions (30%) and System Design (20%). I was very shaky on algorithms and front end, I wish I studied more before interviewing (I kinda freaked out and jumped too soon to the job hunt with spoiled skills).

Almost every new job opening is a pay cut, even for senior positions (I wasn’t senior). Is the market really that bad now? I’ve seen posts on Reddit and other places of people getting a job quickly after getting laid off, and not only that, it is a pay increase, which makes me feel like I am doing something wrong, since I’ve been job hunting for 4 months now. Sometimes I get demoralized after so many rejections but I keep trying every day to get better skill wise, I feel like I got laid off because I was an underperformer. Even though I was never put on disciplinary action, it did take me a lot of effort to understand and accomplish my tasks, unlike other of my coworkers, so I keep reflecting if I could have done something different.

Anyone in the same position than me or has experienced this before could give some advice? Or any comments are appreciated, thanks.

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2 months ago

Stay at current company or take a chance with smaller less established firm?

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

I recently had an interview with a small health care and wellness firm: ~500 employees founded in 2008. The potential pay increase would be significant for me (25-30%; 42% factoring in their annual profit sharing bonus - not guaranteed) and its definitely a promotion for me as its a Sr. Engineer role however I’m torn on whether that justifies leaving my current job. 

My current company isn’t that competitive with pay and many times I’m restricted as to what I can or can’t do outside of work to make additional money because of potential conflicts of interests for them. I also am a bit tired of having to disclose every financial transaction and personal financial data to them. It’s very frustrating. I do have stability with my company and I enjoy the variety of experience from projects and tech stacks I get to work with. 

This new firm however, per Glassdoor reviews, seems to indicate that management are strictly top-down decision makers (“my way or the highway”), have a tendency to micromanage with lots of turnover in management as well. Employees, especially a few engineers, have noted how there is a poor work life balance. I’m not confident in their business yet either from what I’ve researched since their product is banned in Australia although they are supposedly in Inc. 500’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies.

Maybe I'm only focusing on the extreme negatives.  Would love if anyone could weigh in with their $0.02.

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4 months ago

Finding a job without a specialty

Mid-Level Software Engineer at Ex-Google profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer at Ex-Google

A quick TL;DR of my career, I started off at Lockheed Martin doing Linux C++ and Java development with a bit of SRE work building out Jenkins+Docker CI/CD infrastructure for my team. I then went to do frontend web development on Google Cloud. However, after around eight months, I wasn't too confident on my trajectory within the team, so I moved over to a team outside of Cloud. In this role, I did Android development with some C++ backend work mixed in. Looking at my background, I've worn several hats and more or less had multiple different roles during my ~4 year career.

This is all because I care more about the end result of my work instead of the work itself. The language, tech stack, etc that I am using is not what gives me fulfillment. Unfortunately, it seems like I'm getting punished for this mindset, as every employer wants someone who has been using the same stack their whole career. It's not surprising given how recruiters and anyone in the hiring process is seeking to find any reason to say "No" to you. They have become adversaries that one has to take down, since passing Google's hiring bar now no longer carries weight. Each interview I fail to pass just appears to perpetuate a narrative that I was nothing more than a COVID overhire and deserved to be laid off.

Is there a gainful role out there for me, or am I going to just have to settle for some dead-end job that will just drag these career woes on?

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10 days ago

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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4 months ago

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.


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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Editor's Choice
5 months ago

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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4 months ago

Should I just accept the job offers I get offered?

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

Should I just accept the job offers I get offered rather than chasing the jobs offers which don't pay attention to me? I've kind of had this mindset that I should have a nice linkedin profile, and then just work on my craft and participating in the community. I'll apply to the big/medium sized tech companies I wished that I worked for, and if they accept me, great, and if they don't, well I have tons of stuff to do anyways and my current job is fine so it's whatever. Eventually my skills will be so sharp that the cool companies will reply to me, right?

Is this a reasonable approach? Or am I tricking myself here? Should I be more deliberate in my job hunting process even though I'm not really trying to run away from my job?

I'm a fullstack engineer, mostly focused on frontend. On my sparetime, I try to build web apps with the stack that I'm currently familiar with, hoping that they could attract some users. I try to learn about software patterns and tooling that the community recommend, and I try to learn more about cloud infrastructure so I can ship projects (including my own) more easily. Besides this, I participate in my tech community by doing some talks and attending meetups.

I don't dislike my current job, but I feel ready to take on a new challenge. At the same time, I don't know if most people who work in big tech follows a similar recipe that I'm trying to follow. I guess there's no magic formula. I tell friends and family that I'm trying to get into big tech, and I catch myself repeating myself about my plans every time I see them. I graduated university a couple of years ago, so I'm still somewhat new to the industry, but it still makes me question myself if what I'm doing is right, if it's completely wrong, or if I'm just being unpatient.

What should I do? Double down and try to improve my chances of getting replies from the current companies I apply to, or lower my expectations? Or is the answer just based on how much more effort I'm willing to put into it?

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5 months ago

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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5 months ago

Does coding language matter in interviews?

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

Just curious about opinions here. My main language is JavaScript, and I know people probably assume I am a front-end developer / full-stack (reasonable biases). In reality, I've been primarily backend for several years now. Throughout my experience at Microsoft and Twitch, I've used a fair amount of Node.JS / vanilla JS, then a bit more TypeScript for the CDK constructs we all know at Twitch (our team was primarily responsible for building and debugging Amazon Builder Tools things). I've done the majority of my interviews in JavaScript and it has been mostly OK, since I've used it for so long, but just wondering if it matters.

I used to do my interviews in C++, but then I got burned during a Google interview when my interviewer talked about the inefficiencies of emplace_back vs push_back (I had no idea). After that point, I just decided to do JS because I was reasonably proficient at it, and it is actually faster to write than C++ in a lot of cases (less boilerplate).

The top LeetCode answers / YouTube explanations and such are usually in Java or Python, so sometimes it's also hard to find a good JS answer. I'm leaning towards Python, because it is more like JS and with less boiler-plate like Java, but I'm worried about something throwing out some random trivia about Python that I have no idea about, because honestly I haven't used it much in my career thus far.

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6 months ago

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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Editor's Choice
5 months ago

Interview Kickstart or

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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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7 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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8 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!


  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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9 months ago

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

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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


  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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9 months ago

Success story after PIP?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Series E Startup

I transitioned into a backend engineering role 1 year ago after working as a data analyst for 3 years. The jump was definitely big to me, as I had to learn a lot of new concepts (OOP, clean code, architecture, devops etc). The transition was done through internal hiring where they did a live coding interview (2 easy leetcodes), a live system design interview, and motivational interview. I passed all of those and ended up in a high-paced team.

The team was severely understaffed. The manager was managing 3 teams that decreased from 20+ people to <10 people and there was hiring freeze. There was no proper onboarding and all the seniors were too busy with tasks to help me properly. I did my best to read the documentations and set up 1-1s with more senior engineers from other teams that could help me. I finished several projects although carried over some to the next half.

My 1st performance review was "meet expectations". However, before my 2nd performance review, there was a manager change and this manager gave me "partially meet expectations" and then said that I would be put on PIP program. When I asked the manager what the program would be like and how many people completed this successfully, he/she couldn't give a definitive answer and said that HR would be in touch me.

I decided to quit and spend time to learn more fundamental concepts and take up a freelance project. It's been 2 months since then. Right now I feel like I'm learning a lot in these 2 months compared to my 1 year in that company, but I can't help but feeling very anxious with all these layoffs and the incoming tech winter. I don't have any self-confidence within myself that I would get any decent job, especially after getting an incoming a PIP, I'm just worried that when I'm interviewing at my next job, the career gap in my resume and the past potential PIP would deter me from getting any jobs. I'm also at loss on how to avoid potential PIPs in the future. Any advice to help me? Thank you very much.

Edit: For more context, I didn't come from a CS background (I studied Mathematics). My team was not a revenue generator. The company was especially hit really hard during covid and had 2 big layoffs. When I left, there are many products that are being shut down and a couple of senior-level product managers left as well without being replaced due to hiring freeze. During the talk of my PIP, the manager brought up his/her expectations on me that was 1 level (mid-level) above my current level (junior-level).

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7 months ago

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

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
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.

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9 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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9 months ago

Seeking career advice from Senior SWE’s & SRE’s to get to Google (1st choice) or Airbnb

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Anonymous User at Taro Community

YOE: 10 months remote at an AWS Partner (DevOps/AWS account remediation stuff)
TC: $136k

Hello, I’m in my early career and in need of some career advice. I would like to get into a SRE-SWE role at Google, preferably in Zurich (I’m a US citizen) for better career growth and new life experience. 

My background: I switched into this field a bit late... 30 years old and now 10 months on the job. I decided I really wanted to learn to code after working in product and I made the switch. I took up a Javascript course online, within 7 months studying full time  I had completed a couple portfolio projects including a full stack project. At that point I decided I didn’t like front-end and I got into learning AWS cloud architecture. My coding background + achieving an AWS Associate Architect certification quickly found me a high paying role at an AWS consulting Partner in the devopsy space.

Currently I work remotely at a tiny AWS Partner where Terraform and AWS Cloud remediation is my main work. Though I had no intention of giving up coding, the job I got into pays well but is not exactly what I was expecting...  

After the first couple months of trial-by-fire with terraform - my job stopped being challenging and I have tons of free time (which I used to get 4 AWS certs so far.) Terraform hasn’t been difficult once I got the hang of it, and most of it I don’t consider actual brain-exercising coding work like I had done when learning to code (i.e codewars). Lately, I feel my only growth has come from the knowledge I’ve gained from self-studying for my AWS certs.  Though I have enjoyed studying for my AWS certs and gaining depth about cloud services (I really enjoy research and distributed cloud architecture to make things work on a mass scale is amazing)  and I just cleared the AWS Certified DevOps Pro exam which was a significant milestone for me. BUT…

  1. My coding skills are getting rusty and I never had proper programming mentoring on a professional team to begin with. I joined this company as a junior and have only really grown in Cloud Architecture (does that count as Systems Design?), AWS/Iaac Terraform, but not as a SWE.  I have never done leetcode, I don’t know DS and Algos. My interview was about a 3 tier app architecture. My company runs Terraform like a code-cowboy environment and my code almost never gets reviewed properly. And as I said, I’m not doing much here these days, which although is great if you I want to earn money and coast (or self-learn picking up the difficult cloud certs) I am definitely underutilized and not in a collaborative “team” environment. Work is siloed by customer with one senior engineer being the guy assigned to handle all the cool stuff for a customer and I receive undesirable work like dealing with logs or fixing pain in the arse security stuff that no one else wants to be bothered with. (I.E and maybe a bad example, but no one wants to be bothered with accidentally taking down production to remediate ssh ports being open to, so let the jr take the fall or do nothing since the customer doesn't care about it and won't pay for it)
  2. Here’s what I’m thinking - I could use my copious free time to get GCP Pro certs, maybe learn Kubernetes and then decide on another programming language to main and grind 6 months of leetcode to prepare to get into a Google SRE-SWE role or maybe Airbnb as a 2nd choice. Is this plan sound? Please advise. I don’t even know if I’ll like/need to learn Kubernetes, but I’m prepared to do what it takes to team match in my current cloud specialization. Do I need to learn Kube administration for Google SRE work?  I’m ready to get back to coding and I can nose to the grindstone leetcode for as long as it takes. The AWS Pro cert was a grueling grind as well, so I know I have the discipline to do it.
  3. I’m deciding upon a new programming language to main since I am not enamored with JS at all. I’m thinking either Golang or Python ( I’m already learning Godot and GDscript in my spare time as a hobby) and whichever language I go with will preferably be my main for leet code DS and Algos interviews and my career in tech. What I heard about Golang that I like is that there is typically a correct way to do something rather than a million ways to do one thing. I find that very appealing. Please advise on the language I should go with if you can as well.. My current job has been a good place to excel in self-study while being paid and now is the time to take aim for new goals  and steer the wheel on the ship of my career.

Also I really love working remotely but I would go to the office if it meant Google and a new life experience in Switzerland.

And I would really love any insight you can give about such SRE-SWE roles and if that sounds like the best fit for my current cloud specialization and interests. Thank you

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10 months ago

Balancing Job Applications vs. Interview-Prep?

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Data Engineer at Financial Company

In applying for jobs, how do I strike the right balance between prepping for the few interviews that I have, while also trying to get more interviews? There is a temptation to go heavy prepping for the interviews I have with mocks and leetcode so that I can ace them. However, if I only prep for my 1 or 2 interviews, if I end up getting them, I won't have as much leverage as I would have by having 5+ offers like Rahul and others got. I know that that's the ideal. I know that there are unique circumstances for everyone in terms of how many interviews people can get from a bunch of applications based on where they are in their career and how well they've done. Still, I don't think I'm managing my time properly and I'm focusing too much on prep right now and don't have enough simultaneous interviews.

Part of it is that I'm focusing too much on getting referrals rather than just applying, while part of it is that job apps are often more than just uploading a resume and submitting. Often, they want you to answer some questions about why you think you're a good fit for the role and what made you interested in the company and other such questions. Even if they don't ask these questions, the mere process of applying to multiple roles on the same site can take a few minutes of filling out the same checkboxes and text fields for each position.

I feel like I should just sit down on a Sunday and pound through the ~80 Big Tech companies on my list, and then this will be a moot point. Prob the solution right there.

Lastly, I know this is a terrible time to apply to Big Tech, so I know that is a factor in getting interviews.

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10 months ago

Should I tell my interviewer I've seen a question? Also, should I study Glassdoor/Leetcode Premium questions for a company?

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Data Engineer at Financial Company

Have my first interview coming up with a big tech company and want to do some leetcode-prep to get my problem-solving muscles warm before the interview. I've gone on Glassdoor and seen some of the questions people have posted that they’ve gotten from the company in the past year. Should I practice these questions? The obvious answer would be “yes, you’d be crazy not to!”, but I can think of 3 reasons not to:

  1. if I am asked if I have seen the question before, many people advocate answering truthfully, in which case, I kind of negate the advantage of studying-company specific questions. There are actually 2 reasons people have for telling the interviewer you've seen a question. One, because they want to know. This is the principle-based reason. Two, because they can tell if you're pretending not to have seen it. This is the pragmatic reason for disclosing that you've seen the question.

  2. there’s an argument to be made against studying for any one-specific company and instead beefing up my DS&A skills in general – this would argue for studying questions that are the most common across all (big tech) interviews, not specific to the one I’m interviewing with.

  3. This company is very big, and Glassdoor combines questions from multiple teams and departments. The chance that I'll see a question from the team I'm interviewing with is small.


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10 months ago

Fighting Perfectionism as a Software Engineer (and getting important stuff done).

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Data Engineer at Financial Company

I’ve come to realize more and more that the greatest thing holding me back by far as a software engineer has been perfectionism. By perfectionism, I mean the mental attitude that says that what I have done isn’t good enough so I need to spend more time on it, or that I’m not ready to do something. This attitude is pretty much the opposite of Meta’s “Move fast and break things”.

Here are a few of the ways that this mindset has hobbled me throughout my career:

  • University (I studied Engineering): thinking I had to read the textbook and do all the assigned questions. My GPA suffered. In reality, my time would have been better spent doing past tests/exams and forming better friendships and study groups with other students to learn what was most valuable to know. I’m speaking from both a GPA-maximizing viewpoint, but also from a long-term viewpoint in the case of better relationships with classmates.
  • Immediate Post-University: Thinking that my coding skills weren’t good enough and that I needed to do a 6-month bootcamp which I did. Hindsight is 20/20, but getting my first job and working from there would probably have been better.
  • First job: Struggling with moving fast. I was at a tiny (<10 people) start-up and they wanted speed. I struggled with the pace they wanted because of things like writing formulaic unit tests that didn’t add much value and needing to constantly walk through my code with a debugger. I do believe that this particular company had unrealistic, unhealthy expectations for a newbie, but I also believe I could have moved faster.
  • General learning: Prioritizing online courses over side projects.
  • Job Hunting: Aiming to get done 150 interview questions before applying, rather than applying and doing mock interviews from the get-go.

I believe perfectionism is particularly harmful in tech compared to other industries since things change so fast.

Maybe this is better answered by a life coach or therapist, but what are some things I can do to limit the pernicious effects of this mindset?

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10 months ago

Should I quit to prep for interviews?

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

I’m currently working as a Data Engineer for a mid-sized (1500 people) investment-services corporation. The company has been around for a long time and makes money, but it definitely isn’t a tech-first company (e.g. it refers to the software side as “I.T.”, has tons of meetings, approvals needed to install almost anything on my computer, including VSCode).

I want to get into FAANG as a software engineer because I want to move away from the business/data side of things and closer to the engineer side of things. On my current team, I’m the lone data-engineer (will be joined by another in a few months) and as someone with <3 years of experience, I know that my growth is being stunted.

I’m currently grinding AlgoExpert to prep for interviews.

How should I think about the circumstances under which it would be worthwhile to quit in order to prep (full time) for FAANG interviews? Here’s what I can come up with in terms of current pros/cons of quitting:

Pro’s of quitting:

  • A LOT more time to prep for interviews, can probably increase my output of questions by 3x
  • Can do a lot more interviews without worrying about my job and scheduling
  • Do less business/data stuff which I plan on moving away from anyways
  • Get closer to a FAANG salary faster, which will likely be around 2x of my current salary


  • Don’t know how long it will take me to get a job
  • Don’t know how easy it will be for me to get interviews without a job
  • Psychological benefits of having a job
  • Some learning on the job
  • Low-stress job, nice manager, no overtime
  • Already take an hour or two of my current job time to do AlgoExpert
  • Make some money right now

How does the answer change (if at all) if I manage to land interviews with a bunch of different FAANG companies (say 5+) and I’m struggling to schedule all the time for interviews, prep for them, and do minimal work at my current job?

Thoughts are appreciated!

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6 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?
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a year ago