Almost every software engineer starts their full-time career journey here. The content here breaks down how you can start your career off with a splash and grow past this level as quickly as possible.
I was going to ask what is the best way to approach recruiters from each company and what type of questions would you ask? Also what type of conversations would you try to have with the recruiter as well? Overall I was really looking to know how to get the most value out of a career fair as I can.
I know the general advice if one does not know is to ask their manager but sometimes an inexperienced manager might not know themself. Can anyone provide an example to make these concepts clear?
A few criteria I came up with that can be included in the framework involve
For reference, when I talk about mid-level vs. senior-level I am referring to the leveling system across big tech (L4/L5 for Amazon, E4/E5 for Meta, etc.). Thanks!
Hey folks have started out on my first full-time job as an Early Career SWE at a Big Tech Company. Wanted to ask what is the ideal line of progress in terms of as months pass by.
For example in 3 months at least I should be capable of doing XYZ things.. in 6 months XYZ things... and within a year's time XYZ things independently.
I ask this question mainly since it's going to be close to 5 months of joining and I do require handholding with other peers on the team my aim is to operate as independently as possible. One of the feedbacks in the first quarterly check-in was to go in full depth for the debugging and independently create test plans for the work assigned before asking questions.
As for the creation of test plans yes since the codebase is too large I do tend to ask other team members if there is an existing functionality that can be leveraged or in case I get stuck as to what to do ahead or when I don't understand something.
The good feedback was the questions I asked were formed and detailed.
From the feedback, I am kind of at a crossroads in understanding whether I should ask questions or not ask questions and also crippled with self-doubt
Another pointer was how to be assertive in the sense I tend to be scared to share my ideology or idea about how we can potentially do something. Communicating with peers also seems intimidating especially Senior or Lead members or Manager too.
Is there a more proper way to communicate/send messages? The primary mode of communication is Slack and at times threads get bulky.
Any tips to understand the feedback properly and improve on the above pointers or in general are highly appreciated. I hope to get better at being a good SWE.
My question is: since I work for a big tech company, does the company pay the tax for my vested shares, or do I?
Do you guys have any resources that could help with this? I am worry about the the tax liability aspect. As well should I talk to a CPA to be safe in my decision.
Hi Taro Community,
I am a new hire for my company and I will have an amazing opportunity to chat with a tech lead.
I wonder from a more senior engineer perspective, what some important information or questions are essential to ask or tackle during the opportunity coffee chat?
Thanks a lot for the help :)
I just started my software engineer journey and have a typical 9 - 6 working schedule. I feel like the time is getting so limited after I get back home. My goal is to keep some personal time for learning and personal projects every day but still achieve a good balance.
Genuinely look for time management or scheduling advice for newbies in the industry. Thanks a lot!
I'm a junior engineer, and I have a second-round software developer interview coming up where the format is as follows: Group technical interview with three product managers (director, senior, senior) and one software engineer.
I can't find any more information about this interview online (Reddit, Glassdoor), and the HR coordinator/recruiter has not answered my follow-up question in terms of live-coding.
The first round was a behavioral recorded video interview with nine questions, and I feel like I did not over/undersell experience.
Any tips for how to prepare for this interview or redirects to existing Taro questions with this information would be appreciated. I would be glad to provide more information as well; I am trying to manage my nerves.
I made it through 3 technical rounds at TikTok (2 Coding, 1 System Design) and had my HR round recently. The HR round was a negotiation round. I don't know if I handled it well. I am hoping that Taro can give me some insights or advice. For leveling, I have a little under 2 YOE at Amazon but I got laid off in April.
Here is a summary of the HR meeting:
Question: What level are you expecting?
Answer: I am expecting mid-level because I have good experience at Amazon and I did well in the interviews. HR made some comments about why I am not a good fit for mid-level said but said that the leveling will be set after this meeting.
Question: What other interviews do you have?
Answer: I have 2 early stage interviews lined up next week at Big Tech. I declined to reveal the companies. I said that I would cancel the other interviews if I got a strong offer from TikTok. I mentioned one of the reasons that I want to work at TikTok was the scale. HR said that if the other companies are Big Tech they would have similar scale. I didn't know what to say to that. I have other reasons for wanting to join TikTok but I didn't mention them in the meeting.
Question: What compensation are you expecting?
Answer: I dodged the question and said "I will consider any strong offer from TikTok." The compensation discussion went on for a good 10 minutes and I kept dodging the question. HR got upset after a while because I didn't give any numbers. I said that maybe we can have the compensation discussion after the level is set and then we stopped talking about it.
Question: Asked about RTO, Visa status and when I can start.
HR said they will get back to me early next week.
Given the market conditions, I bet they have several other candidates lined up for this role. Maybe some of them made it to the HR round and they negotiated less than me (level, low-numbers) so maybe they will take them instead.
@Alex Earlier you mentioned:
Big Tech open-source is obviously ideal (many engineers got hired at :meta: contributed to their OSS), but it's extremely hard to ramp up on the library and get a major PR landed. And it's not like 1 PR will do it - You'll probably need 5 to 10 to get the attention of hiring managers. However, like with most things, it will get much easier over time (the first one's the hardest).
And here: , you said:
These companies all have a large OSS footprint, and I know several people who got hired into these companies by submitting major PRs into them.
What are the parameters for determining whether something is a major PR in Big Tech Open Source according to you? Am currently working on Microsoft Windows Terminal.
Would you consider the below major PR candidates that would get the attention of hiring managers?
Btw they're both from this list as heroic tasks (7158 on completed tab since I've already completed that one):
To my understanding Major PR means lots of people want it and 7158 has around 100 upvotes so that's Major PR. But there are also some PR's where people make commits with 500 - 1000 lines of code
I'm currently building a side project. I completed my idea of a MVP for the project and I'm looking to market it at some point to get some real users.
I have some ideas on posting on reddit and linkedin, but I'm a little nervous as I've never posted on linkedin before.
My project is a web app.
Hi, I was wondering how you deal with constantly changing stock prices from the company you work at. I saw a video from @Rahul where he talked about the mistake to check stock prices at the beginning of each day or something. Not sure anymore where he said it. @Rahul @Alex I was wondering how you dealt with your stocks constantly changing in value.
I've been experimenting with Big Tech stocks and find myself constantly looking at them. I wonder how people in Big Tech deal with that with the stocks they receive from the company. Do they sell when they think it's going bad and turn it into cash, or just keep them for the long run? How often do they check their stocks? How to they deal with the constantly fluctuating prices?
I've been abit lost in my job recently and feel disappointed by own performance. I'm part of an infrastructure team, and while the primary force pushing me forward is my personal engineering growth, I can't shake the feeling that the domain itself doesn't resonate with me. That said, being an average l4 I'm not in a position to switch teams.
What's keeping me going is the goal of self-improvement, which is helped from being surrounded by my incredibly talented colleagues, each bringing their unique strengths to the table. For instance, our senior engineer is an incredible communicator, teacher of concepts and general problem solver, another engineer is a coding machine and works extremely hard, and an L4 who joined at the same time as me is very customer-centric. In particular, it was through observing the L4 leveraging his strengths, while almost neglecting his weaknesses (he doesn't care as much about code quality and is quite argumentative) that I felt uncomfortable with my own trajectory. I've been so busy with trying to improve all my weaknesses that I'm now reflecting on whether I should focus on my strengths.
All of that said, I've been here for a year, and I'm struggling to pinpoint where my strengths lie. I'm willing to put more hours than others but for obvious reasons that should in no way be considered a strength (my manager described me as a hardworker, which i don't want to be known as haha). I'm also a very enthusiastic person and very open to feedback, but it leads me to being pulled in different directions. I don't think I can be an engineer that does it all and I think Amazon wants you to focus on your strengths through their conflicting leadership principles (e.g. bias for action versus insist on the highest standards, deep dive versus thinks big). I've been reading this book called Atomic Habits recently and it really focuses on the idea of identity and how that shapes your habits. It seems like everyone in my team has built an identity based on what they're good at, how can I find mine? And are there certain skills that provide higher ROI over others that I can perhaps focus on, given that I don't really have any strengths right now?
In July, I received a mid-year evaluation indicating room for improvement, with a rating of 2 out of 5 on the scale. My goal is to achieve an outstanding rating by this time next year. Here are the areas my manager provided feedback on for improvement:
He is a college hire, so he is a very junior developer. He is an enthusiastic member of the team and seems eager to make contributions. He has struggled to learn the fundamental skills required for the job (programming, database, web development). He will need to improve upon these skills in order to make contributions to the team with little assistance from his peers.
I have a new grad offer from Amazon, which was forcefully deferred earlier this year.
I currently work as an SRE (which I don't want long-term), and my offer is for an SDE role in the same team I interned at when I was there pre-layoffs. Plus despite me working for >6 months elsewhere, they're not increasing my comp in any way.
I'm attracted to the Amazon job since it's a SWE role and that's something I want career-wise, but given that the company and current economic situation have been kind of unstable, I'm hesitant to join. Does anyone have any advice for me on how to navigate this? I'm on a student Visa so I guess that's why the threat of layoffs is a bit higher in my eyes.
My technical lead is excellent but not the best communicator, and by that I mean I don't understand what they are saying 50% of the time. I intend this in the most respectful way when I say that I don't understand the punctuation behind their comments and chats. I ask them about X and before I've even finished they shoot out with a response on Y. I don't think they have ever been able to explain anything clearly to me. It's getting to the point where my manager sees me as incompetent (I think) even though it's clearly a lack on their part.
I'm an L3 and they are a critical L5 so the team will never stand up for me but given this economy, I'm starting to get a bit concerned about my career. The difference between their language and others on adjacent teams is like night and day and I'm not sure how to bring this up with my manager without sounding prejudiced.
What should I do to help myself and navigate this situation?
Just another laid-off SWE here. I have an interview coming up at a popular tech company.
How can I explain getting laid off in the interview? I am concerned that there is a stigma in tech that layoffs target low performers, especially since only part of my team got laid off. They never told us the layoff criteria, but I think I got targeted because I was more junior. I don't want to reveal my level for the company I'm applying to.
As I read through some of the technical design docs / OKRs on the team, I've noticed some fellow engineers put out some really thoughtful comments (especially the more senior folks), however coming up with such feedback observations is not always super intuitive. As a new-hire junior, I'm looking to build up this skill of conducting an effective design / OKR review.
What do you usually look for / pinpoint when reviewing a design doc or OKR for a new project? How can I still provide good feedback despite not having the same level of exposure / experience?
Hi I was wondering whether you know where I could find just entrepreneurial people that try to solve a problem with AI and maybe make a business out of it? I would be interested in working on a project from some entrepreneurial person that tries to solve a problem with AI. I would like to do my own project, since now is the time to build stuff with AI maybe using ChatGPT API. However, I am very extroverted so I can't do my own project - I don't have the motivation, so it's hard to build that way.
Or are these folks mostly in Silicon Valley?
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.
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 :)
I viewed the presented by Alex and Rahul, and in the video, Alex's resume was featured. It consisted of three sections: work experience, projects, and education.
For a recent graduate without any work experience, is it acceptable to have just the projects and education sections in their resume? Or does it seem too limited, potentially having a downside when applying for jobs?
I have been seeking to develop habits / follow a system to increase code quality, both in terms of readability and number of functional issues. I have come up with a few ideas I have listed below but I am curious what other people have been trying out! Have any of the below worked for you? What specific steps do you take to ensure code quality?
How can I effectively prioritize my learning as a software engineer in the early stages of my career? I often find myself shifting focus between different technologies and resources online, making it challenging to stay on track and not get overwhelmed. For instance, one day I may work on an Android project, but the next day, I get engrossed in reading a different blog, causing my focus to shift again. Any tips to maintain focus and manage the abundance of online resources to become a proficient software engineer?
Hi Taro. When choosing a team, we also have to choose their specialization and tools. If the specialization is niche and the team uses exclusively internal tools I won't gain any transferable skills. I got laid off from AWS and I am realizing that I have little transferable skills. I used mostly internal tools. Believe it or not, many AWS teams do not use AWS extensively.
How can I choose a team or focus area for transferable skills? I was considering pivoting into Android and IOS development because I see many job openings for these.