Layoffs are the temporary suspension or permanent termination of a group of employees for business reasons, such as personnel management or downsizing an organization.

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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11 days ago

Stuck as an Entry Level Engineer

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


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?


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3 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?

Anonymous User at Taro Community profile pic
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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4 months ago

Wary of current situation in terms of layoffs, need some advice wrt international relocation

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

I have been doing good at my current company, been here for 3+ years working initially as an Entry Level, then promoted after an year to a MidLevel Software Engineer. I have been receiving "Exceeds Expectations i.e. 4/5" rating since the beginning and "Superb i.e. 5/5" rating once.

I applied for international relocation to Singapore back in July. The manager and skip mentioned that while cost cutting is going on, they are making an exception for me and it should be processed completely by initial weeks of January 2023. In times of layoffs, and especially with my company's stocks not doing that good, I am afraid if it could lead to getting laid off. This is causing me a bit of anxiety.

Although it is being mentioned by leadership that no layoffs are happening, we are seeing projects getting cut off, rigorous re-orgs happening, and entire focus of the organisation is on cost saving, which I feel is great especially in current times.

I started the conversations for relocation when times were going good in terms of offers being posted in the market. The teams were thriving as well in terms of work. But by the time entire process got over, it seems the situations have changed. What should I do?

To add on, another thing I did sometime back was to share with my manager on how I am performing several roles of the next level and how it can be used to further the cause of promotion in the upcoming performance reviews. I tried to break down the career ladder doc into key umbrellas of behaviours needed, and assigned the initiatives I delivered under those. Now afraid if this was another way I shot myself in the foot by asking for more in times of cost-saving and probably being conservative. Please assist with your advice.

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5 months ago

With layoffs all around, it seems a bit overwhelming. What should one do?

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

This is somewhat of a rant as well, but please bear with me.

My current level is equivalent to that of an E4 at Meta. A Senior Level in my organisation is almost equivalent of E4 in Meta, while the next level is around E5. I have been trying to work towards a promotion since the last 2 years, working on RFCs, cross team projects, a lot of glue work, upskilling the team, writing a lot of documentation, reviewing outages and RFCs, mentoring junior engineers, delivering common libraries that can be used across the organisation, driving process improvements and writing tons of code. The last few projects were shipped without a single issue in production, despite being full blown revamps for services.

With layoffs happening in a lot of organisations (Twitter/Meta/Lyft/Stripe etc.), I am feeling a bit overwhelmed that it may happen to us as well, especially given the state of market. I am trying to keep my head low and improve myself. Brushing up the fundamentals right now. I am hoping that it would help me to improve in general as an engineer as well as in interviews, if need be.

My company required me to portray the next level behaviour for some time (close to 1-1.5 years) consistently to be considered for an up-levelling. Now with everything going around, Thinking that I may have to do the same for another 2 years in the next organisation hits me a bit. Overtime, there were some feedbacks I tried to fix - went through courses on communication and now it seems a bit unfair, even if out of control. I feel I could be overthinking but just feeling this way.

  1. How should one act in such weather?
  2. What is the best way to not feel overwhelmed and be sure to do what is best for one's career?
  3. Also, are there any advices for the above career context?
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5 months ago