As an SWE do you worry about job security?

Microsoft sushue
Mar 2 14 Comments

While humorous, I feel that there is some truth to the saying "You don't want to be competing with college grads for promotions once you have other responsibilities". This is just one of several examples of things that threaten SWE job security. Others include: you've peaked at your level and the company feels it's better to promote someone new and pay them a lower salary then keep giving you raises so they lay you off (could be just a Microsoft thing), your new manager doesn't like you, or your org/startup shuts down. I am fairly new to the field and might just be a little too paranoid. I feel that no matter how good you are and where you work, you can't escape these factors. Sure you can get promoted, but unless you reach director level you're still pretty vulnerable to being let go. Am I the only one that feels this way?

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TOP 14 Comments
  • Apple h2:iv1fl1
    All professions have some level of job insecurity. The amount of money you make as an SWE is likely the easiest salaried money to be had for such low levels of health risk, so there have to be some other risks, one of which is the ageist bias you mention. These risks are a least a part of the reason you make such easy money ($200k/year is beyond the hope of most humans).

    Being at director level increases that risk, if anything, not decreases it, because you are now competing for fewer positions, and youre probably expected to have control over things which might very well be outside of your request of influence.

    Director or not, I personally think you have to be clear about what you want to achieve, by when, and what you're willing to pay for it.

    Dan Kahneman's works are eye opening and worth a read as you strategize your life.
    Mar 2 2
    • Microsoft sushue
      OP
      I would love to read a book/guide on this. Any specific titles you liked?
      Mar 2
    • New / R&D
      notme00

      New R&D

      PRE
      Workday, Apple
      notme00more
      Yes, exactly this. I’ve personally found director level to be a bit of a trap, as there are fewer positions available, and some of the hassles aren’t necessarily offset by the perks.

      As I start to look for my Next Thing, I suspect I will gravitate back towards a senior IC role, but I’m definitely conscious of ageism.

      (Thanks for the tip: I have “Thinking, Fast and Slow” but hadn’t gotten to it yet.)
      Mar 5
  • Walmart.com fiVn5$!Br
    If you’re director level, you might be even more vulnerable because you’re making bank? And there’s fewer higher up positions and it takes a long time to find a new opportunity.
    Mar 2 0
  • I used to a little bit when I had a visa (that something such as 2000 would happen and force me to go back home in 10 days). But since I got permanent residency, I don't care at all. I'm pushing as much money as possible under my mattress, and will take a sabbatical whenever things go bad
    Mar 2 1
    • Microsoft sushue
      OP
      Oh ya being on a visa makes the job security threat even scarier. Saving for a rainy day is a valuable strategy. Lol. People think software engineers make a lot money. Ya we do but we don't get to always spend it to our hearts content. I think there are many who live frugally and save large amounts for retirement/job loss situations.
      Mar 2
  • Google / Eng davi5
    I feel like rampant ageism in tech means that I have to plan for the contingency that it'll be hard to hold down a top-tier job past the age of 40.

    Thankfully, the pay of tech jobs is good enough that a person who plans sufficiently well can be financially independent by the age of 40 and spend the rest of their life doing whatever job they find personally fulfilling, regardless of whether it's top-tier pay.

    (This might be less possible in the Bay Area, but this is why I've always avoided SFBA jobs.)
    Mar 13 1
    • Microsoft true-doh
      I share your views. It isn't possible in the Bay area. I think that's why there's an exodus of experienced software engineers from there. After they reach a certain age or even have other responsibilities (starting a family) it becomes difficult to put in the time needed.
      Mar 13
  • New
    EMVH32

    New

    PRE
    Amazon
    EMVH32more
    The average length of tenure for SWE is about 3 years. The average tenure of a coder at google is about the same. The average tenure at Amazon, for all positions, is a scant one year.

    Bad management is gutting this profession.

    You get no points (or pay raise) holding out for that much needed promotion. Jump ship before the ship jumps you.
    Mar 13 0
  • New mswN05
    Yup.. As they say ‘Make hay while the sun shines’
    Mar 2 0
  • New
    EMVH32

    New

    PRE
    Amazon
    EMVH32more
    As a SWE you can reasonably expect to have to switch jobs at least once every three years. Even companies like Microsoft will force you to find new teams. This type of “reorg” is what I like to call a “soft lay-off”.
    Mar 10 0
  • PayPal aoc 4evar
    This is why Bernie for president until AOC is old enough to be president. No more worry! We won’t have to work and the rich will pay for our healthcare and iphones and electric cars!
    Mar 3 0
  • General Motors Y1pYip
    What is this thing you call ‘job security’?
    Mar 3 0
  • Uber C H O N K
    “This too shall pass” -
    Mar 2 0

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