Leetcode hard and FAANG OR focus learning real skills

Chase / Eng zOkL32
Feb 22 47 Comments

Mid career professional contemplating the future here. Happy with life, relationships are great, hobbies are fun, career is on the right track (mostly, will get to that later), sex life is good, no kids, no mortgage etc. No visa issues, I am a citizen.

Only thing I am not happy with is TC.

Currently contemplating 2 paths:

Path 1 - Leetcode hard and FAANG. This is the most "logical" and "practical" path. Except I really don't care for FAANG. The only reason I would consider it is because of TC. I couldn't give any fucks about brand name prestige or the people (I find most FAANG people insufferable).

Path 2 - Learn real skills that I actually I find interesting. I am into AWS/cloud and front end tech (my core competency is front end though I have exp full stack). I have a couple of entrepreneurial ideas that I want to make come to fruition. If I learn stuff like Serverless, I could stand up the entire stack myself. Best case scenario, I have a start up on my hands. Worst case, I learn in demand skills that I could use to leverage for higher TC (and I am ok with making less than FAANG TC).

Possible Path 3 - do both. Highly unlikely, bc I like having a social life and when I do a thing, I do it 100%.

I am leaning to Path 2, though blind would probably lean Path 1. I doubt there is anyone or anything on blind that could change my mind. So I guess try to convince me otherwise?

TC - 125K
YOE - 2.5

12 VOTES SELECT ONLY ONE ANSWER
VOTE VIEW RESULT

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TOP 47 Comments
  • Facebook / Eng
    fb2017

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Google, Oracle
    BIO
    worked at Oracle, then Google, now Facebook.
    fb2017more
    Path 1, as it is practical and executable. Path 2 won't lead you anywhere.
    Feb 22 2
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      You'll need to elaborate, my guy.

      I think path 2 is perfectly executable and practical, just not the norm which would give the impression that it is not as practical or executable.

      Path 2 would lead me to learning an in demand skill/tech. Don't agree that it would lead to no where. A lot of companies and start ups are hungry for AWS/cloud/devops people.
      Feb 22
    • Facebook / Eng
      fb2017

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google, Oracle
      BIO
      worked at Oracle, then Google, now Facebook.
      fb2017more
      "in demand skill" is not as valuable as you thought, especially in top tier companies eyes. They value more on problem solving, and real tech skills instead of some domain knowledge.

      Also, these skills obsolete fast.

      While the skills for example algorithms never obsolete.

      That's why more and more companies take leetcode approach.
      Feb 22
  • Walmart.com jishnu
    The tech stuff you learn today is obsolete next year and again you would have to learn something else for your interview 4 years down the lane. And don't even consider aws as a skill unless you are working in devops. If you are interviewing with multiple companies, each one would have its own tech requirements and would focus on that during interview. The big tech companies have standardized the process by going the leetcode way. You don't need to learn specific tech used by your prospective employer/team. Leet leet leet
    Feb 22 2
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      All great points, my friend. Totally agree with what you’re trying to say.

      A couple of thoughts:
      - if the entrepreneurial route doesn’t work out and I focus on leveraging those AWS skills for a job, there are a lot of companies that are looking for that skill.
      - I predict all web focused tech workers will need to be familiarized with the cloud/devops workflow. AWS is a way to do that and is the most popular tool.
      - I agree that there always going to be a hot new tech stack that comes along, but I am ok with learning new things. Bedsides, don’t you have to refresh leetcode skills every time you look for a new job anyway? The golden rule of the tech industry - always be learning.

      Again, I do appreciate the thoughtful feedback.
      Feb 22
    • Walmart.com jishnu
      Yes you need good knowledge of some cloud to survive in this space and that's bare minimum. Not sure if that alone would get you a job. In my experience, I felt that I have developed decent programming skills thru interview prep sites and books. I didn't learn any fancy stuff but I felt I learnt what's needed to adapt to changing tech landscape. Ds & algs put you on that path to tackling difficult problems and thinking logically. It's not totally useless after getting a job. Just my opinion here.
      Feb 22
  • Apple industry
    I think you are way more likely to maintain the chill life you currently have and move to a higher TC by following path 1. As others have pointed out, path 2 doesn’t have a clear direction, the goals are vague and stuff you are passionate about now can become obsolete tomorrow. That can translate to a messed up wlb.

    Path 1 can be painful too if you land in a bad team but at least you are making higher TC and you will get a big CV boost by having fang on resume which can help in moving to other companies or attracting funding if you wanna start your own thing.

    In summary, I would suggest leeting hard to get into fang or some equivalent company.
    Feb 22 1
    • Chase / Eng readDocs
      Good point about tech being obsolete. That gave me something to contemplate...
      Mar 12
  • Adobe noMoreLC
    For someone with 2.5 YOE, learning path 2 will only give you a shallow understanding I think. Plus, most companies (especially with only 2.5 yoe) won’t bother asking you that stuff. So if higher TC is your goal, why not do what you know will net you a bigger TC - study for interviews and land a job at a well paying company?
    Feb 22 4
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Shallow understanding of what exactly? What should I have a deep understanding of? Algos and DS material? I pretty decent at leetcode at the moment.

      Are you saying that learning practical tech won't help with interviews and TC? If yes, could you elaborate?
      Feb 22
    • Adobe noMoreLC
      What I’m saying is - a deep understanding of the tech you mentioned takes a ton of time. And to reach the scale/complexity of what companies are looking for is difficult for an individual working on a side/personal project. Now it’s not impossible, I’m just saying I don’t think this route will net you the most TC.

      If TC is what you’re targeting, study LC, get a job at a top company, then you’ll learn all those skills you mentioned in a large-scale environment while working.

      However, it sounds like you’d personally prefer path2, which is perfectly fine. Regardless, once you have some more knowledge on the stuff you mentioned, you’re going to have to do some Leetcode eventually if you want to reach those crazy TC’s.

      Do whatever maximizes your happiness.
      Feb 22
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Thanks. That’s what I am going for - maximizing for happiness, not TC.

      Your screen name is ironic in the context of this topic (assuming you mean noMore-LeetCode).
      Feb 22
    • Adobe noMoreLC
      Lol yeah because I’ve been studying for the past month or two, and I’m tired of it
      Feb 22
  • Expedia ○~<
    Only you would know the correct answer.
    Simple, always do the thing that's you are passionate on and makes u feel good.
    Feb 22 2
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Agree 100%. I already know what I want to do, just curious what blind thinks.
      Feb 22
    • Intel bob_noyce
      Agree with this. You can make money anywhere if you're good. I'm not in FAANG as you can see, but I make comparable TC. I've learned plenty based on the role I'm in and customer set I interact with. And I barely work 40hrs and can do what I want outside work. Do what you're passionate about and what your heart tells you, within reason. Path 2 sounds pretty normal, one must remember that outside Blind, FAANG is a small minority of people and tech employees. Yes its the top of the heap within this micro world, but in macro life who cares. Go do what you want to do.
      Feb 22
  • Wipro VendettaV
    Everyone is trying to get into FAANG, they all are hungry for 💰. But there are only few, that have a good appetite for knowledge.
    Complete your meal, and once you are satisfied and full filled, new meal awaits you . . . . . .
    Working for money will haunt you
    Feb 22 1
    • Walmart.com jishnu
      Yeah I tasted the meal at wipro. Wasn't fulfilling 😛
      Feb 22
  • Microsoft Darth G
    Real skills knowledge and experience have nothing to do with your ability to get in to Faang or make high tc. Sad but true. Path 1 > path 2.

    If you want to be an entrepreneur, there’s no better professional experience you can have. Just make sure to do it seriously.
    Feb 22 3
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Agreed, but I would prefer not perpetuate that system if I can avoid it.

      I want a higher TC, I am willing to trade lower TC for less stress and free time.

      Although I don’t think any professional experience could prepare you to be an entrepreneur.
      Feb 22
    • Microsoft Darth G
      I’m saying that being an entrepreneur IS the best professional experience you can have / get.
      Feb 22
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Oh. I read that wrong.
      Feb 22
  • eBay cartoon
    Path 1 first for the following reasons
    1. Let’s you build a network which is useful for path 2
    2. Solves your TC problem in the near term and helps with financial security
    3. Gets you street credentials with VCs when you try path 2.
    4. Let’s you have kids and take on the role of a parent. Growing a young family while on path 2 can be very stressful.
    5. Hedges against failures on path 2

    Keep the path 2 desire on slow burner and remember to take path 2 before the fire burns out.
    Feb 22 2
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Good points. Agree that path 1 is the less risky route.

      Not sure if I can successfully counter balance my interest and appetite for path 2 though...really want to do it now.
      Feb 22
    • eBay cartoon
      Good luck!
      Feb 22
  • Autodesk sodjdjekrm
    If you have no issues like immigration to work on your own startup, i’d say go for path2

    Its about time these so called smart people abandoned FAANG, these companies are a disgrace to humanity
    Feb 22 0
  • Amazon / Eng somezero
    I have been following path 2 and working at startups. Then I switched to path 1 and my tc was doubled in 6 month.
    Feb 22 3
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Putting tc aside, any downsides to your quality of life? Enjoy Amazon?
      Feb 22
    • Amazon / Eng somezero
      Actually wlb is fine but work is super boring. I might go back to path 1 but its hard to find a decent early stage startup.
      Feb 22
    • Amazon / Eng somezero
      But just remember. Early stage startup might not be a path for happiness
      Feb 22
  • New / Mgmt VSwf01
    Do both. Leetcode is real skills.
    Feb 22 2
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      I would say that's debatable, but let's agree to disagree.
      Feb 22
    • Agree, I know plenty of engineers that can solve leetcode stuff but when there is a technical issue or bug, could not finger with help
      Feb 22
  • Facebook / Eng
    fb2017

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Google, Oracle
    BIO
    worked at Oracle, then Google, now Facebook.
    fb2017more
    Tc is 80% of life quality. Other things are the rest 20%.
    Feb 22 1
    • Autodesk sodjdjekrm
      That is for people like you who lack moral conscience
      Feb 22
  • Apple OFOM41
    I’d say the best you can do is try to get into FANG and then during team match or after joining the company, try to move to a team that work on the areas you are interested in. You’ll get a much deeper understanding from working on an actual system in production than you can get from reading and personal projects.
    Feb 22 1
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Fair point. I did think about that, but there is no guarantee that I would be placed working with the tech I want to work with, which is the norm - you're placed where you're placed and the most in demand tech stacks are also the most competitive.

      I'll give this path a little more thought though.
      Feb 22
  • Apple OFOM41
    How old are you? You say you are mid career but only have 2.5 YOE?
    Feb 22 1
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Old enough. I switched careers. Mid career in life, but early career in tech industry.
      Feb 22
  • Airbnb Nxptngzfw
    Leetcode hard or bust
    Feb 22 0
  • GE SpEd6
    Reading the original post and the replies I can safely assume that:

    OP has strong opinion
    OP wants others to prove him wrong
    OP believes he’s correct

    Sorry but you’ll be never hired for a senior position with that attitude. In any company, let alone FAANG.
    Mar 8 1
    • Chase / Eng readDocs
      Strong opinions? Wants others to prove me wrong? Believes in being correct, even in the face of legitimate counter arguments?

      That sounds like every senior engineer I’ve known...
      Mar 12
  • Snapchat gqkO66
    Por que no los dos dot jpeg
    Feb 22 1
    • Chase / Eng zOkL32
      OP
      Que?
      Feb 22
  • Chase / Eng readDocs
    Not sure if anyone cares to read this but this thread made me reflect on what direction I want to take.

    For now, switching to path 1, although not leeting too hard. Just like whenever I feel like it.

    Might get an AWS cert just for fun. Those are pretty easy, right?

    See where things go. Thanks for the input, blind.
    Mar 12 0
  • eBay / Eng AMVm27
    Definitely go with path one, you are early at your career.
    Feb 22 0
  • Walmart.com / Eng äččä
    If you start walking on path1, you will automatically be on path2. Reverse may or may not be true. This assumes you are in a decent team at FANG.
    Feb 22 0

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