London is Crappy For Tech & Getting Wrong Advice

Amazon gYLH88
Nov 10 11 Comments

5 YOE - all data/analytics/BI roles in EMEA. TC lower than 80k GBP every year since I started.

First tech company I worked in the EMEA HQ, worked hard to get promoted, then was told non-eng roles wont get sponsored VISAs and I need a Masters for a US VISA. Left the company due to FAANG offer also after 2 years.

Moved to FAANG and started a part time Masters at a UK target in Software Engineering. Worked hard to upskill and move to a Data Engineering team only to see from the internal job board (and through networking) that for L5 roles SDEs will be sponsored with less than a handful of BIE/DE roles being sponsored. I see plenty of PHD Data Science roles being sponsored but I have no plans/desire for a PHD.

My current Data Engineering team is also more like DevOps actually and I’m likely to be PIPd in the next cycle. I tried constantly to learn Python on the side and pick up Python projects to improve but I’m not still fluent making recruiting hard now for external DE etc roles (my team is SQL only).

I feel super screwed and down about my career choices and how things panned out and dont feel ‘prepared’ for any path despite having this many years experience. I genuinly like working in tech, but working generally silo from a remote office kinda sucks, and roles/opportunties in the space I have skills in and a job that is decently paid seem scarce (I find many more suitable roles in the US with much better pay but I am stuck here).

I am due to complete the Masters in May next year, am still at the FAANG, and don’t know what to do now. I went into mild depression earlier this year and want to avoid this therefore am trying to come up with a plan so I can execute.

Options I thought of:

1) I can restart my career as SWE by preparing leetcode etc from now. There are no guarentees though on getting an offer, although comp should at least be better. Not sure Ill get interviews for SDE roles though after 5 years experience?
2) I can sell my soul to finance (really not keen on this option) or consulting (not keen on this either).
3) Look at startups / other companies looking for my skillset (there are several) locally and forget the desire to move to the US through FAANG. There are several DE roles at non-FAANG companies I can go to locally but it kinda feels like my career then dipped given where I am now. :(
4) Look at something like Product/Program management at tech firms (non-FAANG) and then move to FAANG London after getting some experience in the area (there seem to be PM roles here relative to DE/analytics).

I welcome any help and advice as I am truly lost.

[rant: i applied for a nice role, the hiring manager said i had the stronger CV for the role, but the roles are all being filled in NYC only now woth US citizens so i lost out. this has happened miltiple times before.]

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 11 Comments
  • Bloomberg yenoM U.F.
    0) Focus on not getting PIPed first instead of mourning your TC or career growth. Your Amazon experience is valuable. If you’re an MS student in CS/SWE you should know how to code not be “trying” to learn Python. Are you kidding me?

    The way I see it your only choice is to do your best in your current position, learn how to code and graduate with a decent GPA. Then review your options again, which should definitely be option 1).

    P.S. You will be much more fireable at startups or small no name companies.

    P.P.S. Don’t apply for roles in NYC. There is hardly any headcount here since everybody wants to live in NYC. Shoot for the Bay Area or Seattle.
    Nov 10 1
    • Amazon gYLH88
      OP
      I can code in Python, I am learning OOP now though, as most of my ‘coding’ has been python scripting so far which isn’t ‘SDE’ level.

      The plan was to remain at Amazon as a DE/BIE, leetcode daily, move internally to an SDE role and go from there, but this all depends on whether HR let me move team (my manager is under investigation).

      The Masters is UK and part time so I need a job to be financially okay while I finish it. But given the UK Masters won’t help move me to the US I wonder if I should start the Georgia Tech one (Sept 2020 entry) and leave this one. Still need a job in between though to bridge the gap but this also means I have 6-7 years experience before I move to a junior SDE role. This is looking bad I think? The issue is that even for a DE career path moving to the US is proving difficult - there are tonnes of interesting roles but I just can’t get there.

      Yeah I was thinking the Bay Area not NYC.
      Nov 11
  • Google slickdealr
    Desi bhai. Thand rakh
    Nov 10 0
  • Paycor / IT
    WoRy007

    Paycor IT

    PRE
    Wayfair
    WoRy007more
    Option 3 buddy. Focus on investing in yourself. You're still too young to be focusing on money alone. This investment or path you take will impact your future for a very long time.
    Also if you're early in your Master program, quit that and apply for a Master program in USA.
    Nov 10 3
    • Amazon gYLH88
      OP
      I’m nearing 30 :( I feel like I haven’t achieved anything still..

      Option 3 is if I want to stay as DE. If I want to move to SDE then I can prepare leetcode and get on with that, it just means the career starts from scratch, not the prep (as there is overlap). You still recommend sticking to the DE path?

      Moving to the US wasn’t for money. The DE work and opportunities / roles there are more interesting. Coming back to London is likely the plan but for a few years it would be nice to work there. Just as a single guy though, once I’m married that plan fails :/

      The Masters is almost over. When I asked for advice (outside of Blind) 3 years ago I was told any Masters in STEM will do. If I had known US Masters was needed I would have done the Georgia Tech one. But also tbh I can’t afford a full blown US masters in person hence went with what I could also afford as I’m paying for it myself through my salary.
      Nov 10
    • Paycor / IT
      WoRy007

      Paycor IT

      PRE
      Wayfair
      WoRy007more
      You're very young and responsible. That's more reliable than being in a hot technology. It's awesome you have so much passion to learn. I don't know how good is Amazon at transferring you to the US. If that's possible and looks very likely, that option is also good. Because once you get here you can always leetcode and get to where you want to be. Don't settle. But don't be too hard on yourself. 👍
      Whether you should continue the path of DE is really on you. Try to explore other teams and see how you like their tech. It's all about making yourself Happy in the end. You'll have to find what you love to do.
      Nov 10
    • Amazon gYLH88
      OP
      I enjoy DE but actually my skip recommended I move to SDE longer term. I agree that longer term an SDE role gives me more room for growth (as DE is basically a specialised SDE skill set). For example I have seen many roles for SDE, Data or SDE, Machine Learning where the projects are out of scope for my current role but I would love to work on. Hence I would like to move to an SDE role.

      At Amazon, I see a lot of L5 SDE openings for internal international transfers but barely any for DE or BIE roles. Hence I’m a bit stuck.
      Nov 11
  • IBM Trunk
    How do you know you're going on PIP?
    Nov 10 1
    • Amazon gYLH88
      OP
      I may not as I’m in discussion with HR to move team due to manager issues. Depends if this goes my way or not. If not, I am sure I will be PIPd.
      Nov 11
  • Credit Karma 🐨Koala
    You are gonna be PIPed which means you are already in dev list. So Amazon transferring you to US is out of picture.
    Are you L4 or L5? If you are L5 and 1 year in, you can transfer to US
    Nov 10 1
    • Amazon gYLH88
      OP
      Yes, I’m more trying to make a longer term plan. I’m L5 and more than 1 year in. To transfer you need a role that sponsors the international transfer and there are very few (if any) in the area I am.
      Nov 11

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees