Need to escape the black hole of a Government job

US Navy / Eng fps_doug
Oct 17 17 Comments

TLDR: TC: 99k YOE 7, hate being underpaid and need advice getting into the private industry.

I work for the government. I moved up the ranks and gained a lot of respect in my organization but I realized too late that I should have gotten out a long time ago. I've always been a high performer at work but I never had a career mentor that had my best interests in mind (the team that hired me want me to stay for a long time in one position to make a lasting contribution which I naively followed) and I don't come from a family of successful people so no guidance there.

I know now that I need to get out of the government to salvage my career. I love software development and I want to realize my full potential. I'm sure everyone says it but I really believe I'm a talented dev. I actually do things on my own just for fun and to learn. I wrote my own infrastructure for an MMORPG (yes typical beginner mistake), GPU MD5 Renderer, explored other languages like Scheme, Clojure and now Rust, practiced crossplatform development with Windows/OS X/Linux, made a few contributions on Github, studied Doom source code just because John Carmack is my idol, etc. I don't just sit on my ass and do nothing. I'm overtasked at work and am constantly frustrated trying to do everything that's asked of me (impossible) in addition to helping everyone else on my team do their own job because they're incompetent (they usually mutilate their git repo and I have to fix it for them and explain to them what they did wrong). Most of my coworkers don't learn anything new and I'm the only one keeping up with technology like Rust, AWS etc. I'm the only one interested in reading/doing anything involving software development/education outside of work.

I applied for Google last year on their website and got a response 3 days later to set up a phone call. Long story short I didn't do too well onsite (SETI) and was rejected but encouraged to try again in a year's time (feedback: excellent coding skills [C++] but they want to see more strength with algorithms). Since then I've been waking up at 4:30 most days to read The Algorithm Design Manual before going to work. Haven't done much leetcoding or CTCI but I'll start ramping that up soon (my 1 year reinterview will be in April). I applied to other companies (Oculus/Facebook/Apple/Amazon/NVIDIA) via their job sites but got canned rejections or no response. I don't have referrals from any of the big companies, most of my colleagues either don't have LinkedIn or are at dead ends in their career.

So other than a miracle Google interview I've had no one even interested in a phone call, except for Pariveda Solutions. I had a technical phone interview and their feedback was I had excellent depth in my skillset, but they wanted to see more breadth in skills/technologies. I'm just hoping when I contact the Google recruiter as April approaches, she will actually follow through with a 1 year retry.

Sorry for the long rant, I guess I just wanted to put my story out there and see if anyone had any advice since guidance is something I never really had. I'm not saying I'm the greatest software dev ever, but I feel like I could work alongside a group of smart people and actually belong there. Working here is a black hole but I believe I'm still outside the event horizon. Thanks for reading. 😎

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 17 Comments
  • Microsoft
    Tier 1

    Microsoft

    BIO
    #1 in Prestige
    Tier 1more
    The feds are on Blind!!!!!! Nooooooo!
    Oct 17 1
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      We're everywhere. Except at the top of the compensation ladder. 😢
      Oct 17
  • New QTdN03
    Dude, all you need to do is LeetCode and send a very minimal, 1 page resume. That’s it.
    Oct 17 3
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      I have a to-the-point 1 page resume that I based off a Googler's publicly available template on Github. But I'm having trouble getting responses with it.
      Oct 17
    • New QTdN03
      How many years of experience are on it? Ageism is real, and I wouldn’t put more than 10 years on a resume.
      Oct 18
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      I put all 7 years on it. The first few years I could definitely wipe off for sure (very basic junior level stuff). I will give this a try, thanks for the tip.
      Oct 18
  • Amazon rack_jyan
    SPAWAR?
    Oct 17 1
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      Can't get too specific in case I cross the event horizon.
      Oct 18
  • New CiOI38
    Whoa - too long summarize in top of paragraph . Few are going to read all that
    Oct 17 1
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      Sorry about that, I added a TLDR at the top.
      Oct 17
  • Latch ayyyyyy
    I'm surprised Amazon didn't get back to you since you probably have jumped through the hoops of getting security clearances. You could try finding someone on blind who works on the government cloud to give you a referral.
    Oct 18 1
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      Maybe I screwed up by not putting that I have an active clearance on my resume. I will try that. I did work with some GovCloud people for a data lab so I will definitely try that route.
      Oct 19
  • Apple dr amazing
    Don’t give up. Improve your algo skills, maybe communication skills as well, and cleanup resume. If I were you I wouldn’t be too picky in terms of the big tech names. There are tons of other companies out there that need you and can give you what you want.
    Oct 17 1
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      Thank you for the support, I started making a spreadsheet of jobs with a desirability score etc and I see your point, there's way more than a handful of great companies
      Oct 19
  • Amazon AWS-Engr
    Your determination will get you there. Leetcode as much as possible for a few months or so. The goal should be to be able to solve medium with MINIMAL external help and within about 30 mins.

    You do that and you're gold :)
    Oct 17 1
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      OP
      Thank you, previously I did Leetcode/CTCI but never timed myself, usually took me an hour on average, I will start timing myself and looking up the solution if I take too long (then implementing the solution)
      Oct 19
  • Deloitte / Consultant
    cloudguy5

    Deloitte Consultant

    PRE
    Deloitte
    cloudguy5more
    Come to Deloitte’s GPS practice. Your federal experience will be very appreciated and I think you’ll be compensated much more fairly. PM me if you want more info.
    Oct 17 0

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees