QA to dev - what level to try for?

Microchip nqqh55
Apr 9 9 Comments

Hi all

I'm trying to move from a software QA role to a SDE job at (hopefully) a FAANGPAULASDF. I've got 10+YOE, out of which I'd say a total of 2-3 are in SDE-like projects (mostly test automation, side full stack web apps and the like). But I do have tons of experience in making judgement calls as to what's a deployable product, managing 15-20 person teams, typical Software Engineering stuff that's not necessarily writing code.

Two main questions:
1. Do I fall into the group of applicants for whom a cover letter would be beneficial?
2. What level should I try for, and how should I try to justify it to <recruiter|hiring manager>?

In terms of prep, I'm focusing on CTCI and leetcode, about 10-15 hours a week for the last month and counting. Gonna start the applications once I can get optimal solutions without peeking at most Mediums, hoping that happens in a few weeks. If I get any onsites, I hope to be half or most of the way through leetcode Hards by then.

Due to my location (SoCal), my targets are Google, Snap, Amazon. Any others I'm missing? My priority is to challenge myself intellectually, and maximize expected TC over 5 years, with a decent WLB (I'd be happy to work up to 60 hours/week but not more). I'm ok coming in lower as long as I can quickly find my own level, so to speak, so I'd be looking for a place where they promote based on merit, as opposed to time in level.

Any feedback on any of the above is much appreciated.

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TOP 9 Comments
  • Pandora / Other
    JimMayor

    Pandora Other

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    JimMayormore
    Recruiter won't let you apply for entry level, and will consider you as mid level, like amzn SDE2, G L4, fb E4 ...etc

    The challenge is that tho you claim you don't have that much YOE in dev, but during the interview, they will judge you by mid level bar.

    Another bad news is that, even if you pass the interview, they will downlevel you because you aren't from dev track
    (wtf? and you wouldn't let me apply for jr level at the first place? Yes, wtf and live with it)

    So I'll say if you pass, you might get a low end mid level offer.

    But the bright side is, you make it. And after 2 year, make another jump.
    Apr 9 7
    • Pandora / Other
      JimMayor

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      JimMayormore
      Which one you prefer more?
      I2C, SPI, DMA, scope.. etc
      Hadoop, AWS, SQL, NoSQL ...etc?

      If your target is web/cloud/backend software engineer, I would still make a move right now, if I were you

      I guess sw engr in mircoship is like embedded or a bit high level application on linux, but still "inside a box". Even you switch internally in microchip, the experience still can't compare to what you will immerse in a software company.

      But if you are targeting to embedded / firmware, I think internal transfer is another good choice.
      Apr 9
    • Microchip nqqh55
      OP
      Oh for sure I prefer the SW/ML stack at large tech companies a lot more; I’m not really enamored by most of the SDE roles internally, I would only consider switching internally if it gave me a multiplier: for example, I could fairly likely lateral into what here is an L5 or even L6 role, with that title, and then if in 2 years or so FANG would consider me an L5 or so, that would make the internal switch worth it....
      Apr 9
    • Pandora / Other
      JimMayor

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      JimMayormore
      Forget it. All title is shit unless you are from F, G, Uber etc.
      They will downlevel you hard anyway. And with embedded experience, you won't pass system design at L5 for sure.
      Apr 9
    • Pandora / Other
      JimMayor

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      JimMayormore
      And another good thing to switch is the culture. Most of IC design house or board level companies are more like old school style. The atmosphere is set around late 90s and won't change. (Not sure how HW teams at F,G look like tho)

      I bet you seldom see people discuss leetcode/ algo/ design questions around you, and it is a total different vibe in web companies, even like tier 2 or tier 3, everyone is playing the game.

      When I was in a hardware company, I felt so suffocated, and after the move, I started to breathe and enjoy the freedom.
      Apr 9
    • Microchip nqqh55
      OP
      LOL do we work at the same place? I totally see the 90s culture, from the middle manager uniform (button up and slacks) to the comp and the fear of THE CLOUUUUD.

      Thanks for the details. Well, I'll make a play for SDE at FAANG... - if it works great, if not, well, dust off and leetcode more I guess.
      Apr 9
  • Apple highwayman
    With all that prep getting into FAANG etc shouldn’t be hard. Good luck!
    Apr 9 0

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