Software Engineers at 40s/50s, how are you doing?Jan 22
First, I want to say you guys are real heroes and pioneers. Without the solid work you had contributed, tech won’t bloom like this today.
But also interesting and curious to see other sides given this industry’s pace.
How is work? Keeping up with technologies, aggressive young kids, etc
How is family? Kids schools, day care, youth problems
How is life? Fully occupied? Got some free time? Etc...
How is retirement preparation? All ready? On track? Still working on it?
How are you doing?
- Quantlab / EnggrizzledmoreLate 50's. Been coding since your parents were in diapers. Killed the coding interviews at Google and Facebook. Did the leet code plus the follow on question and another follow on with time to spare. Turned both FAANG down for a more interesting offer from a self driving car startup. Mostly working because I want to at this point.. Still killing it.Jan 23109
- I am 40, leetcoding, and trying to get out of the Midwest. 20 YOE - I was a teen father and did not have 4 years for school.
My kids are nearly grown and the reason why I'm finally ready to get out of the Midwest.
My market has limited options for boosting TC. Engineers hit ~130K. If you want more income you need to go into management or go independent. I went independent. I bill around 110/hr Corp to Corp. My wife has insurance through her work so it works out nicely.
I was a single father for many years and I did end up completing my CS degree. I'm currently working on my MS in CS.
Some of the posts here have me a little discouraged. I know I'd be downleveled heading out to the west coast. I'm not willing to downgrade my lifestyle for a chance to run with the big dogs so I might be stuck out here for good!
- Palo Alto Networks LWtE67First off, with that experience you're worth easily 500k+ to a LOT of companies in bay area. Go where you want, but GTFO Midwest. Anywhere with cool tech stuff to work on will be glad to have you, and you could prob come close to half a mil in Texas if you're in the right company
- Re: downleveling. I am working on leetcode but I wouldn't say I'm a strong interviewer yet. The west coast style of interviewing is intense. The interview process at my last gig consisted of a brief phone call with a director.
Another reason for downleveling is that over the years I took some gigs that weren't helpful for me with respect to career growth. Things like working remotely on a small/weak team. These gigs were good for a single parent that's trying to hold their family together; I did what I had to do.
- Pandora / OtherWesternmoreFunny, cause most of these software engineers are white males and are probably managers now or high level individual contributors. This demographic of software engineers are not diverse or represent the California / US demographic. The question is, how are these engineers helping talent of color transition into these roles and opportunities to succeed
- Forced diversification? No thanks. Where there are legitimate issues of discrimination, we should absolute address those issues. But by the time you’re talking about industry hiring practices, the failure has already occurred at a systemic level: the problem is with equal education. Public schools largely suck donkey dick and that’s what hurts shit like this the most. Not discriminatory hiring.Jan 262
- Everyone knows public schools underperform.
What is less known is ... WHY?
Pub schools don’t have to COMPETE for customers. That’s why.
Solution = competition
Allow parents who don’t want their kids to go to public schools to pay less taxes and instead spend that money on any competing private school provider of THEIR choice.Jan 262
- I was praising Walmart as a competitor that helped lower prices of goods and lift std of living for the poor. Apparently you took my genuine praise as sarcasm, and replied with your own snark.
Competition increases quality and reduces prices. Regardless of whether the product is a widget or an educational program.Jan 282
- Medidata Solutions HobbesianIn the real world no one is going to give you sh!t. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in fairness of opportunity (just fairness in general) but chances should go to those who show they want it the most, not to those (no matter what their ethnicity) looking for a hand out.
- New ktFx33I work with two devs in mid 50s. One was promoted to director role but didn’t like the stress now codes again. They’ve worked with the same code base for 20 years so obviously they’re very good
- healthfinch belIt’s an experience that is undervalued, working on a single product for a long time. I don’t disagree there’s value in seeing more than one codebase, but I don’t think some devs understand what working a very long time with a single, large codebase or product can bring in terms of experience. I like contracting and consulting because you get see a lot of different kinds of organizational disarray in rapid succession, but staying put for 5+ years will show you another side that dopamine seeking devs with a desire for new toys and green fields will take longer to realize.
- @DaZ you're right in general but this scenario of single codebase for long often plays out at big corps, think Oracle db/dw, Microsoft Windows OS/server, & mostly enterprise products because support cycles are huge & it is hard for companies to simply update software forget replacing it.
Also with such a unique skill these guys are valuable to competitions in same space.
- Nurx kRSt03Working on a codebase for more than 5 years is a rare skill that actually is gaining value. You’ve actually lived through what it means to write maintainable software and learned the lessons and felt the pain first hand. People who switch jobs every 2 years don’t have that skill and learn how to write good software more slowly. They also don’t know how to do refactors without shutting down the companyJan 247
- Cisco InfensusWe'll get some anti-survivorship bias in this post, since the really good ones managed to retire in their thirties.
- That is bs, Cisco. I could probably retire but back at Microsoft when I had 3 stock splits, tons of people retired, blew their money, and came back. There's a lot of luck in retiring early. And I did a little leetcode last time. In my 50s, last interview cycle 2 years ago 4 interviews, 4 offers. So suck it, youngen.Jan 2350
- Uber Rocco6944 been a SWE for 22 yrs. I am not fast as the younger folks but I don't make nearly as many mistakes. People actually cared more about bugs 20 years ago when the release cycles were years long. But my strategy for staying up to date is to move jobs every 3 years or so and do different things like going from backend to mobile to web etc. Also do projects and apps at home to keep your interest up. I know that's hard with kids, but you don't have to do a lot, just enough to keep you motivated. I also do a Leetcode problem a day for defensive purposes. I figure I can do this till I'm 50 before I get too frustrated. Luckily I've been with two other companies that have IPOed, soon to be 3, so I can just chill at 50 and do something else, or nothing at all. 🙂 Happy engineering fellas and gals
- Doing well, approaching 50, thinking about retiring at 55, but kids will be in college at that time...so may work a bit longer.
I still have fun everyday at work, but I also work with most of my best friends. My house will be paid off soon, then the stock piling of retirement cash will ramp up, just in time to help out with college.
I would definitely recommend someone in college to choose something other than Software engineering, but I’ve enjoyed nearly every day at work in the 25 years I’ve been working, so no real complaints.
- Things are just too configuration orientated, most days are spent in meeting, drafting diagrams, or explaining things to management...Coding as a hobby is a blast, but it does feel a little like work some days...maybe all engineering is the same, but I think more and more you get one one or two all stars on a project, and the rest of the team are just code-monkeys or overseas untrained code-monkeys...so the all stars spend the whole time fixing shit and then the project wraps up and the maintenance cycles begin at the same time the next project or two start.
So, in the good ole day I feel like everyone was talented, but more and more coders are need to crank out for a lot of the apps, basically drag and drop deliverables...there are more and more idiot engineers out there, reminds me of the early 2000’s before things crashed and all the shit programmers got canned.Jan 2311
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- Microsoft OIC-u812We are the not reason you’re failing to reach your goals. Some of us thought our goals through from the time we were little and acted “as if…”
Generally speaking, your economics station in life is under your control. The decisions you make with your time will dictate the outcome of your money.
Real talk. But money isn’t everything. I chose a career and the rest of my life is shit. That is also entirely my fault. Find balance early in life.
- Adobe VTJL44There are many people who are much less fortunate than you even in seemingly prosperous areas. Some are homeless, some are illiterate, some have no chance at receiving a higher education to break the poverty cycle.
Even if you don't think you can find a single person to spend the rest of your life with you, you can enjoy little bits and pieces of other's lives while feeling and receiving love from and for them. You'll grow to love those you serve.
- Palo Alto Networks gt56Great questions. I feel I am lucky... Living the 2000 boom was special. Seeing the technical revolution every decades and being in the middle of it has been a great ride. Northern California is a great place to live. The oldies (40/50) have their home when it was much cheaper. Housing is problem solved. The money you make in Bay Area allows you to retire comfortably in most area in the world. The only question is if you can retire in bay area or not. I think we are in the golden age of computer science. High TC, interesting work, so many perks. If I had an advice for younger generation, take good calculated risk. If you play too safe, life in computer science can get boring.
- I'm in my 40s. Have a lot of experience with data pipelines, ML, micro services and the actual production operations.
We are a single income family and I have a little son. He goes to an amazing private school, which keeps me on my toes financially.
My leetcode was subpar. I could not engage enough due to family commitments, so ended up in subpar company (Walmart).
Recently got myself out of the 💩show. Spent 3 month on leetcode. Solved close to 200 problems. Got an amazing 🤑🤑🤑 offer from tier 1 company.
My manager is about to get the news soon.
- MailChimp oceannnJust turned 40. I'm constantly torn about how well I'm doing. I have 950k (combined savings and investments) which makes me feel pretty far behind after spending a few weeks on Blind. TC is 210k (I'm in Atlanta) so my goal this year is to start leetcoding and look for more lucrative opportunities. My company is full of young and very smart people which is awesome but intimidating. I used to think I was doing well in my age group but I don't know anymore. I guess it doesn't matter though, as long as I'm happy. My biggest source of happiness is my beautiful daughter and I feel lucky to have her in my life. It's sort of a struggle to open up my laptop or a tech book when I get home. I much prefer spending time with my daughter and getting some fresh air when I'm not working. Sorry for the rant
- 35 with $160k TC and on track to have $900k by 40. I feel equally behind after reading Blind. Feels like I could save another $500k in 2-3 years if I lived as frugally in SF as I do here. But people always complain about the col there so hard to really know what to believe. I doubt the average person in Blind has significantly more than that by 40.
- You would be better off googling it and reading the background but the basically TL;DR is that the Shiller CAPE10 value (which is basically a the ten year lookback on the price/earnings ratio of the S&P 500) is a strong indicator of future yield. 1/CAPE10 is CAEY - estimated yield.
There are many variations of using CAPE10 to estimate a sustainable withdrawal rate which are typically expressed as the intercept (a) and the weight of CAEY (b) to compute an annual safe withdrawal rate (SWR). The simplified formula is SWR(a, b) = a + b*1/CAPE10 or, for right now, using my parameters above, 0.01 + 0.5 * 1/28.98 or .0272. In other words with the current high CAPE regime, you ought to be able to take out 2.72% per year assuming you smooth the withdrawal over the course of the year (since I need my wife to manage this should I die, my plan is structured as quarterly).
See http://www.multpl.com/shiller-pe/ for a nice graph of CAPE10 and commonly known large market events.
You may notice that the CAPE10 is historically high. It is very likely that even when the distortion of the aftermath of 2008 fully rolls off the books we will still be quite high from a historical perspective. For retirees there is substantial sequence of return risk - for this reason my plan includes the assumption that we will see a flat market for the next 10 years. I am extremely conservative in this plan since my wife is younger and will easily outlive me but also because I am looking at a 45 year period even just for myself. Longevity risk is a large component of what drives my conservatism. Medical care is both expensive and substantially increasing the tail end longevity and, in addition, both my family and my wife’s family are very long lived - all grandparents lived independently and made it to their late 90s, one to 100, and my own parents are in their eighties without significant issues.
This concludes today’s episode of Safe Withdrawal Rates as Informed By Expected Market Yield. I wish I knew this stuff when I was younger - I had the save money thing from the start but really had no model in mind until I started getting serious when I turned 40.Jan 246
- My born-before-the-web nature makes it kill me to point to some blogger even if he is a former professional asset analyst but this guy has summarized everything there is to understand about this topic excellently with a quantitative angle:
I actually had my own spreadsheets and tools as well as my own summary that I’d written for myself but his analysis is excellent. Actually reading and taking the time to understand his analysis (there are 20+ blog entries and all but the last few are excellent) would be worth anyone’s time whose retirement plan is not “eat a bullet” or “win the startup lottery and be worth billions.”
- Do you think swr of 2% will be sustainable?.....if US does end up like Japan with QE coming back for morr after the next recession, interest rate might as well be negative in the long run.....then just eat the principal?
Im thinking defined pensions as backup to any swr based plans.....
- 2.7 is far from even coming close to risky SWR. Trinity study basically showed that 4% is a good 30 year historical withdraw AND that it’s far more likely you’ll end up with MORE money than u started at retirement. For a 60 year retirement plan, it matters more where the asset allocations are - as long as 60%(?) are kept in stocks, then it’s more than fine
- The guy who mentioned Japan was referring to the economic crash after their bubble in the late 80s. The magnitude of the bubble and the decline was such that even a 1% WR would have failed by now. I have some direct experience with the Japanese bubble.
It’s pretty clear that for the 2000 cohort the 4% rule will end up failing as it did for 1965.
There is a selection bias in how people choose their retirement dates - very typically someone hits a number and says “there - that’s the number I needed, I’m done” and retires. The issue is that people who think this way tend to cluster on market peaks which means that they will be challenged by actual market for performance. They are basically picking the worst point in time to retire from a sequence of returns risk POV.
Also just to close this thread out, when you start looking at 45, 50 and 60 year timeframes, you also are at risk of large mega-events like the impact of wars, for example, which we don’t seem to do any more but it’s possible.
- I started writing code in 1970 as a hobby and have been doing it professionally since 1978 (so over 40 years). I've been a part of all this tech growing up. Three generations of software developers in my family. I've always stayed on the leading edge of tech but I have been on the East Coast.
At ~160K salary with TC ~210K now and 61 years old. $1M in my 401k and another $500K in other assets. Still working full-time but I have a lot of flexibility. Never got the big bucks from the West Coast.
I'll be able to retire by 65, possibly earlier if my retirement advisor tells me to. But I have been able to test the waters of management and always successfully returned to coding.
- Tableau thepete@empathymin it’s all about the timing and who you work for. I worked with a guy years ago who drove around his Microsoft Porsche ( it was a honda) the story goes in 94 his car broke down and it cost so much to repair it he decided his Microsoft stock wasn’t going anywhere so he sold all of it and bought a Honda. Markets go up and down for every successful startup seven fail. There’s a lot of luck involved.Jan 271
- I'm in my 40s and sick of the old farts whining about millennials. How about using our experience to make their life better than what we had. They should not have to make the same mistakes our generation was making. I love to see how millennials are challenging the outdated systems. Excited to work with them.
- We can't. I wish we could. I'm trying with those surrounding me. But it's hopeless. Read about reasons. It's unhappy and lonely generation at its core driven by suffering from comparing their lives to others.
I didn't have the Internet. I didn't know what my friends or neighbors had or did. I just lived my life the way it was. M Gen grew up during times of its inception. Many realized how "worthless" they were simply from greater access to the technology. It shaped their thinking, attitude to life. They started raising kids to have "better" life than they did. These kids are now entitled brats... Parents are unsatisfied and unhappy, kids are ungrateful and entitled.
We can't do much. We have to deal with and navigate though that. Sometimes it makes me sick.
- It's all in your head. I'm friends with many millennials and they are great people and fun to be around. Somehow they don't mind to go for drinks with a dude twice their age.
I totally share the culture. I'm also entitled brat. I believe that we can and should demand more from the world. You only get it if you ask for it. I always was ahead of my time.
Oh and about comparing life to others. All generations did that. Millennials are doing it in more scientific data driven way. I compare my life to others. Thanks to platform like Blind, which motivated me to push for more and get much more comp than I would accept without getting the data.
I love the new world, where new generation would not take the 💩 from the system like the other generations did.
I need a wifi bus to work, my free company lunch needs to be awesome and my coffee needs to have an awesome foam art.
I ❤️ making my Avocado toast every day.Jan 245
- No argument against "basic" needs. Everyone is entitled for a good cup of coffee. However stastemes like "I should be promoted because my teammate was" or "let's disclose all salaries and pay the same to everyone" are silly, childish and only show the lack of understanding of how capitalism works. California of course makes it even worse.
- Early 40s, 3 kids, have enough rental properties to retire whenever. I spend most of my time mentoring people. I have a deep abiding fear about our industry, each generation having a less full understanding of how actual systems work. (Probably inspired by too much Asimov). But in practice it motivates me to spend most of my time teaching younger people how things work and leveling them up. Anyway, if I didn't have this sense of guilt I would have already left the industry. But OTOH, I love it, it's fun. I still write code, not as much, but it's still solid. I'll just write a new tool or whatever from scratch once a year or so.
- Over the last 12 years, more than 20. And yes I would do the same thing. You can leverage inflation with real estate, it's basically compounding interest while deflating your liability. I never used more leverage than would be necessary for positive cash flow. Aquisition rate and flow I setup so I could retire by 50, but wound up making way more money than expected from my career, so bought more than necessary to stick to my plan. I started saving 30% of after tax income in my 20s, now it's like 90%.Jan 236
- Amazing. Glad it worked out for you. That’s a ton of properties. I’ve been wanting to do the same on a smaller scale but uneasy buying these days with the stock market near all time highs and increasingly volatile. I like the idea of cash flow / break even point determining leverage amount. Saving over 50% post tax now in my 30s to catch up for only saving 10% in my 20s. Can’t imagine saving 80-90%. You’ve clearly made smart choices to get to that point.
- Yeah, as long as you make money you'll be able to hold no matter what happens with the price. Rents are far less volatile than asset prices. We had periods where some of our properties were under water, but instead of freak out, we bought more. Long term the rents ever so slowly went up asset prices too, so we refid and bought more, still sticking to our rules. Anyway, at this point I'm not going to relever. The 90% save rate is because our rental income covers nearly all of our expenses at this point. It kind of builds on itself. The biggest curve ball was when I basically stopped caring about my career, I started going straight up the ladder. Go figure. Now the struggle is keeping lifestyle inflation from going off track.
- That’s a great story. I’m in a similar boat but with fewer properties. For those who are asking about real estate investing, read the book Remote Controlled Real Estate Riches by Adiel Gorel. That’s how I got started 15 yrs ago and still use the same approach. Don’t speculate on rising prices. Cash flow is the name of the game. Appreciation is a bonus if it happens. If it doesn’t happen you’re still making $.
- Weird. I bought several copies over the years for like $15 each new on Amazon. Seems to have gone out of print with price shooting up as a result. I will call his office tomorrow and ask about it. The book is a gem of simplicity and takes the fear and mystery out of getting started, which Is why I recommended it.
He seems to have a new book/DVD set but the only way to get it is by donating to PBS. Not sure why he is making it so complicated to get his books.
As a substitute for now check out his website ICGRE.com. It is not as good as the book IMO but a good start if you’re new to the topic.
PM me if you are serious about getting started in real estate and I will be happy to point you in some useful directions. I had a chance encounter with someone who recommend Gorel, and as a result of which I bought my first property, and I have had mentors along the way. I am always happy to pay it forward and share my experience and contacts to help other busy professionals get closer to financial independence by using real estate.
- SAP / Biz DevlVgD43more42, MS CS, two young kids, young wife. Took too long to figure it all out, but had fun doing it. European with multiple countries under my belt before ending up in the Bay Area.
There’s something to be said about staying on track, showing up, showing respect, learning, supporting and uplifting others.
There’s also something to be said about not outsourcing the care for your kids to strangers. If you can avoid it, don’t get that nanny. She’s not as “phenomenal” as your wife might describe her on Nextdoor.
There’s also something to be said about not divorcing. The next one is likely not very different after the first fire has burned.
And finally, there’s something to be said about living frugally and minimalist. Colleague of mine just hit 49 and is ready to retire from tech with two teenage kids. He wants to dedicate his time to volunteering for an org he’s already working at.
Own your shit, fellas - and work hard not to become grumpy old men!
- I did not want that to come across as judgmental.
I made several mistakes with my first kid that took me a lot of time to identify as such, because ...well the effing bills had to be paid. Now we’ve downsized and focused ourselves on what’s really important to us, and that feels better. But I’m sure there’s plenty of opportunity to mess it up again when conditions change.
I’m sorry you’re sad when you drop the kids off. Try not to escape that feeling, maybe there’s a solution on the other side. Best of luck!
- Proofpoint AEas61I'm in my early 40's, 17 YOE and pretty happy as a Staff Engineer working 9-5. Me and wife bring in approx. 500K TC. Have a home and a rental property that should be paid off fully in about 5 years, just in time for first kid's college. 401K is 1.2M+, so on track for retirement.
I'm glad not to have slaved away at work and spent time with kids, family and friends.
- Google / Engcrashdumpmore56 running a team at Google.
Kids successfully launched after a couple of recalls for P0 issues
Retirement beta tested in 40’s and reverted due to boredom and low customer satisfaction.
Family health off track, external consultants evaluating.
Current work team all born after I started in industry.
<montyPython>When I was a newbie we had to hand code assembler and read the output as binary</montyPython>
- Reaching 50 soon without much in the bank. Son going to college and I’m still bouncing from one company to another. Never bought a house to be debt free but now have no equity. It’s tough but somehow I’m happy. I wouldn’t mind dating again although my TC is not an aphrodisiac. I may not sound like a total winner but I did climb from being a homeless teen. I still believe I can be impactful in society with my talents at my age.
- Apple sKdnNsjxjd42, been at Apple for ~5 years. Total comp went up $50k/year every year, hit $550k last year. Doing ridiculously well financially. Two kids, house in Bay Area, condo in MV. Private school for kids. Been in and out of management throughout career, in part to keep hand in programming, in part because changing companies often means stepping down a level. Recently interviewed at Facebook and made it to final round before being turned down, in process at Google, nailed the leetcode interview at Google, not so much at Facebook. Studied for 3 days to refamiliarize myself with trees, binary search, quicksort, mergesort, hashmap internals, recursion. While every decade of life has had different challenges and benefits, this ones pretty good. Very self confident and know I can learn anything I need to in order to get anything done. Been working with web frameworks so long, can figure out how an unfamiliar one in and unfamiliar language works in an hour. No free time, work and kids. Spent time learning es6 because my code would be so dated now without it!
- New vsonet44F, engineer, quit Google at 42, been working on my startup since. After umpteen missteps, we're on an awesome track now. We are an early stage social platform with mind boggling engagement (shipped many products used by 100s of millions of users before, but this is still my best achievement ever)! Just closing our Series A and getting ready to scale.
I have two kids 9 and 11. It's demanding. But I never stop learning, never say no to challenges, and never take no for an answer!
- Microsoft PLoO05Turning 40 in a few months. Just built a new system from scratch that is all micro services, schemaless doc db, logic apps for workflow management.
I started working on windows batch scripting and VB apps. Changing with the times does not have to be hard. I love exploring new technologies and I often find myself having to convince my younger peers to try something new. Why is age so often associated with fear of change?
- No idea where that idea comes from; I’m not 40/50+ or close, but it’s still confounding to me.
Related to this, Blind has been a fascinating social experiment. I previously had no idea all these feelings/preconceptions were harbored in the community I work within. The best engineers I know are >50+, on average (and I work at a very young company right now).
- Twitter / EngT RexClose to 50. IC. Planning to work as long as I am physically able. Enjoy working on new technologies every 8 to 10 years. Happy with work life balance as well as knowing I can retire anytime I want to.
- Salesforce ziLA83Had my kids young. Late 40s empty nest. Leetcode in spare time for fun. Living the dream!
- i’ll hit 50 next month. i was a director and abandoned management for more IC. now i’m a tech lead in a startup with sr. director salary and i started a company a few months ago as a CTO. was through the IPO already, made some dough. i have a house on peninsula and no mortgage. immigrant, moved to the US just 10 yrs ago.
- New DvVM0050. took a stab at TPM but like SWE better. financially independent but still love this shit. between family and work, zero “me time” but the field is so hot and so fun right now i just can’t quit. i did take a 2 year drug fueled sabbatical but i’m over it now.
TC > $1mm which of course keeps it interesting. i’m at the top of my game.
- Oracle lNVJ73Moved into management. Director now, heading for senior and vp. I miss coding in a lot of ways.
- Microsoft newyorkhkyDoing great. Mid forties. 20 years in tech and counting. Code on a daily basis learning new frameworks, techniques, etc. Went back to school a couple of years ago, and it’s been great to get refreshers on the new and shiny.
Leetcode is fine, but you learn more taking on side projects and applying coding to real-world problems.
I love listening and learning from people of all ages and types.
My personal philosophy: Life is short, and every day is a new hill. Embrace the climb and learn to love it. Be humble and compete with yourself.
- Apple Snut Ella45. PM now rather than Dev. I feel like I’m more valuable than ever. Having been in the housing market for 20 years I have a strategic advantage in that I could take a lower salary and still live very well.
Lower 401k and 529 balances than I’d like, but am closing in on a fully paid house and a 7 figures in retirement savings.
Family life is wonderful. We had kids late and I sorta regret waiting. #2 ships next sprint.
Honestly, this is the best time of My life.
- 42, burnt out as fuck, been going pretty hard for a while now. Have enough money that I don’t need to work anymore (more than 5 but less than 10), planning on taking a multi-year sabbatical soon (this year) to see whether I miss coding or not. If I miss it I’ll probably do another sprint in entrepreneurship, but right now I feel like I could never write another line of code in my life and be totally fine.
- Netflix / EngNarcosAt my early 40s, I can't leetcode but youngsters can't code as fast or good as me at work. I've known all the mistakes I can make so I don't make them any more
- I'm 44, 20+ YoE. In the Bay Area since a few years.
Work wise I'm happy. I've been going back and forth between senior-level IC and manager roles for a while, staying hands on as much as possible to keep up to date. I do some open source stuff on the side as well. Going through FB bootcamp and swimming at what felt like the deep end was a lot more fun than I expected.
I have a family (wife, kids in public school). Life is hectic but helped by the luxury that my wife isn't working. I wish I had more time with them through the week.
So, I'm the breadwinner in our household. Pulling in high 6-digit TC, most of salary goes to expenses and mortgage but equity mostly accrues.
Total assets so far (investments+house) is approaching 3M, most of that in the last ~5 years.
I'd like to get above 5M before thinking of retiring or taking a break. That might align with the kids moving out.
I feel for those who say they are burnt out. I know I'm lucky to make as much money as I do, and I've been close to burnout a few times but have been able to avoid it getting bad the last few years. If I was under more financial stress I think I would be struggling.
- 8gu: I'm on the Peninsula (Redwood City). I was lucky to buy at the last dip, home price has roughly doubled since then.
MFDR54: late 20s were fun, worked at a large company but with some really sharp people. I've gone from larger companies where I've learned a lot to proving myself and growing again at small companies and back a few times.
The experience is very different between the two. Especially at large companies where a bunch of stuff is done by others and you don't know how it works. Don't fall into the trap of getting stuck in those roles since they really limit your fit for smaller companies where you have to go broad and deep.
I don't remember hitting the milestones. Things are spread across accounts so there was no single balance statement where things ticked over the line.
What I do remember was when we climbed out of debt and month to month living before we had kids. We paid off/down credit cards and got raised limits such that any kind of disaster would be OK, even if we had to buy a new car. THAT was awesome.
I was 35-40ish when we had kids (3). I like the prospect of having an empty house in my mid/late 50s when we can downsize and wind down a bit.
- No, the cars we had were not expensive. Used well maintained Japanese cars, and during the 2008 crash we bought a decent used Volvo wagon that had sat at the dealer for months.
Investments? Not much tbh. As I mentioned, most was month to month back then. Today I would recommend just buying a bit of VTI or similar every month, besides maxing out 401k.
- 27 nearing 28. $165k plus $20k stock options. I live frugally so I have no debt and $75k saved up so far in S&P ETFs... I got some stories from my 5.5 yoe. Feel like I did pretty well in my day working all over the place. I remember when Netflix stock was $45. Gonna go live in the forest or something and wait till I can take my retirement at 65.
- Mid forties, moved to management. 2 kids in elementary so retirement is nowhere near but I could probably retire in low cost areas if needed. Would need to sell all 3 houses that became main investment vehicles. If I wait another 15 years, assuming rents keep with inflation I will have very comfortable income forever as the houses will be paid off. With kids in college it will be time to travel, volunteer in Africa or whatever fuck me and my wife want to do.
Not simple getting here, ups and down and definitely some scary moments but wife's support, persistence and ability to learn and start from scratch saved me.
- Cognizant x86jLOL. 40 AND still on visa and no light for me for settling down!! If u r from India or China and on H1b.. Forget ur retirement plans.. !!
- Cisco NowGoogleEnjoy life more, do whatever makes you happy, treat yourself good, life is short...
- DocuSign mLUX83I mean it’s not like 40 is ancient lol. If anything most people I know around that age not only are good devs engs but know how to actually fix shit address problems not to mention all the soft skills you get with experience. Being able to do a problem on a white board is pretty meaningless at some level.
The biggest issue I have is I want to keep coding but as you get older it gets harder to stay out of management etc for more money...they aren’t just gonna keep paying ya more sadly.
- I agree whole-heartedly with the first half.
Regarding management, I think project lead roles are inevitable, but I have seen too many examples of good engineers becoming great in niche skill sets and making a non-trivial percentage more $ that way than the average management position would likely net. Worth thinking about!
- Tableau SweetTimemoreIn my early 50s and still enjoying my work after choosing to be a Computer Scientist back in middle school. Did some early software gigs in high school and never looked back. Did management for a time but chose to go back to and enjoying IC work. Had some financial and personal lows during the .com bubble bust and at the start of the last recession so I still have some financial ground to make up but doing fine by normal standards. I'm glad I was able to make sure my kids don't have any college debt to deal with. I feel as top of my game as any other point in my career and still enjoy learning new things and mentoring new engineers. Life is good and getting better all the time. Don't listen to those who think software engineering is only a young persons sport. They are wrong. Not going to post much details to not give away who I am.
- 40 here and doing great. I feel like learning new technologies is easier for me than a lot of these young kids because I have a solid foundation I’m just building on so I pick it up faster. Also I’m more career oriented than a lot of these kids so I probably put more into learning new things. You get out what you put in.
Kids are great and I have better time management skills than a lot of younger guys too so I find ways to enjoy time with kids and push my career forward.
I’d say 40s to 50s is probably hitting peak in software engineering because you are in a good spot with depth, still learning new things all the time, and the maturity to handle all of it and life too. Not perfect, don’t get me wrong, but ‘better’ than when you’re on your 20s to 30s.
- First thing that can help time management in my experiences is knowing when to say ‘no’. It sounds easy but you would be surprised how many people don’t learn to say it and then end up overextended and lacking the time needed to grow themselves personally and professionally.
Another would be little things like if you are waiting for something, eg waiting in a doctor’s office, have some reading lined up that involves something you want to learn more about. Perhaps it’s a new technology or perhaps just something else in tech you are interested in learning about.
Another would be that sometimes you have to make some tradeoffs with your time. I know it can be fun to play that video game or go out, but perhaps trade one of those from time to time to take some time to get deeper into some technology.
One important thing is to know what you want to learn next. You’d be surprised the number of people who want to learn something but don’t know what it is they should learn; where they are lacking, perhaps. You have to know yourself better for that and you get to know yourself better over the years.
- Bank of America jkQk4540’s, in Midwest. Work is OK, I keep up vis coding outside of work. Kids are out of the house now. As each year passes I am less inclined to spend my evenings & weekends coding, learning, studying. I am picking up hobbies instead.
Retirement is good, very near 1MIL. If the market would cooperate I could retire soon. Even if they do not and go low, it will merely add an add’l 2-3 years of work to mitigate the diff.
Overall, I like what I do. But I eagerly await the the day where I can do what I want when I want with 100% of my time. Long live FI. Oh and fuck the TPS reports.
- Salesforce cantNameMeI'm interested in knowing how those heroes survived dotcom bubble and 2007/08 recession