I've been working at FB for a few years, and I love this job. I’ve always been in good relationship with team/management, quickly grew E3-E5.
Also, I’ve been always interested to work in finance, at least to try it out. And recently one small prop shop in London (which name I don’t want to disclose) made me an offer.
Pros of that company:
1) They are pretty small and have interesting infra problems
2) I really liked them! Interview process was quite interesting, I talked with many people from there, all enjoy their work (although may complain on work-hours). Attrition rate is low-to-none, very focused on research/engineering. They position themselves as “engineering” company.
3) As the result, engineers are not second-class citizens and I’ll be working on the “hot path”. (Although I’m pretty sure quants are making more there)
1) Not transparent compensation. They just matched my TC for the first year, then “based on performance”. When I asked if I can make my current TC, they said “it’s doable”. Base is the same as E5 (London). They’re hiring me on junior position as I seem to have to little experience for their needs.
2) No some perks which I got used to at FB: travel US/conferences, free top devices, probably WLB.
3) Although position is SWE, it’s more like PE in fact (build performance oriented infra for quants).
Again, I’m happy with FB, but for a long time I really want take this opportunity to learn something else, try something completely new, not like switching teams (which I did). So, I’m really on the fence here. On one side, I think it shouldn’t be a big deal to come back to FB given my track record, and there’s low risk on (relatively) early career stage. On the other hand, I already have pretty much what I need from work now: competitive TC, good work relationships, growing career.
Will it be wrong to take the leap?
FB could go bankrupt and your career could go trash and all tech starts continuously laying off while financial sector regains its glory with some ground breaking work.
When I was studying in PhD, network got all the research fund and no one wants to study in AI as that was dead end for career. My friend who researched ML didn’t get a good job. Point is we don’t know what is going to be like.
One thing for sure is you cannot do a time travel. You are a smart person with great experiences so far. Doing another software engineering is great itself but it seems you are more than capable of that and have a good ambition to explore other fields. Your 20s or early 30s won’t come. You will have family and can’t choose to work in Europe or change career then. Do it now if you ever think of trying something different. Who knows? You may find a future spouse in the industry or find it is much sexier and give you excitement. Or a great chance to travel around Europe. You wouldn’t want to travel with kids there. My colleague found a Swedish spouse while at Europe. He is only 5’ 9”. Pretty sure his wife is taller than him.
If you ask me on what basis I am giving such an advice, I am most likely 50% older than you :) My life is very different than when I was early 30s or late 20s. Basically feels like living a different life. You can have stable life later. In fact, there is no life. You live life for you until you have a family. After then, your former life is over and new life has completely different definition and environment.