Transitioning from Hardware to Software

Apple kokoko
Jan 3, 2018 26 Comments

I have been contemplating moving from a hardware role to software, and would appericiate some advice.

A little about myself: I do hardware development for Apple in a pretty niche area and make decent money for my work experience (~240k TC with 4 yrs work experience). Lately I've been feeling burned out and dissatisfied by my job. I don't enjoy the nature of my work, and feel I could do something of better value.

I did a couple of CS related Coursera courses and felt I would enjoy this as work. I also did a fair bit of programming during undergrad/grad school (EE major), however haven't done anything significant since then?

How do I go about transitioning to Software full time? The job I'm currently doing (board level analog circuit design) is pretty much so removed from CS that I don't think I can transition in a gradual manner, within the framework of my existing job.

I also have enrolled for Georgia Tech's online MS in CS, not sure if this is the right way to go.

I don't mind taking a pay cut for an year or two as long as I can get to my existing salary quickly.

Would really appreciate any guidance the Blind community can provide!

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TOP 26 Comments
  • Microsoft XKBH16
    Leetcode for CS interviews
    Jan 3, 2018 7
    • Intel GucciGucci
      When you say leetcode are you just talking about "algorithms" part of leetcode?
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Microsoft XKBH16
      Yes, especially for more junior folks.
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Intel GucciGucci
      Gotta study up on that
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Microsoft XKBH16
      Good luck. 👍
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Intel GucciGucci
      Thanks bruh
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Visa / Eng Boimkz
    How’s the market for embedded software development? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could write software for things that moved around? Maybe at Tesla or SpaceX? You could also leverage your EE background strongly.
    Jan 3, 2018 3
    • Google melain
      This is easiest way to get in. Embedded tends to field resumes from both sides.
      Jan 3, 2018
    • New / Eng
      G0dz1la

      New Eng

      PRE
      Qualcomm, Nokia, Apple
      BIO
      Hardware Tinkerer, Software Engineer, Musician, Painter, Moving Helper
      G0dz1lamore
      It feels under appreciated doing that work
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Google melain
      It is. But do that a couple of years at a big company then pivot.
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Duck Creek OnePunchGy
    Imagine feeling like that, but getting paid shit and not at a good company. Hmm.
    Jan 3, 2018 3
    • Duck Creek zlGG
      Aka 70k TC, I need a FAANG job
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Oracle / Eng sb sb
      That's not even east coast salary bro...
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Duck Creek zlGG
      But it is!
      Jan 5, 2018
  • Google Gilfoyle
    What’s the reasoning behind wanting to move away from HW? HW is now a hot space...
    Jan 3, 2018 2
    • Apple kokoko
      OP
      I haven't committed to moving away from hardware, however there are several reasons why i would consider it:

      1) This may be from my limited exposure at Apple, but I feel the scope of work is significantly different. While the software guys are only coding, the hardware folks have to deal with operational crap from factories or attend too many meetings etc. I might be doing core technical stuff 10-20% of my time.

      2) Too much is concentrated into Apple. While companies like Google and Facebook are pushing strongly into hardware space, what I've seen is they prefer to get most of the component design by vendors in Asia, and put everything together. Apple on the other hand designs everything it uses from scratch (teams in Apple design display, camera modules etc. whereas Google just uses off the shelf components in their products). This is simply an outcome off the vast differences in scale, but the consequence is there simply aren't many places other than Apple to work for (I'm not considering the Asian vendors).

      3) The entry barriers to starting something in hardware are much higher. While a coder with a laptop can put together something revolutionary like Bitcoin (I know this is an extreme example) in the software space, doing something like that in hardware requires one to not only know hardware design but other logistics, like manufacturing, supply chain management, distribution etc.

      4) Again due to its nature, HW is concentrated in a few pockets (Bay Area and East Asia). With all the uncertainty around H1Bs (I'm Indian), I want to have an option in case working in US becomes impossible.
      Jan 3, 2018
    • Facebook BladeRunne
      1) Software people have to deal with a lot of craps as well.
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Illumina ultrasound
    Coming to this thread a bit late. What did the OP end up doing finally. Did he Leetcode his way in to other FANG or still pursuing the OMSCS? I kinda have the same baggage tho been doing this for 10 years now.
    Oct 11, 2018 0
  • New / Eng 0x41414141
    If only there was an internal website to find *cool jobs*
    Jan 3, 2018 1
    • Apple kokoko
      OP
      Thanks. I find the internal transfer process in Apple too messed up, as I have to go through practically a full round of interview, and inform my manager before interviewing. I would think makes more sense to interview externally, or informally talk with managers who know me.
      Jan 3, 2018
  • Apple / Eng
    hardybo

    Apple Eng

    PRE
    Apple
    hardybomore
    Is there any update on the this? Were you able to make the switch? I am also considering the same?
    May 18 0
  • Facebook jacks
    Just try applying for companies if you feel you're strong enough for entry level programming positions. Consider enrolling in a credible programming bootcamp. Leetcodeing your way is also a possibility
    Jan 3, 2018 0
  • Amazon
    BennyLava

    Amazon

    PRE
    Amazon
    BennyLavamore
    Do firmware first
    Jan 3, 2018 0
  • New / Eng
    G0dz1la

    New Eng

    PRE
    Qualcomm, Nokia, Apple
    BIO
    Hardware Tinkerer, Software Engineer, Musician, Painter, Moving Helper
    G0dz1lamore
    Get into an early stage startup where you can learn, money may not be good but you may get the opportunity if you show intent and skill
    Jan 3, 2018 0