What should be my next career move?

New kgzI63
Nov 18, 2017 43 Comments

Hoping to get some good advice on here.

23 year old. Graduated as a MechE about 2 years ago and have been working since. I already don’t enjoy the field and coming on Blind makes it worse. I see new grads asking if “175k offer is a lowball” and I’m like wtf? My first job was paying me 65k. Within 2 years I’ve managed to hit six figs but there’s no way I can compete with the SWEs on here, especially if I live in Silicon Valley. Also, I don’t think I’d ever be able to get to 300k in my field.

My next goal was to get an MBA and possibly get out of this field to increase my skillset and also to increase my comp. I'm thinking Product Management would be something I'd enjoy but it's difficult to get into it given that I don't have a CS degree. I've tried to apply to many APM positions but never hear back. I want to know from all of you what you think is a good option.

I hope to get some serious responses and not just trolls because I really am confused and sad that I didn't make the right choice in terms of my major when I was in college.

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TOP 43 Comments
  • Apple Bnhjk56
    Do a masters in CS and you will make what the S/w eng here are making. 1.5 year investment in a masters will have a big pay off. Boot camps are good but a masters opens a lot of doors
    Nov 18, 2017 10
    • Apple Bnhjk56
      They look at your GRE score and your undergrad GPA along with recommendation letters and your statement of purpose. As long as bachelors is engineering you can move to CS. Tons of people have done this successfully
      Nov 19, 2017
    • Apple pupl22
      As far as I know, most of the grad schools don’t need a GRE for a MS degree. There are several good schools around the bay area. I suggest you apply to all of them and try to contact the faculty by email or in person to find a potential research position in their labs.
      Nov 19, 2017
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Are you sure they don’t require a GRE?
      Nov 19, 2017
    • Apple pupl22
      I am not “sure”! Checking the websites should take the same amount of time as making a comment here.
      Nov 20, 2017
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Haha damn alright. Thanks for the info and the attitude :) have a great evening, you!
      Nov 20, 2017
  • Oath thewho
    There will be always someone making more than you. Regardless of what is your compensation (unless you’re the richest man in the world).

    Think about how much is enough for you to be comfortable and to attain your financial goals; then think what kind of work is fulfilling and makes you happy before making any decision.

    As a suggestion to get into software, take a look at those coding bootcamps. It’s easier to be a PM once you are inside a tech company as an software developer.
    Nov 18, 2017 3
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Thanks for the reply! Do you know if those bootcamps actually help you land a good job? Are these the ones where you end up lying about the amount of experience you have? If so, I am not sure I can do it.
      I already have a decent programming background despite being an ME but wondering if those are worth it.
      Nov 18, 2017
    • WRKSHP / Eng
      I have had a few coworkers who came in without formal cs training and the self-taught one was better than the bootcamp one. Bootcamper also told me numbers are fudged because the highest end people are going from like say, backend and just did the bootcamp to learn front end.

      If you can, I'd encourage you to just self-study - I think you'd get a similar set of knowledge but without coughing up all the cash to the cash cows.
      Nov 19, 2017
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      ^^ that’s literally exactly what my buddy just told me. Just need to be disciplined and study seriously. I do learn programming on the side but probably not as seriously as I should be.
      Nov 19, 2017
  • Amazon Qlch60
    Depressed that you didn't make the right choice is a little extreme. More money is not going to solve your problem.
    Nov 18, 2017 2
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Sorry, depressed is maybe not the right word but it does bring down the morale. If I wanted to buy a nice house in the area, I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it for a while. So I understand that money doesn’t equate to happiness but it’s a different ballgame if many others are earning twice or three times as much coming out of college. imagine what that does to the housing industry in the area and to those that are non-SWEs.
      Nov 18, 2017
    • Amazon Qlch60
      Maybe, I was being too harsh. I feel the same way. Which is why I'm looking to switch.

      Even if I won't be able to switch, I'll be happy as I've made my peace with my salary. Can't keep looking at what's on everyone else's plate.
      Nov 18, 2017
  • Microsoft Joo
    You are a 23 year old making a 6 figure salary and depressed someone else is making much more than you? You have a lot of growing up to do, kid
    Nov 18, 2017 3
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Hi, I’m not sure if you understand the situation. I actually think I’m more mature than most of the “kids” my age (I’ve also been told this by my coworkers and manager). Other 23 or even 21 year olds out of college are making nearly twice as much or more in the software industry. This has drastically changed the housing market here and there’s no way I can afford anything at my current pay.
      I wouldn’t be able to afford a house for a while and would have to watch where every penny is going. I do not want to live that way, which is the cause of concern. I understand that there will always be someone making more, so that’s not the problem here.
      Nov 18, 2017
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Maybe that's a cultural thing being Indian but it's normal to start thinking about that stuff at this age for us :) some of my friends that work at fb are already starting to look and they're around the same age as me.
      Nov 18, 2017
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Haha again, like I said, it's completely normal to start thinking about it right now. I don't see anything wrong with that.
      Nov 18, 2017
  • LinkedIn youNme
    Dude, you are just 23? What the heck are you stressing about. Just work hard, stay ethical, increase your network, and learn from those around you. Money will come to you in time.
    Nov 18, 2017 1
    • Google loma
      True. And don’t stifle your ambition - go for the MBA or MSc or MEng or whatever. Your education is with you for life. Do it while you’re young.
      Over the years you’ll work with your employer(s) on the best career path possible for you - a combination of them seeing your potential and you showing it off. Always be a leader, even without the title and the fat paycheck.
      (I relate to the entry level salary...as a new CS grad in 2003 I scored the highest pay at $46K! Those days are LONG GONE ;)
      Nov 18, 2017
  • Wayfair b_l_t
    I’m a MechE who also got an MBA along the way and have worked across a bunch of industries. Feel free to PM me for a more focused conversation.
    Nov 18, 2017 1
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      PMing you now.
      Nov 18, 2017
  • Only whites have the privilege of being from a Non CS background and getting a job as a Product Manager at FANG. For others you don’t have relevant experience. I know some of you will be offended but this is reality.

    OP, it’s better you go in a purely business role like consulting, banking etc. depending on your interests. I think Software Developers are over-hyped. Sundar Pichai never had a CS background and is CEO of google. You don’t expect VP/CTO/CEO to come and code for 40+ hours a week and get millions of dollars.

    Don’t run after money but What you like doing. Doesn’t mean you become an Uber Driver. I know it’s practical to be motivated by money. Take a hybrid i.e. money+interest approach !
    Nov 18, 2017 2
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Haha, not sure I agree with the white part but I kinda see what you’re saying. Not sure if I want to go purely into business because I love Tech. My aim isn’t to code all the day either, like you said. I think PM is a good choice for me because I’d get to build cool products and also earn a decent living. However, it’s difficult to get into it without a CS degree so idk what to do at this point.
      Nov 18, 2017
    • Amazon
      fluffer

      Amazon

      PRE
      Amazon
      fluffermore
      Not true at all.

      Finance have way worse of a glass ceiling and white tinted glasses than software.
      Nov 19, 2017
  • Amazon
    fluffer

    Amazon

    PRE
    Amazon
    fluffermore
    MBA doesn't do squat unless in top 10 schools and you switch to finance afterwards. Stay away if you want quick easy money.

    Most ME ended up as software engineers. Learn to do embedded system or motion control, automation, manufacturing etc and join as a swe with specialist domain. Then move towards where the money is.
    Nov 19, 2017 1
    • WRKSHP / Eng
      My dad is ME and has stayed there. The technology has definitely changed over time but there's still need for hardware engineers.
      Nov 20, 2017
  • Apple pupl22
    If you talk to other ME graduates in Silicon Valley you’ll see they all suffer from the exact same issue. Change your field through a management route or masters degree or an online degree like the Udacity nanodegrees. Think of it as investment that needs two years of hard work but will pay off for the next couple of decades. ME in the bay area in the next couple of years will be as important as gold mining now. There is always a chance to make a change. Do it!
    Nov 18, 2017 1
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Glad to know I’m not the only one. What do you do at Apple, if you don’t mind me asking? We can chat over PM if you like. My goal is to work at Apple someday ☺
      Nov 18, 2017
  • New / Eng
    xofulb

    New Eng

    PRE
    VMware, Brocade Communications, Nokia
    BIO
    Take your coding puzzles and shove it up your ***
    xofulbmore
    Coding is not as easy as bootcamps and mushrooming "teach you coding in 2 weeks" may present. It is a lot of toil and hard work. If you think you have talent to code and solve tough real world problems, go for it. Don't get into software industry because there is money . Money comes at a price of countless hours sitting in front of screens trying to solve something which you have never seen.
    Nov 18, 2017 1
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Definitely agree. I already have coding experience in several languages, although I’m not an expert at any of them. I love the challenge but also know that I don’t want to sit and code for the rest of my life. That’s why I think PM is something I would really enjoy.
      Nov 18, 2017
  • Microsoft drumshtick
    Sure, it’s a stress test on your confidence when you see some odd comp packages offered to engineers nowadays. The shock wears off though, rather quickly. You have to focus on yourself and explore the world and your career with utmost freedom. Take risks, question yourself and your skills. At the end of each day, look back and ask “how did I spend my day? If I leave my day free fall on to my desk, does it make the sound of a sheet of paper or a fucking phonebook!!” I’m sure such a perspective on life is guaranteed to get you a seven-figure life if not the salary ;)
    Nov 18, 2017 2
    • Google / Eng meh29
      Confusing
      Nov 18, 2017
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Haha the end was a bit confusing but I agree. However, the shock still remains after a few months of being on the Blind community. There’s no way I can really catch up to others in terms of comp unless I switch careers. Is that even something you would recommend? Idk. That’s why I’m thinking of getting an MBA.
      Nov 18, 2017
  • Uber RSVz00
    You can probably live very comfortably with a 6 figure salary as a ME outside the bay area. Why stay here and make yourself miserably by comparing to others?
    Nov 18, 2017 1
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      I love this area. My family and friends are here so I don’t really want to leave.
      Nov 18, 2017
  • Facebook ChinaKlay
    A safe way to test the waters may be to start coding projects on the side and see how that goes. It could even help you prep for a career switch.
    Nov 18, 2017 1
    • New kgzI63
      OP
      Yes, I’m working on several projects with a few buddies of mine (one of them is also at FB). Hopefully it goes somewhere and I end up at fb too. Was just there today to chill ☺
      Nov 18, 2017
  • WRKSHP / Eng
    One of the PMs/designers at my company started out in EE but moved into management/PMing at his previous company. That's how he ended up PM here.

    You can try the same thing. Get into mech e job and move into a PM position there first.
    Nov 19, 2017 0