Moving from long time finance swe to tech companies (FAANG, maybe?)

Aug 30, 2019 19 Comments

I've spent my whole career working as a swe in finance, total 12 yoe, thinking about attempting a jump to a tech company. I've worked at most bulge brackets including long stints at GS and JPM (current).

I've enjoyed parts of it, but what I'm honestly tired of is the conservative view of tech, and the complete inability to move forward. I'm an advanced Java+Spring developer, not by choice, but because banks for some reason still refuse to allow anything else, even other jvm languages. I'm also a line manager with a large team (13 split between nyc and Bangalore).

Any tips for how someone as experienced/entrenched as me should go about attempting a jump? Is it still all about LC even with this much experience? What level should I be looking at, how does finance experience transfer?

Current TC: about 300k, all cash no equity, though closing in fast on the inflection of having to take rsu.


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TOP 19 Comments
  • Goldman Sachs arfW67
    In the same boat, 11 years YOE, 9 of which was in finance. Really wanted to move to Tech. Started preparing from May. Only targeted 4 FAANG companies. 1 phone reject, 1 onsite reject and got offer from 1.

    Blind and leetcode really helped. Also some books/video/courses online
    Aug 30, 2019 5
    • New oeeL53
      Congrats! Have you started? If so how are you finding it?
      Aug 30, 2019
    • Goldman Sachs arfW67
      Yes, the learning curve was very high initially, but the more time you invest, it becomes easier. There were lots of questions similar to leetcode ones. The best thing about leetcode is that it tunes your thinking to find pattern in problems to solve them. I will be starting the new job near the end of next month.
      Aug 30, 2019
  • Softvision AOoB63
    Do you mind telling how much is your base and annual bonus?
    Aug 30, 2019 5
    • Microsoft / Product

      Microsoft Product

      Bain & Company
      They give bs VP position names to technical staff too? I thought was just for the bankers.
      Aug 30, 2019
    • OP
      VP at all banks is a horribly wide position, even in tech. I first made VP at GS when I was 27, and something like 55 percent of the bank was VP. All VP really means is you have 5 or 7 or 9 yoe at least, and haven't left or been let go. Lots (most) people are stuck at that level for life, hence why I have VPs reporting to me who have been at the company 25+ years. This goes for all roles in a bank.
      Aug 30, 2019
  • New / Eng anouja
    I am doing the same, except 9-10YOE. Expect to be downlevelled and LC is mandatory if you want a SWE role.

    I took about 3 months to prepare. Got rejected from FANG onsites but a bunch of offers from Tier 2

    If didn’t know blind before, I found LC randomly and just liked it better than HackerRank, but if I could go back I would have prepared harder and longer before my on sites. All were very close, could have passed with a bit more polish.
    Aug 30, 2019 0
  • Amazon / Mgmt codepoet
    I made this exact jump for similar reasons. Yes there will be LC. You won’t be able to shmooze your way through the interviews. Given your YOE and TC you should target L6 but don’t be surprised if you end up being offered L5. You will have to prepare. But at a bank, the longer your stay the more rusty your coding will get so the sooner the better.
    Sep 1, 2019 2
    • New oeeL53
      I have an L6 loop at the moment. I know I’m a solid SWE and have risen the ranks to lead multiple teams, but I find it strange to be interviewing for a similar role in FANG when 1. I expect all the FANG SWEs to be top end talent, and 2. I’ve been building internal apps for 10 years, not internet scale / internet facing apps, so feel there are gaps in my experience and knowledge that will be quite key.

      How was your prep and experience? If you went for L6 did you get it? How are you finding it since making the move?
      Sep 1, 2019
    • Amazon / Mgmt codepoet
      I went for L7 and got it but that is unusual.

      I’m assuming you are interviewing for Amazon. If not, then my comments may not apply.

      Not having experience using AWS will not hurt you in the interview. But there will be a design question and this will test your ability to design scalable solutions. Keep in mind that Amazon expects SDEs to design software not just assemble it, so be very careful when using off the shelf software or non horizontally scalable components in your answer. In finance you are probably trained to use whatever is the standard rather than roll your own but that isn’t what the loop is trying to assess.
      Sep 3, 2019
  • New oeeL53
    What do you feel are your chances of getting back into finance for the TC later? Are you willing to give up essentially 12 years of career progression?

    I think this is what prevents a lot of people making the jump. I am in a similar situation (10 YoE, java dev leading a team of 20-25 engineers in finance) and this is my main reservation.

    If I can get an IC role at a tech company for the same TC that would be dope though, as I CBF dealing with other people’s problems and would rather be in a company that sees me as a revenue generator rather than a cost centre.

    I don’t know if the stack in tech companies is all amazing though. There will be some legacy and mundane stuff for sure.
    Aug 30, 2019 1
    • OP
      Depends what you mean by give up. Do I need to have direct reports? Not really, at the end of the day I'm an engineer, what I really like is being a leader in software engineering. I can take it or leave it when it comes to giving people performance reviews, it's just that in banks, having reports is the only way to grow. In either case I'd very much welcome the prospect of having junior members report to me as I feel I have a lot to offer, but maybe that's a pipe dream.

      I'm sure I could get back into finance, but I'd hope the tc in tech is at least comparable if not better. In fact one of the VPs who reports to me now did about 2 years at google before (I'm guessing he was let go) and is obviously now back in finance (started at MS)
      Aug 30, 2019
  • Barclays PLC blinder429
    Why not companies like 2 sigma or Citadel? I appeared for FANG companies but got rejected every where... Just LC isn't going to be good enough....
    Aug 30, 2019 0


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