Need some programming career advice
July 24, 2014 8:15 PM Subscribe
Need some special snowflake programming career advice.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
OK, I know, it's a boom time for the entire tech industry. And I'm doing OK, but not great. I don't even know what kind of job I want. Help.
- I live in Minneapolis. My wife has a non-tech job she loves here and she really, really doesn't want to move elsewhere. But the software job market here is very limited. If I were in a big city I wouldn't be asking this question.
- My career so far: I got a CS degree, couple brief IT jobs, I got into a relatively decent CS PhD program but dropped out after finishing all the course work and a few super minor papers (family member died and I needed a break). A bit after that fiasco I got offered a position at a large old-line tech company (think IBM or HP) which happens to have a little office here. I talked my way into a high profile project within the company, and for 2 years I was one of like 8 developers on a brand new big thing. I did everything from write C code to do test scripts to talk to actual customers, and I rocked at it. That project was cancelled after we already started making money (no clue why) and I'm currently maintaining some very old boring code for the same people (and browsing the web too much at work). Time to change.
- I'm relatively personable and extroverted for a software engineer. On the other hand, I don't have the kind of intense focus and persistence that makes for a really top-tier software engineer. I'm good at presentations. I'm American so unlike most of my peers visas aren't an issue.
- I make about 110K total, which would be very low for me in a techier city (according to Glassdoor), but seems to be the very high end for here. The cost of living here is lower than the West Coast... but not as low as salaries are. My wife makes about the same as I do and we've been saving around 50% of our take home for years, so taking an irregularly paying contract job would be ok.
Basically my dream job would be to work 30 hours a week in something that's very independent, hands-on, and people-focused, rather than my current life which is 50 hours a week doing exactly what people tell me to do while sitting alone in a dark windowless room. I either want a lot more money or a lot more time off. If I stay on my current path the only real way up is by grinding for 4 or 5 years until I get into management, and that doesn't really meet any of my goals.
So what direction do I go? Independent consulting? Project management at a smaller company (my current people want an MBA for that)? Sales engineering? I'm really pretty lost here and I could use some guidance. All the people I know seem married to their jobs (maybe a Midwestern thing) and basically refuse to even contemplate reaching for something better, so I'm not getting a lot of help IRL.