Reading 2022-03-07


  • Ref:: Bitfield Consulting
  • Title:: A career ending mistake
  • Author:: John Arundel
  • Year of publication:: 2022
  • Category:: Blog
  • Topic::
  • Related:: Hacker News

Notes from reading

Again, reading the discussion in Hacker News is way much more motivational than the original article. Generally, they discussed about how someone evaluate and make career changes, even at the age of 40+. Although, I doubt that it will work only if you are financial independent. When you have a family with dependents, this would be just another luxury item in your wish list.

barrkel: You learn different things at startups vs FAANG. As a company scales up, coordinating effort across teams becomes more important for getting stuff done. At FAANG, coordination is the name of the game and it's so meeting heavy because it's a lot of work to keep everyone aligned, on the same page. You can learn interesting technical things either way, but it's easier to find a niche as a specialist at a large company. Startups usually need generalists in the early days.

brabel: in that area of work, when you're pretty good, you tend to stay right where you are for the rest of your life. My peers had been doing the same thing I was doing for 25 years. I just couldn't see myself doing that. I changed to the night shift and went to university during the day. I just loved being in the university again, this time as the older guy rather than the clueless teenager. Took classes very seriously, learned a hell of a lot. I am really happy working with software, I work on my own software even on my spare time because I just can't stop

hnthrowaway0315: How do we plan the end of our philosophical life? That is, when do we be content enough and say to ourselves: "OK if I die now, I can at least say that I have done something this life and did not waste all of my time". Reflecting on that, I have to say that if I were to die now, I probably believe that all of my life is wasted.

gregfjohnson: I'm 67, and am in the final stages of my career. This article resonated, and made a lot of sense based on my own personal experiences. Early in my career, my head was full of fantasies and ambitions about entrepreneurship, being a founder, being a leader, etc. It took a long while for me to realize that I am not a leader, and am much more of an individual contributor. It was liberating to accept my true nature, and to go with it. At the age of 50 I did a career direction change and took a new job doing embedded software for medical devices. Been doing it ever since, and find my life to be rich and meaningful. Software people are blessed at this point in history, in that we have a lot of options. You can make good money, support your family and provide for retirement etc., while at the same time doing something that you enjoy and find meaningful. It was kinda terrifying for me to take a leap into the unknown mid-career and start doing something that I believed in, but it worked out well.

dhairya: We are conflating being smart really with being self-motivated. Also being in the right environment is very important. if you are willing to put in the time and effort and stick with it, you can learn anything and make the jump career wise. If you want to break into a technical field from a non-technical background, the better indicator of success will be grit, perseverance, and self motivation. Learning becomes easier if you are motivated to learn and when its hard still stick with it.

dhairya: My own journey has been quite nonlinear both in terms of roles (business systems analyst -> data analyst -> technical project manager -> data scientist -> AI research scientist) and environments (F100 -> academia -> startups). My undergrad (creative writing and social sciences) would not have predicted my current role (Senior AI researcher focusing on deep learning and NLP) and I still have no idea where I want to end up. It can be hard to imagine and project your potential. Often our journeys are not linear and we have hard time factoring who we will be in future as sum of our experiences. Often that growth in knowledge and life experiences will be exponential even though to us it may feel linear in the present. I also find it useful to think about problems instead roles. I've had roles that didn't exist 10 years ago and likewise new problem spaces are always emerging. Problems don't necessarily have to be domain specific or role specific but generally describe the types of challenges you find interesting. Once I identify a problem space I start to think about how I would like to make an impact and how I can currently make an impact. But I find the metaphor of problems interesting because it helps align the type of work I do with the things I find interesting at any given point. It also helps narrow the search space for opportunities and ensure what type of career growth is meaningful for you.