How the Other Half Works: an Adventure in the Low Status of Software Engineers

This is really an amazing read for anyone who claims that there is a tech shortage in Silicon Valley. Your typical software engineer is treated much like your 19th century factory worker. Time and time again I have gone to one company with a great career path, only to have that future thwarted by hires that fill positions that I could “grow into” and build my career. Apparently that’s not allowed as a Software developer. I can take my creative mind and only apply it to someone else’s technical demands, but not use that talent to build my career. hmmm… and you wonder why we can’t find decent engineers these days.

Originally posted on Michael O. Church:

Bill (not his real name, and I’ve fuzzed some details to protect his identity) is a software engineer on the East Coast, who, at the time (between 2011 and 2014) of this story, had recently turned 30 and wanted to see if he could enter a higher weight class on the job market. In order to best assess this, he applied to two different levels of position at roughly equivalent companies: same size, same level of prestige, same U.S. city on the West Coast. To one company, he applied as a Senior Software Engineer. To the other, he applied for VP of Data Science.

Bill had been a Wall Street quant and had “Vice President” in his title, noting that VP is a mid-level and often not managerial position in an investment bank. His current title was Staff Software Engineer, which was roughly Director-equivalent. He’d taught a couple of courses and…

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