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My Career Forks

Over the past couple months, I’ve busied myself with finding offers of other employment. IMS (now Zodiac Inflight Innovations) has not given me the career growth that I initially anticipated. I find that, though they are getting better, management has been fairly schizophrenic. All the time chasing to put out fires and very little of the time investing in software quality practices that prevent such emergencies.

I interviewed with Google twice. Once last month at the Irvine Office for a position as Sr. Software Engineer. They decided not to hire at that time, because my performance during the interview was “on the edge.” However, their recruiters reached out later to have me interview for a Software Engineer in Test position. I subsequently read the book “How Google Tests Software” and was quite impressed with the specialist role. It’s more of a framework and tools builder for the other engineers, all with the goal of improving quality.

During the time between interviews, the kind fellows at JobSpring Partners, who helped me get hired by IMS (now Zodiac Inflight Innovations), followed up to discover that I was indeed unsatisfied with the career growth opportunities in my current position. They connected me with Fisker Automotive, which is rebuilding a team of software engineers so that they can rewrite the infotainment software that controls the Karma.

So, I stand at a cross-roads in my career. Do I choose a smaller company and pursue technical leadership, or choose the well-established and pursue technical skills growth? I did an analysis, to help myself decide. I would be comfortable with either choice in everything but the “Daily Work” category.

Daily work
– google: code monkey
fisker: system designer, software architecture

Skills improvement
– google: software engineering, how to program “at scale”
– fisker: technical leadership

Personal Interactions
– google: smart, competent programmers
– fisker: upper management

Social Capital
– google: larger number of co-workers, can jump to other projects
– fisker: customer interaction

Technical Capital
– google: lots already in place, but must find a project to exploit it
– fisker: little, have to organize it all myself

Industry
– google: has wide variety of projects (incl. computational finance)
– fisker: automotive, embedded, gui design

On Paper:
– google: I have google on my resume, with crazy job title (they let you make one up)
– fisker: I put “declined an offer from google to work for fisker” on my resume

The Exit
– google: find a startup that wants a googler
– fisker: an associated business, competitor or customer, recruits me for tech leadership skills

Likely Outcomes
– google: I work maintaining someone else’s system. Learn big system design.
Fail to grow my social network because I focus on little problems for my immediate boss.
Could reach out to work on computational finance or bitcoin-inspired distributed systems.
Google will use internally whatever I make. (I don’t keep anything when leaving)
– fisker: I develop/design a system, learn and teach others about system design, continuous delivery.
Grow my technical leadership skills by promoting design techniques to a smaller team.
People outside the company will value the final product.
Can have some influence on the direction of the business.

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