Five Years In

This week marks five years as a professional software engineer. A lot has changed in those five years - I’ve grown and changed, but the industry has shifted too, especially as it relates to bootcamp grads. Careers are also deeply personal. There are so many different reasons that people might make different choices. I talked to a handful of people about their career trajectories when I was three years in— I honestly don’t feel a whole lot more clarity now than I did then. But I do have a better understanding of what the options are. And: I have a trajectory of my own that can, if nothing else, be a data point for what a career could look like, five-years in. So that’s all this is: a single data point.

A note, because context matters: I have the privileges of being a white, able-bodied, cis-gendered woman without caregiving responsibilities.

Graduated from Turing School of Software and Design, a seven-month program focusing on Ruby & Rails. I have two liberal arts degrees from a public university and had been working in public schools previously.

Hired as an Associate Software Engineer at a pre-Series A company, as the 15th employee and 4th engineer.

Promoted to Software Engineer at the same startup, with associated raise. A note: Things can move more quickly at startups than at larger companies. They don’t, always, but they can. At least early on, there are not always established career ladders or review cycles that limit when promotions and raises can occur.

I don’t remember the exact month, but at some point, outside the formalized performance review cycle, was given a 25% raise as part of an effort to “normalize salaries.”

Given a raise as part of standard annual performance reviews. This was slightly more than a year since my previous raise, since the company had grown and standardized cycles/times of year in which people were given salary and leveling adjustments.

Promoted to Senior Software Engineer, with associated raise - still at the startup, but I did some job hunting the fall and summer preceding this.

Left the startup and was hired as a Senior Software Engineer at mid-sized publicly traded company.

No one can predict the future! While I’m always open to the idea that I’ll change my mind, I’m not currently planning on pursuing management. That means the next stop is likely Staff Engineer, but that’s probably a few years down the road. In the meantime, I’m focusing on continuing to hone my skillet and working with good people!