Context and Background
I’ve given a more detailed overview of my job search stats when I applied for a software developer, product managers, and technical customer-facing roles in my last blog: “My Software Developer Job Search Template, Tips, & Results”.
A fast summary, I applied to ~1083 jobs within a 2 ½ month span and got 2 job offers. And we will talk about the reason why I accepted one over the other.
The Freedom Of Being a Self-Taught Developer
Choosing To Accept Not Becoming a Software Engineer
Back when I was deciding on joining an expensive coding boot camp like HackReactor or App Academy, I was very nervous about the investment and future results.
Early on, I knew I would be content if I didn’t become a software engineer. Had I the opportunity to become one professionally, I would have welcomed it also, but it was not a huge success factor.
Had I fully committed to joining a coding boot camp, I would have been in $20-30K worth of debt.
Next, I will have added pressure to become a developer because of that investment that I will become enslaved to biased choices to become a developer vs picking other career alternatives.
Learning Technical Skills in Web Development & Computer Science foundations
Since I chose the self-taught route, I was about to run lean and agile during my career switch.
I was afforded the option to consider other technical career paths vs just being a software engineer.
Previously, I was doing new business Sales in sales development and account executive work. And I knew Sales was not going to be a long-term career fit.
At a baseline, I knew I would be content with an alternative career path that didn’t involve heavy Sales functions like cold calling, pushing people to buy, etc.
With this understanding, I knew I still needed to upgrade my current skill sets by becoming more technical.
Hence, why I decided to train myself in computer science fundamentals and software development skills concentrated in web development.
I knew knowing how to code will open more doors for my career-wise.
Therefore, when I planned my career switch, I focused on role titles that would benefit from computer science knowledge (data structures & algorithms) and software engineering (frontend web development).
These titles included Product Manager and Sales Engineer like roles since I could leverage my past experience in Sales and Business to make an argument for myself for these career paths.
Validations During My Job Search
During my job search, my mentors and some hiring managers also noted that given my previous work experience and my recent technical skill sets, I should find a hybrid role that sits between engineering and business would be an ideal role or stepping stone.
In fact, I had an interview for a Software Engineer internship role at an infant start-up and the CEO actually pivoted mid-interview and proposed that he would consider me for a role that is a mediator between business and engineering.
I mentioned: “Oh, you mean a Product Manager”. And the CEO agreed.
That role would have involved me acting as a Product Manager to figure out a product roadmap that maps a shared economy business case with the right technologies and tools.
Moreover, also act as a Frontend Engineer working with Angular, Firebase to implement some of the feature roadmaps myself.
Unfortunately, as awesome of a role, this would have been, I declined it because it wasn’t paid really well to meet my living expenses.
Getting That Hybrid Technical, Business Role Offer
Life is strange sometimes. It throws water on your head when the sky is clear, sunny, and cloudless.
Well, for me it was a cold call from an internal company recruiter. Initially, she tried to pitch me on taking a role for an Account Executive role and I almost hung up…
For the love and grace of good God, I am so glad I did not because she turned the conversation and around was like, “Ok, let’s talk about the Technical Customer Success Manager (TCSM) role now”.
Sometimes, good things just come to you and you just don’t ask or seek for it proactively. Such is the mystery of life.
I remember that week, I had 3 on sites. For 3 different roles. A Product Manager interview on Monday, the TCSM role, and a Frontend Engineer role.
Extremely stressful. And surprisingly, I’ve prepared way more for the Product Manager and Frontend Engineer role and didn’t do well on both (obviously, no offer.)
But for the TCSM role, it just worked out and it was quite a mutual natural fit for both parties.
The Results of Smart, Frugal, Hard Work
Then from May to July, job searching. Blasting through 1000~ job applications.
I spent probably less than $5000 for my self-education during the 6 months journey and more than doubled (230%) my annual earning potentials and got a non-entry level role.
The awesome thing about this role is I will still be using my coding skills in the form of technical enablement.
And I will be using SQL for data analysis and business intelligence purposes.
The role is going to be extremely fun because it encompasses 3 skillsets: product/project management, post-sales customer-facing engagement, and frontend development coding skills.
Take those boot camps! 😉 JK you guys have your purpose.
Key Takeaways & Action Items
Moral of The Story?
Be open-minded to other career paths.
Had I been stubborn and only accepted software engineer job opportunities, I wouldn’t have found an equally fun, engaging, rewarding hybrid technical, business role that pays as much as a software engineer.
So one actionable takeaway: be detailed in planning, focused on execution, relentless in resolve, but keep your options open and equally, your palms opened.
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