Tech Sketches

Career Safety in Tech

August 04, 2020

Entrepreneurship is glorified in the US, especially in tech.

As an entry level software engineer, you have many paths to a successful career.

  • Machine learning engineer
  • DevOps
  • Application engineer
  • Product manager
  • Staff engineer/CTO
  • Engineering manager/VPE

What are the risks of starting your own company? There’s an opportunity cost alongside the cost of any money you put into it yourself. But when the time comes to leave/sell/shut down your startup, you have options for other companies to join. The downside is losing your principal investment (time, money, heart, reputation, etc.).

When you buy a house that stretches your budget, the downside can be much worse (lose your house, lose your money). Jobs that require physical exertion like garbage collection or carpentry risk downsides in harm to your body. Becoming disabled temporarily and unable to work is far more common than most people expect.

Software is an expanding universe of possibility that has no end in sight. The window of time to build something valuable is not closing anytime soon. Yes, dominant paradigms and techologies change all the time, but the fundamental feature of software addressing human needs is evergreen.

If you want to choose a safe career in a steady industry, choose tech.


Written by Andrew Lin who lives in New York.

© 2020