In U.S., the overall income differences between a hands-on developer vs a leadership role is smaller.
UE: U.S. engineers; UM: U.S. managers; SE: Sgp engineers; SM: Sgp managers;
- salary — UE much better than SE. The few high salaries in SE are too rare and unreachable
- career longevity — UE clearly better than SE; UE probably better than SM too.
- job security — UE much better than SE due to abundance of similar jobs; UE probably better than SM
- fungible — UE can move into technical UM and back, more easily, thanks to abundance of jobs
- tech lead, architect roles — UE can move up in that direction more easily than SE, thanks to abundance of jobs. SM and UM may not have enough technical capabilities.
Economy — I feel hands-on specialists are more central to the U.S. economy and U.S. companies than in other countries. In Singapore, manager is by far the most instrumental and dominant role.
For a Chinese techie in the U.S. the prospect of managerial path is limited. Most of these managers won’t rise beyond the entry-level. And then consider your own background relative to the average Chinese here.
My tentative conclusion is
- focus on GC for now. After getting GC,
- pick a firm that might be good for my longevity and try to move up.
- if not suitable or not lucky then feel free to move on