I would say the worst among them is … IV incompetency.

Millions of local developers with clean record …. actually lose out completely because of tech skills.


##%%comfortable position among peers

##[19] living%%dream life, here-n-now is more useful because I need to progressively shift my focus away from peer-comparison. and focus more on comparison to my past.

We instinctively know, to varying degrees, where we stand among our chosen peer group. On some games I feel I am unlikely to improve my relative standing, so I need to reconcile:
* kids academics
* brank — I didn’t say “income”
* double income, white-collar wife

On other “fronts”, I feel confident to maintain my comfortable position relative to peers:

  1. (  roughly ranked by surprise ! )
  2. sg citizenship — low-cost health care, car-free, property tax
  3. work-till-70, life-long learning, access to age-friendly job markets
  4. stable marriage, valuable support from grandparents
  5. lower fear of job loss, lower work stress .. thanks to contract
  6. wellness
  7. mobility across multiple job markets
  8. home ownership — low maintenance
  9. top college — relaxed attitude towards and some insight
  10. coding IV — benchmarked against my age group on Wall St
  11. QQ IV beyond coreJava — c++, c# ..
  12. cashflow — burn rate, retirement planning, ffree

##[18] 4 qualities I admire ] peers #!!status

I ought to admire my peers’ [1] efforts and knowledge (not their STATUS) on :

  1. personal wellness
  2. parenting
  3. personal finance, not only investment and burn rate
  4. mellowness to cope with the multitude of demands, setbacks, disappointments, difficulties, realities about the self and the competition
  5. … to be Compared to
    • zbs, portable GTD, not localSys
    • how to navigate and cope with office politics and big-company idiosyncrasies.

Even though some of my peers are not the most /accomplished/ , they make a commendable effort. That attitude is admirable.

[1] Many people crossing my path are … not really my peers, esp. those managers in China. Critical thinking required.

I don’t have a more descriptive title..

##@55, Safer2b manager or hands-on dev@@

Hi Shanyou,

Based on your observations, when I reach 55, do you think it’s safer as a manager or a hands-on developer? “Safer” in the presence of

  1. competition from younger generation
  2. competition from same age group or older
  3. new, disruptive technologies
  4. technology obsolescence (what I call technology “churn”).
  5. outsourcing

Among these threats, my concern is primarily #1 but what about you?

financial IT profession: !! so bad #long pre-retirement#Daniel

See also a profession u Enjoy with good {income+barrier}

(A letter I didn’t send out) Hi Daniel,

I think the programmer profession (financial software dev in particular) is not that bad:

  • Career Longevity — (I will delay or completely skip retirement) Reasonable in the U.S. Some professions (like doctors, accountants, teachers) are even better. but most professions (90% of the U.S. working population) can’t expect to have such a salary at age 65, including executives, lawyers, quants… Why do we always envy those guys?
    • Age discrimination — better than most professions including managers
  • Entry barrier — formidable, comparable to doctors or lawyers. See ##行行出状元,但有几个行业不容易出头
  • market depth — see salary probabilities(distro): mgr^NBA#market depth 
  • Job security — actually reasonable, despite the threat of globalization and threat from younger guys. I think the high entry barrier in financial IT is to our advantage
    • I was told some managers have job security concerns too
    • I was told U.S. university professors also face elimination (淘汰).
  • Work Stress — Significant variation across firms and across teams, but generally more stress than other professions.
  • Workload — much higher than other professions. Programming is a knowledge-intensive job.
  • Job market demand — very high for IT skills. Therefore people from other professions are drawn here.
    • Market depth is excellent. You can find plenty of jobs from $50k (easy to cope) to $300k
  • Income — well above average among all professions. Just look at national statistics and world-wide statistics.
  • not a sunset industry, not under threat like music, movie, journalism.
  • knowledge intensive, challenging complexity, engaging, but without excessive mental stress.

lower pressure to move up ] U.S.^sg

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

social class]U.S. n%%chosen tech domain

I used to feel US is a less class-conscious society than China or Singapore. Anyone can make it in this “free”, meritocratic country. Then “insiders” tell me about the old boy’s circle, and the alumni circles on Wall St.

I feel in any unequal, hierarchical society, there are invisible walls between social strata. I was lucky to be an immigrant in technology. If I step out of tech into management, I am likely to face class, racial bias/affinity and … I would no longer be “in-demand” as in tech. Look at the number of Chinese managers in GS. Many make VP but few rise further.

Therefore the tech role is a sweet spot for an immigrant techie like me. Beside Tech, a few professions are perhaps less hierarchical – trading, medical, academic, research(?), teaching …

if you have a technical mind

If you have a technical mind, financial IT (and Silicon Valley) rewards you better than other industries I know.

In Singapore, I worked (or know people working) in telecom, manufacturing, university R&D, online gaming, logistics, search engine .. These companies all “value” your technical mind too, but they don’t generate enough profit to reward you as trading shops do.

Raymond Teo pointed out the project budget for a big government project would be a few million, whereas the trading profit supported by a mid-sized trading platform would be tens of millions (possibly hundreds of millions)  a year.

Culture is another factor… what type of contribution is considered important and highly valued…