It’s graduation season again and kids fresh out of college are out there looking for or choosing jobs. One of them posted a question over at the PhRUG Facebook Group last week and I replied a lengthy series of comments.

I just thought it would be timely to repost them here and make a blog post out of them.

Original question:

Good morning mga sir/ma’am! Tell me if this topic isn’t welcome in this group. 🙂

I’m a computer engineering student, graduating this april 24.

I need to choose between Accenture and X-Company (private name 🙂 ). This X-Company uses Ruby on Rails. Later at 8PM I’ll be having my Final Assessment in Accenture for Associate Software Engineer position. At 3PM, I have an appointment (probably Job Offer too) in X-company. I need to submit my very very very first web app (is this the right term?) made in Ruby on Rails to them. The bosses there instructed me to do a basic web app made in RoR for me to get hired.

My question is: Are there lots of companies in the Philippines which use RoR? Naiinspired (let’s just say, medyo naiinggit na naiinspired) ako sa ibang tao na nakikita ko na 6-digits ang sahod nila as Senior Software Engineers. I can’t go into that position kapag sa web ako, diba? Although in that X-Company, the possibility na maging pioneer ako is very high. Kasi starting company palang ito dito sa Pilipinas. Ang orig branch niya ay nasa Canada.

I think the misconception here is that web developers are not software engineers.

Yes, some people who setup WordPress and pirate themes can be considered “web developers”. But there are also enterprise web developers that build web applications for large companies (e.g. government and financial institutions), and they are also called “software engineers”. Even this site you’re on right now is being built and maintained by highly paid web developer software engineers.

And here comes the reality check: hindi ka makakapili ng “magandang career”. It’s what you make of what life gives you that will determine if your career will be successful or not.

Maybe if you accept the Accenture gig, you’ll be on the fast track to being a senior dev in a few years. Or maybe you’ll be unlucky and get assigned to a horrible team and a death-march project then get burned out in a shorter span of time.

Maybe if you push on with learning Rails, it will finally click into your head and you’ll get a 6 digit salary by your second year from your day job and freelance work combined. Or maybe you just won’t get it and decide to move on to something different like mobile development.

Point here is that either way is good. No one can predict where life can take you, so please don’t think of this choice as a “do-or-die” one. As long as you invest a good portion your time to personal growth (e.g. studying technology/business/finance, expanding your personal and professional network, keeping yourself healthy, etc), and in turn, significantly increase the opportunities available to you, you do not need to worry about the outcome of this decision.

someone else’s response:

IMHO, don’t let the $alary be your driver for your career.. but, your passion.

Passion is great, and passionate people get far in this industry.

However, keep in mind that many people will try to abuse your passion. It’s no surprise that overtime (paid or unpaid) is very common in this industry.

As for salary, I’d say it’s also important – but you must quickly learn how to manage your finances. A person earning 40k (net) but spends all of it on stuff that fails to make him happy is obviously worse off than a person earning 20k who saves 8k (or more) after spending only on necessities and stuff that she really enjoys. Then there are other stuff like credit cards, investments, avoiding scams, etc BUT THIS IS A RUBY GROUP, DAMMIT! so I won’t talk about them.

One thing that’s definitely more important than salary is TRAINING. Being paid well as a junior developer doesn’t matter if you don’t have good mentors around to show you the ropes and teach you good practices early on.

a side comment to close things out:

Bryan Bibat ibang level talaga ang advice mo *bow*

*shrugs*

It’s not rocket science, people who have gotten out of the rat race will give you pretty much the same advice (most people don’t get out of the rat race, though). I just wish someone would’ve given me that type of advice in my first years of work rather than learning them the hard way. Would’ve spared me years of suicidal depression.

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