Comments (24)

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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Aug 16, 2020 - 8:36pm

Apples and oranges. But if you're good, I think the below is pretty accurate. Unless you're a real genius (and the fact you're considering both tech and IB suggests that you aren't), don't plan on working your way to the upper levels at Google or the like purely on engineering merit.

  • SWE at FAANG is low risk / medium reward / light workload
  • Being a career banker is also fairly low risk / high reward / heavy workload
  • SWE at startups is high risk / very high reward / medium - heavy workload

Also, I should add that SWE requires more of an interest in the work than IB. It's not intellectually difficult, but coding day in, day out is not tenable over a 20 year career unless you enjoy what you're doing. After a summer internship at faang I realized it wasn't for me, so I pivoted to banking.

Aug 17, 2020 - 3:51am
tdmk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Doesn't IB also require interest in the work? Or banging out excel sheets and pumping bullshit powerpoints 80hrs/week for 10 years before starting to pitch to clients about your juniors doing that same bullshit is totally fine?

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Aug 17, 2020 - 6:28pm

Not to the same degree, no. Talk to senior SWEs vs senior bankers and you'll see what I mean.

Aug 18, 2020 - 12:03pm
KOL A, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The roles and responsibilites of a banker shift as one becomes more senior.

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 18, 2020 - 5:18pm

Lol @ light workload. Unless you want to be a mediocre performer @ FAANG, you're not gonna be working 9-5. Many people do 60+ hour weeks, which is definitely nicer than IB, but not a light workload by any means, as the work in SWE is much more intellectually demanding than it is in IB

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 24, 2021 - 4:31pm

Hey, I know this is an older post, but I'm wondering if you can comment on how you got a FAANG internship early in undergrad. What kinds of internships did you have before that and how did you secure them? Was there networking involved for faang? How did you study for coding interviews?

Aug 17, 2020 - 7:35pm
jlcfan1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You also need to actually know how to code to get a SWE gig at a FAANG. Whereas any kid at a target school can read the M&I 400 and have a reasonable shot at banking

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 17, 2020 - 9:31pm

I think I might be able to contribute to this. I want to do IB and my dad's a VP in software engineering. His role is actually fairly interesting as he works for a BB, so a lot of the software he works on developing is in financial technology that people in a variety of FO roles use. Objectively speaking, it's a cushy lifestyle. He makes about 200k before taxes (although he's a VP so if you compare that to banking, it's not great), but he's also always left the office by 5 and been home by 6. Never missed my or my sister's practices, games, recitals, and performances as a kid and I truly appreciate that. Sure, money was a little tight when paying for college, but I'd MUCH rather take some loans out than have had my dad grind banker hours throughout my childhood (although the hours get better in banking from what I've heard).

Now, the actual work. He doesn't really face clients much and although he is a VP, he doesn't seem to be managing too many juniors (again this might just be based off of what I see). He does a LOT of coding. You would think that as you rise you do less and less coding, but this just isn't true. I don't know much about coding (my dad tried to push me into it but I never found it interesting), but I do know that he does a lot of it. Given that he enjoys coding, he can spend time with his family, and sustain a comfortable lifestyle in a nice suburb, I would say it's a pretty decent gig.

At the same time, the skillsets required for IB and software engineering are miles apart. Miles. Like other posters have mentioned, you have to be proficient in coding to get in. Interviews are thus more meritocratic (you can't really network you're way in because you still have to be a good coder at the end of the day) and you'll see a wider range of schools on teams. At my dad's BBs, he has colleagues that have backgrounds from really shitty colleges (he himself is a nontarget). Banking recruiting doesn't seem to be like this. It's not as meritocratic and the materials required for an interview aren't hard. In fact, given my dad's role (the blend between SWE and finance), he knows a lot about finance and he's honestly really smart in that area (this doesn't really apply for those that are looking at roles in FAANG).

Like other posters have mentioned, you're comparing apples and oranges. Vastly different jobs in every metric you can use to make comparisons. Good luck!

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 17, 2020 - 11:27pm

As someone who did a SWE summer internship at a FAANG before switching to IB, passing SWE interviews is really not as difficult as people on WSO make it appear to be. I took two introductory level programming courses and then looked at the "cracking the coding interview" guide, and was able to land multiple good SWE gigs. It's really not that much different than prepping for interviews in other industries if you put the same amount of time into it. Coding just seems really complex to people who haven't tried learning it before.

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Aug 18, 2020 - 12:06am
Analyst 1 in IB-M&A:
As someone who did a SWE summer internship at a FAANG before switching to IB, passing SWE interviews is really not as difficult as people on WSO make it appear to be. I took two introductory level programming courses and then looked at the "cracking the coding interview" guide, and was able to land multiple good SWE gigs. It's really not that much different than prepping for interviews in other industries if you put the same amount of time into it. Coding just seems really complex to people who haven't tried learning it before.

Agreed with this (also interned at a FAANG as a SWE prior to consulting ft) - another point to add is that as much as people on WSO hate diversity hiring in IB, diversity hiring in SWE is much more blatant at FAANG (e.g., Grace Hopper)

Aug 18, 2020 - 4:38pm
YuugeCREGuy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What are you after in life? They both offer prestige in their own regard.

Work Life Balance and low stress for good pay? Go for SWE. You can always pivot to another area in the FAANG company IF you are capable and motivated to learn. Do SWE and get an MBA... that's ideal.

Do IB if you're after stability and great pay. Luckily, I worked ina group that I truly enjoy (RE) so it wasn't so bad for me. My hours were manageable and I had a very normal stress level. I still left to pursue REPE/development because that's what I'm truly into

Array
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Jan 4, 2021 - 4:35am
former ib-slave, what's your opinion? Comment below:

most of the comments are comparing apples to oranges:

in finance you don't really make good money (1MM+) until you reach the director / md level wheras in tech at director+ compensation is 1MM+. Comparing a vanilla sr swe who makes 500k to an md at centerview is idiotic. bottom line both pay well and wlb is better in tech.

Feb 25, 2021 - 1:55am
DadJokesAreOverrated, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel like people on WSO tend to inflate SWE pay. My uncle is also a SWE and he just turned 40. He started at a BB and then moved to a hedge fund. Like the other poster mentioned, my uncle is also on around $200k (including bonus). So he's basically on associate 1 pay or even less (depending on who you comparing it to) and he's in his early 40s so his pay likely won't have much room to grow anymore. He is also a die hard programmer and all he wants to do is code so he doesn't really care about climbing to the top (and he said true programmers normally just wanna code and nuffink more).

Life is good and cozy for him. He leads a 9-6 / 7 work life, sometimes hitting midnight but maybe only once or twice every month or two. He has one kid and doesn't think he can afford more.

Feb 26, 2021 - 9:23pm
b3h3lit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

No, it's just that the majority of people on WSO live in the US. I personally know someone that had 1.5 years SWE exp at a boomer tech co (think Cisco, HP, etc) that got hired at Dropbox and makes ~250k total comp. They will prob hit 350-400k in the next 2-3 years.

There's a reason that when you go to the google HQ on a tour around lunch time you'll hear groups of people speaking different languages (russians, chinese, japanese, etc, etc). The pay is 5-10x as much for top SWE here than most other countries and 2-3x as much compared to other first world countries.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 30, 2021 - 10:25pm

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