Breaking into Tech: Program Manager or Software Engineer?

Hi Elphas,

I need advice.

I am a final year computer science college student and its that time to decide which career to break into. For the longest time I have fantasized about being a software engineer. However, my last internship was as a Program Manager which I enjoyed and realized its something I would also like to pursue as a career. Yet, I feel the life of a software engineer matches quiet well with my personality.

So im here because, I am applying for fresher jobs or Junior roles in engineering but my work experience is that of a program manager. By the way I am also a supervisor of a group python and robotics tutors. So on my resume, I seem more like someone with leadership experience and project management and not much of a software engineer since I have only a few projects.

Somehow I feel this is why I get rejected for all of the software engineering junior and internship roles i apply to.

Any advice? Should join Program Management where i think it would be easier to break into since i have more experience or should I pursue software engineering which would require me to work harder since I have no work experience here.

Please help

Keep trying to get a role as a software engineer!Why?1. It’s possible to switch from software engineering to product manager but harder to go the other way later. If you do become a product manager later, you will be a better one for having spent time as a software engineer. 2. Software engineering plays about 50% more. 3. It’s easier to find a job as a software engineer once you are trained. 4. We need more women software engineers.
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You should see my smile right now . Thank you Soo much. Those are very good reasons and reminds me of why I was fantasizing about software engineering in the first place. Thank you
Regardless of which route you choose, beware of the grass is greener thought :).I disagree it's easier to switch from software engineering to product (it took me 7 years to do so). However, your question is about program management and not product management. General rule of thumb is regardless of what career and title you start in, once you get experience as a certain title, you'll always get more projects for that title. The vertical growth in that title will happen far more easily (so junior, senior software engineer, project manager, sr. project manager etc.) and you will become more and more specialized. Software engineering - no authority to influence/decide what gets built. At best you can recommend. Yes, if you have serious clout, you will be heard and that may have a bearing but usually principal engineers and sr engineers with a very high degree of visibility can do this. In other words, if you are going to lean into your introversion, it won't bother you in the beginning but discontent will show up later (like it did for me). Yes, software engineering pays well and overall if you move into people management (manager of software engineers, director of managers etc) it'll be huge. My background - bachelors (computer science), MS (info systems). Super passionate about building software during my undergrad days and writing code and learning about best practices was a magical world. Moved from associate s/w engineer to software engineer to sr s/w engineer and if I had to write another line of code I would have died. From magical to monotony and suffocating: I came a long way.I've only worked for bigger organizations where the products are very mature. So you'll only do refactoring and migration work majority of the times. If you enjoy it, start as an engineer and then switch or continue as an engineer if you still like it 5-10 years later.However, if there's anything I've learnt from my career - be proactive in managing your career. Your boss is not accountable for owning your career. You can change your career again, and again but you should understand how long is too long to wait for something. If you don't receive support for your career interests, as it happens sometimes in bigger organizations, MOVE from that place. The first sign of disgruntlement should be taken seriously by you. I tried to suck it up under thoughts of "I should have a good work ethic", "I should see the positive in this", "at least I have a job". Good luck!