I've worked in IT & technology for 10 years - Ask Me Anything

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Final Fantasy
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Thought I'd make a thread on this as many of my posts in other threads tend to get copied anyway due to giving very similar advice.

Bit of background:

- Started off as a junior backend developer working on APIs
- Went on to mid level development roles
- Worked up to senior development roles
- Went into contracting, one of the most lucrative paths in the world
- Past few years I've been working as lead engineer, technical lead and managing teams, hiring / interviewing other engineers, but also keeping hands-on as well. I often liaise with recruitment agencies via LinkedIn and have a large following there.

Tech stack:

- Backend APIs e.g. PHP, Node etc. and all the popular frameworks
- Familiar with frontend JS frameworks and libraries
- Databases e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
- Cloud infrastructure eg. AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean
- Automation e.g. CI/CD (Jenkins, CircleCI etc.), Containerisation (Docker, Kubernetes), Terraform / CloudFormation, Ansible and so on
- Version Control e.g. GitHub, Atlassian products (BitBucket) and SVN
- Server and DB administration
- Microservices, Serverless, VMs

Companies:

- Startups
- Small - Medium (mainly eCommerce)
- Enterprise (SpecSavers, Lloyds Banking, Virgin Media and some financial services)
- Liaise with many other enterprise businesses since most of them have some sort of connection or contracts in place for services

Engineering team sizes were on average around 6 - 12 (usually the optimal number for one team in the industry, any more should be split up). My colleagues range from apprentices all the way to seniors and we liaise with other companies and departments

Permanent Salaries (outside London, average or low-end):

Apprentices: £16K - £18K
Juniors: £20K - £25K
Graduates: £25K - £35K
Mid-Level: £35K - £45K
Senior: £45K - £65K
Lead: £55K - £75K
Head of department: £65K - £90K
CTO: £125K and beyond

Contract Salaries converted to annual:

Software Engineering: £150K and beyond
DevOps: £200K and beyond

Note: contracts are more complicated as it depends on the country and tax situation and if in the UK whether inside or outside IR35 and whether you're using your own LTD company or an Umbrella.

Ask Me Anything:

Let me know if you have any questions or need advice about careers in IT and technology. Specifically I am most familiar with software engineering and DevOps.
Last edited by Final Fantasy; 3 months ago
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username5770391
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What do you think of the current state of software security? What do you think are current best practices, do they work and do you think they're regularly followed? What would you change to make the software development process more secure?
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Final Fantasy
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General:
- HTTP2 and SSL
- Established 3rd party open-source services that are well documented, rather than maintaining your own bespoke service
- Don't use passwords, opt company-wide keys to be used instead or other non-password solutions
- Work from home should use VPN and SSH keys, some businesses also add IP restrictions specific to your home
- Cloud infrastructure vs in-house for production and relevant insurance in place
- GDPR training
- Two-factor Authentication

From a software engineering perspective, automation is the future:
- A good branching strategy with version control, using CI/CD tools to automate and trigger the tests which run in containers, when passed, deploys to the relevant server
- Unit tests, E2E testing and integration tests
- Instead of managing and maintaining dozen servers, opt for automation via something like Terraform, removing as much human input as possible for the SDLC process. Automation scripts can follow coding process and kept version controlled and reviewed.
- Databases should be in a managed cluster, encrypted, loadbalanced, HA and failover
- Coding industry standards, code reviews with a formal process in place for pull requests and merging code
- Separation of concern, SOLID principles, etc.
- JWT authentication and OAuth2
- Microservices and containerisation

Whether standards are practiced depends much on the company culture and team. There should be up-to-date well documented processes in place for everything - unfortunately many companies don't do this and will prioritise business revenue vs security.
Last edited by Final Fantasy; 3 months ago
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username5770391
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(Original post by Final Fantasy)
- HTTP2 and SSL
Oh god, please no. But in all seriousness, I assume you mean TLS and this is just the old "SSL vs TLS" debate

(Original post by Final Fantasy)
unfortunately many companies don't do this and will prioritise business revenue vs security.
Keeps me in a job I guess.
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Final Fantasy
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Woops, yes TLS v1.3 - NOT SSL!
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POP977NOW
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Does the school you go to matter
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Moonlight Rain
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How much are you making a year
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Final Fantasy
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(Original post by POP977NOW)
Does the school you go to matter
No this does not matter at all. It will never come up in conversations either. In fact, nobody hardly ever talks about university or degrees either. Experience and previous roles and your interest in technologies is where it's at when it comes to discussions - mainly tech news and geeky stuff.
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Final Fantasy
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(Original post by Moonlight rain)
How much are you making a year
This will vary a lot because I switch up contracts and some perm roles. It also depends on the location and if it's remote work or not. My next contract I will start in July at £650 per day for initially 6 months, and will get extended to 12 months if they can sign off. They are looking to add additional engineers to the team.

If you want to work out how much is made in each year, you can use this calculator: https://www.contractorcalculator.co....alculator.aspx
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Moonlight Rain
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(Original post by Final Fantasy)
This will vary a lot because I switch up contracts and some perm roles. It also depends on the location and if it's remote work or not. My next contract I will start in July at £650 per day for initially 6 months, and will get extended to 12 months if they can sign off. They are looking to add additional engineers to the team.

If you want to work out how much is made in each year, you can use this calculator: https://www.contractorcalculator.co....alculator.aspx
Geez, you'll be rich!!! Good luck
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Superstar786
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Any ideas on unit 17 internet of everything p4 and p5 assignments much appreciated
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Final Fantasy
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(Original post by Superstar786)
Any ideas on unit 17 internet of everything p4 and p5 assignments much appreciated
I'm not sure what that means. Is this a school assignment?
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jenerous
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What have you enjoyed the most and the least during your ten years of experience in the sector?
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Superstar786
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(Original post by Final Fantasy)
I'm not sure what that means. Is this a school assignment?
No it’s a college assignment for unit 17 P4:
Prepare a business proposal for the chosen development project
P5:
Deliver a business proposal pitch to potential stakeholders on the chosen development project
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Final Fantasy
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(Original post by Superstar786)
No it’s a college assignment for unit 17 P4:
Prepare a business proposal for the chosen development project
P5:
Deliver a business proposal pitch to potential stakeholders on the chosen development project
For my university project I developed a bespoke content management system. What have you decided on?
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Superstar786
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(Original post by Final Fantasy)
For my university project I developed a bespoke content management system. What have you decided on?
I’m not sure can you please give me any suggestions and name of devices that I can further develop on
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neal95
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It’s interesting that you mention enterprise companies, as they are the clients I will be working with when I enter the tech industry.

In your opinion, do you think the pace of change and willingness to adopt serverless technology will continue with these companies going into the future, or do you think it’s more a short term reaction due to covid and that they will go back to not prioritising digitalisation once we approach something that resembling normality again?

Secondly, do you think this is a good industry to be getting into at the moment? Do you think that graduates can learn a lot by working on finding solutions with more experienced consultants to the challenges faced by enterprise companies?
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Superstar786
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(Original post by Superstar786)
I’m not sure can you please give me any suggestions and name of devices that I can further develop on
1 development out of 10 of them as a suggestion basically and one name of device. Thanks
Last edited by Superstar786; 3 months ago
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Gent2324
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(Original post by Final Fantasy)
Thought I'd make a thread on this as many of my posts in other threads tend to get copied anyway due to giving very similar advice.

Bit of background:

- Started off as a junior backend developer working on APIs
- Went on to mid level development roles
- Worked up to senior development roles
- Went into contracting, one of the most lucrative paths in the world
- Past few years I've been working as lead engineer, technical lead and managing teams, hiring / interviewing other engineers, but also keeping hands-on as well. I often liaise with recruitment agencies via LinkedIn and have a large following there.

Tech stack:

- Backend APIs e.g. PHP, Node etc. and all the popular frameworks
- Familiar with frontend JS frameworks and libraries
- Databases e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
- Cloud infrastructure eg. AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean
- Automation e.g. CI/CD (Jenkins, CircleCI etc.), Containerisation (Docker, Kubernetes), Terraform / CloudFormation, Ansible and so on
- Version Control e.g. GitHub, Atlassian products (BitBucket) and SVN
- Server and DB administration
- Microservices, Serverless, VMs

Companies:

- Startups
- Small - Medium (mainly eCommerce)
- Enterprise (SpecSavers, Lloyds Banking, Virgin Media and some financial services)
- Liaise with many other enterprise businesses since most of them have some sort of connection or contracts in place for services

Engineering team sizes were on average around 6 - 12 (usually the optimal number for one team in the industry, any more should be split up). My colleagues range from apprentices all the way to seniors and we liaise with other companies and departments

Permanent Salaries (outside London, average or low-end):

Apprentices: £16K - £18K
Juniors: £20K - £25K
Graduates: £25K - £35K
Mid-Level: £35K - £45K
Senior: £45K - £65K
Lead: £55K - £75K
Head of department: £65K - £90K
CTO: £125K and beyond

Contract Salaries converted to annual:

Software Engineering: £150K and beyond
DevOps: £200K and beyond

Note: contracts are more complicated as it depends on the country and tax situation and if in the UK whether inside or outside IR35 and whether you're using your own LTD company or an Umbrella.

Ask Me Anything:

Let me know if you have any questions or need advice about careers in IT and technology. Specifically I am most familiar with software engineering and DevOps.
how did you transition from full time to contracts? and what as contracting like, was it worth the money?
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Final Fantasy
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(Original post by jenerous)
What have you enjoyed the most and the least during your ten years of experience in the sector?
Enjoyed the most: it's constantly evolving, there's always emerging and disruptive technologies. I love being part of it and learning all the time. There's never a moment where you know everything. Currently I'm delving more into cloud infrastructure and automation.

Enjoyed the least: some work environments have a bit of politics and red tape, often it's the more larger / corporate type companies.
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