^This. I have been battling with the exact same issue for the past few years. Thank you for putting the feelings into words so remarkably. Eagerly following this thread to see what other members have to share.
Hi Michelle, Sindirella, HStencil, tamgent,
Thank you immensely for taking the time to respond to my post! The advice on staying at my current job for the next couple years while exploring other options makes sense. The links you have shared have been particularly useful and I am now starting to read up on some of the associated articles/opportunities as well. I had no idea Princeton offered full financial support for their MPA students!
Although I would say I am an okay Software Engineer and I was lucky to be matched with a pretty great/supportive team, I think shicky44 - another member who also made a post on this thread - pretty much nailed how I feel about my job. I was considering Product Management/Entrepreneurship as possibilities because I believe there are opportunities to do pretty impactful stuff using tech, but I am not sure if my strengths are perfectly aligned with those tracks either. I suppose I have quite a bit of exploration to do, while also making sure to try building skills useful in the aforementioned areas to see if my strengths do end up aligning with those tracks after all.
Do you happen to have any advice on how to reach out to potential mentors in other industries/roles for conversations (perhaps even getting a chance to shadow them or doing mini projects for them as well to get a better feel for the roles)? In light of the additional information I included above, are there any particular types of career capital that I should focus on building?
Going off of Will's question earlier, I would like to know if you have any advice on exploring various career paths if I have already finished my undergraduate education.
I graduated this year from a top US school and am currently a Software Engineer at a top investment bank in the US. While the work/life balance has been pretty good, and I have been able to help my family financially, I am not sure if I would like to stay a Software Engineer in the long term. I suppose I enjoy working on hands-on + big picture problems more, but please feel free to give me a reality check if I am missing something. I am worried that I haven't spent enough time exploring my opportunities before deciding on Software Engineering. I fear that if I don't find a career that aligns with my skills and interests early in my career, it might become more challenging for me to switch later.
Some options I have been considering:
1) Getting an MBA/MPA in the future and then going into entrepreneurship or product management at a tech company (Worries and Roadblocks: incurring student debt- got a full-ride for undergrad, mediocre GPA (~3.6), lack of impressive extra-curricular experiences). Lower risk option: Explore starting an entrepreneurial venture as a side project while keeping my full-time Software Engineering job.
2) Trying to find a policy role in the government of a South Asian country (originally from there, but also a US permanent resident). (Worries and Roadblocks: corruption, sexism, negligible pay)
3) Continue to work in the US, but invest in/be involved part-time with non-governmental projects addressing issues that I care about (e.g., improving access to education in females/minorities/underserved communities in the South Asian country mentioned above). (Worries and Roadblocks: not sure if I will start getting dissatisfied with my current line of work if I don't take the opportunity to explore alternatives)
1) I would like to stay at my current job for a year or so more at least, primarily to address some family financial obligations. Would you suggest that I continue to remain in the current company/software engineering industry for longer? Why or why not?
2) What useful career capital/skills should I focus on building now, and any advice on how to build them?
3) Any other career paths that I should consider given my background and interests?