Getting out of an early-career rut

A story about embracing diverse tech roles.

Getting out of an early-career rut

I've started mentoring on topmate recently, and I've had the opportunity to connect with loads of early-career engineers. Recently, I had an engaging conversation with Shivam, a 25-year-old software engineer who felt like he was put in a hole when he was moved to a Salesforce-CRM position from a web engineer role. Shivam’s journey offers valuable insights for early-career professionals and students navigating the tech industry. Here’s what we discussed and the key takeaways from our conversation.

Embracing Diverse Roles for Career Growth

Shivam’s career path is relatable for many. After graduating during the pandemic, his first job was at a consultancy where he worked for a year before moving to a product-based company to pursue web development and career growth. However, he found himself assigned to the Salesforce team, managing the company’s CRM and building integrations.

Shivam was shocked?! Shivam felt this role diverged from his web development aspirations. Instead of building his way up the fullstack engineer path, he was made to work on CRM-related things. It was my role to break down the situation to him.

It’s crucial to recognize that working in different areas within a company can still contribute to your overall career ladder. Experience with tools like Salesforce can significantly enhance your skill set and marketability. Many companies, from startups to large enterprises, use CRM tools like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 360 and consistently seek engineers proficient in these systems. Hence, it isn't a setback - in fact - it might be the push you needed to take you to the next level in the market.

Evaluating Job Market Conditions and Career Moves

Given the current job market and Shivam’s limited experience and project portfolio, we discussed the pros and cons of sticking with his current position versus seeking new opportunities. Staying in a role where you can learn and grow, even if it’s not your ideal job, can be beneficial. It allows you to build experience, demonstrate adaptability, and prepare for future opportunities.

In market scenarios like present times - it might also be the smart thing to do while the seas calm down. For those early in their careers, it’s important to weigh the stability and learning opportunities of your current role against the uncertainties of job hunting in a competitive market. Building a solid foundation of skills and experience can make a significant difference when the time comes to pursue new roles.

Applying to Major Tech Companies

Shivam was also curious about applying to major tech companies, particularly regarding the leveling system and interview process. Using Meta as an example, we discussed their hiring practices. Meta and similar companies generally hire at levels prefixed with “L” followed by a number, starting from L1 for apprentices or interns up to L7 and beyond.

The interview process typically involves a pre-screening round followed by several technical interviews, including coding challenges, system design, and behavioral interviews. For early-career applicants, Meta usually hires at the L3 level after successful internships or apprenticeships. Understanding this process can help candidates prepare effectively and set realistic expectations.

Crafting an Effective Resume

One of the most common questions from early-career professionals is about resume building. Your resume should highlight your strengths and key experiences succinctly. Start with a summary that captures your career objectives and core skills. Follow this with sections detailing your technical skills, professional experience, education, certifications, and any significant projects.

A noteworthy tip is to keep your resume clear and concise. During the initial recruitment stage, recruiters often skim through resumes quickly. Emphasize your most relevant achievements and skills to make a strong first impression.


Shivam’s journey underscores several important lessons for early-career professionals and students. Be open to diverse roles within a company, focus on building valuable skills, and strategically evaluate job market conditions before making career moves. Understanding the hiring processes of major tech companies and crafting an effective resume are also crucial steps in your career progression.

If you have more questions or need personalized advice, feel free to reach out to me on topmate. I’m here to help you navigate your career path successfully.