I just graduated college with a B.S. in Computer Science and will be living and working in San Diego. I currently have two job offers and I am stuck trying to make a decision to decide which job to accept. I am trying to consider the value of the experience I will get, pay, work-life balance, and how much I would like the job.

Position 1: A position as a Software Tester paying 60k/yr with a smaller tech company that contracts with the DoD.

  • The job responsibilities include manual and automated testing as part of a project team.

-The technologies and software I would be working with are relevant I think. I would get experience working with React and Selenium. They work a standard 8 hour day 5 days a week schedule.

  • They have been saying that if I do well than I will likely to transfer into a developer role, although they are likely just trying to sell me the position.

Position 2: A position at SPAWAR where I could work as a Software Engineer or any other position I could get a thumbs up for.

  • This is through a New Professional program they have. SPAWAR is a section of the Navy and I would be working for them as a civilian employee.

  • I do not have a salary number from them yet. Max base starting salary is 67k/yr., the lowest is 43k/yr. I am confident they would offer me a higher starting salary because I have 6 months of experience working for them as a developer while I was a student. Also I have a good GPA which I think is a factor into the salaries they offer to new grads since they are a Government entity (part of Navy).

  • This would be primarily government work and so I am unsure as to what technologies I would be working with and what kind of experience I would acquire. They work a 9/80 schedule; every other week you get Friday off. I am really conflicted in this decision, theres things I like about both. Any insights or advice will be greatly appreciated!

My goal is to be in a developer role. It is more marketable and one gets paid better. The only reason I am considering Position 1 is because I will get experience doing automated testing using Selenium and I will also get experience working with React.

(Also, should I try to negotiate a higher salary?)

closed as off-topic by Ed Heal, gnat, Philip Kendall, mhoran_psprep, paparazzo Jun 2 '18 at 18:15

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else. Instead of asking which decision to make, try asking how to make the decision, or for more specific details about one element of the decision. (More information)" – gnat, Philip Kendall, mhoran_psprep, paparazzo
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  • It is your call. Not ours. – Ed Heal Jun 2 '18 at 17:24

I would take the developer role as unfortunately QA/test doesn’t really have the cachet that a developer does. And sorry bharat two years in test isn’t going to help if you want to be a developer.

What you and the other answer doesn’t take into account is the federal job comes with much better benefits in terms of leave and pension a DB plus a DC top up (with a 5% match) which is much better than any FANG - also effectively working a 9 day fortnight is nice.

So when you try and compare the two offers you have to take this into account and also you do have to decide (which it looks like you have) that you are ok with defence work and also are ok with going through the security clearance process.

  • Don't forget about the retirement benefits either. – Phil M Jun 7 '18 at 15:57
  • I didn't :-) that's what a pension is I know its a rare thing in the USA – Neuromancer Jun 7 '18 at 21:41
  • Just to add to your answer: QA almost never do any automated testing. Even if they do it's a very small part of their job, those who do are lucky ones. So definitely take any developer job over a tester if your goal is to become a developer. Also it might sound cruel but it's true: developers won't take testers into much considerations for developer positions until they prove themselves wrong. You'd have better chances as an un-experienced junior developer. – Marcus Jun 8 '18 at 9:31

If you want to be a developer, take the developer role.

But don't fixate on the "coding experience". Look, coding is pretty easy. Memorise some things, apply them.

What's hard is industry experience and a personal network, which nobody talks about at IT courses in university.

Look at the role that lets you learn most about the industry and the business behind what you're building, instead of just the code. An industry knowledge and connections combined with the analytical mindset of an engineer is valuable.

You're a tech person - once you have a year or two in tech you've got all the "tech" experience you need to be considered smart and analytical. Then you need to consider having experience in product, and in making business decisions, and in creating a network.

If you reach out to both companies and ask about the non-tech growth you will be exposed to, you'll get a really good idea of how interpersonal your job will be, and an accurate look at career growth.

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