Most software engineers work as employees. Being an employee brings some sort of continuity, lets you raise a family etc.
After a while you get a promotion. From junior you slowly become senior. Then, depending on company you can become analyst, officer. Those who really want to pump their career switch company (there are statistics that prove that sitting in one company leads to a way slower career) and can become executive, associate and whatever. It’s fairly common that – past a certain point – you stop typing on a keyboard and become a manager. That’s where many software engineers go after 35–40.
Then there’s a fairly varied amount of other software engineers who keep developing for their whole life.
Some don’t have social skills and don’t want to become a manager.
Some are self-taught and take their own paths of life.
Some become consultants or work in a “body rental” company (they hire teams of developers and send them to code for their customers).
In my personal case, I have coded my first software at 12, on a Commodore Vic 20. Now I am 49 and I still love to write code!
I have worked as employee until I’ve become an analyst, then I have become a self employed consultant. I have moved to live on a tropical island in the Canary Islands archipelago. These islands are tropical but have a “western world economy”, cities and services, high speed fiber optics and so on.
I work from home for international customers all over the world. I love my job, the sea beach vistas, the freedom this job gives. I can work if and when I want and I can study new technologies without relying on the “foresight” of shareholders-driven executives and CEOs. I don’t plan stopping coding anytime soon!
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