I have been in Java development for last 3.5 years.
Have worked in a huge Indian IT service company for 2 years and then in a small product firm work on spend analysis for more than a year.
I missed the organized and professional ways of a large organization in the smaller product firm and was a little stressed out by > 15 hours in ofc each day so looked out for a change and am now an Applications Developer in a huge International Investment Bank.
Agree, have changed quite a few firms in a small period
But I am now missing the hands on and cutting edge technical work of the product company.
If you ask me what I am more interested in, I would say I can spend my life writing code and dream of growing up as an architect or high end developer/designer .
Basically I want to stay with technology, want to create things rather than manage projects.
I sometimes wonder is sticking to technical career path always painful , I mean do all product firms or places where better things are developed ask you to compromise on your life ?
In service/ project based firms the default path is project management.
You are bound to become a people manager after a few years, I am not willing to end up there.
May be I am looking at things with a scared eye
At ranch, we have people who have achieved great things and have stuck to the career path I dream of.
Please suggest me the way I should steer myself and the type of work I should look for.
"One of the best things you could do is to simplify a larger application into a smaller one by reducing its process and complexity - Fowler"
Project managers in the United States work similar hours to the technical people. Not sure if that's different in India.
I recommend going with the route that makes you happiest. If you have to stay late to do something you hate, you'll resent it more. To stay technical, I think the two main options are to be a consultant (expert in something specific) or an architect.
I see programmers hours run the gamut. I know a few who work under 40 hours a week, writing java programs that basically move files around. I know a lot that work over 70 hours a week, developing programs using the latest high end equipment.
The other difference, of course, is the huge salary difference. Like everything else, it's supply and demand, if you want more family life (which I value highly), you will have to pay for it (either via lower salary, what you will be doing, etc.)... Now these are extremes. The bulk of us are probably working between 40 and 50 hours per week, can easily find time to balance work and family, and doing something that we enjoy doing (that may not be cutting edge).