The career path of software engineers and how to navigate it

The career path of software engineers and how to navigate it

During the talk, we explore the career path of a software engineer, what are the expectations at each level and how to acquire new skills to move between levels. We go over a way to decide on switching to management or staying on the individual contributor track. And we explore three strategies for continuous improvements.

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Nikolay Stoitsev

October 15, 2019
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Transcript

  1. The career path of software engineers and how to navigate

    it Nikolay Stoitsev, Engineering Manager @ Uber
  2. Career ladder Intern Software Engineer Software Engineer II Sr. Software

    Engineer
  3. Uber Software Engineer Software Engineer II Senior Software Engineer Senior

    Software Engineer 2 Staff Software Engineer Sr. Staff Software Engineer Principle Engineer Levels have different names Google SWE 2 SWE 3 Senior SWE Staff SWE Senior Staff SWE Principal Engineer Distinguished Engineer Google Fellow Facebook E3 E4 E5 E6 E7 E8 E9
  4. Can’t directly compare levels between companies

  5. Full career ladder Intern Software Engineer Software Engineer II Sr.

    Software Engineer ?
  6. Good Engineer Good Manager

  7. Full career ladder Intern Software Engineer Software Engineer II Sr.

    Software Engineer Staff Software Engineer
  8. Full career ladder Intern Software Engineer Software Engineer II Sr.

    Software Engineer Engineering Manager Staff Software Engineer
  9. Full career ladder Intern Software Engineer Software Engineer II Sr.

    Software Engineer Engineering Manager Staff Software Engineer Senior Engineering Manager Principal Engineer Director Individual Contributor (IC) Ladder
  10. Full career ladder Intern Software Engineer Software Engineer II Sr.

    Software Engineer Engineering Manager Staff Software Engineer Senior Engineering Manager Principal Engineer Director Individual Contributor (IC) Ladder Manager Ladder
  11. You can grow as an engineer and as a manager

  12. • Is autonomous in writing code • Knows how to

    unblock themselves and ask for help • Can solve well defined tasks with supervision IC Ladder - Intern
  13. • Knows how to unblock themselves • Helps other on

    the team • Can solve well defined tasks without supervision IC Ladder - SWE
  14. • Demonstrate end to end ownership • Can solve any

    task with minimal supervision • Turn feedback in growth IC Ladder - SWE 2
  15. • Leader in the projects they work on • Can

    solve ambiguous tasks • Sets culture and best practices in the team IC Ladder - SSWE
  16. • Recognised leader outside of their team • Proposes solutions

    to problems spanning multiple teams • Drives big impact work across the company IC Ladder - Staff SWE
  17. EM EM Sr. EM Director VP CTO Manager Ladder Director

    VP Sr. EM
  18. • Responsible for single team • Sets direction and leads

    the execution • Grows the team Manager Ladder - EM
  19. • Leads multiple big teams • Leads long term technical

    and business solutions across the teams Manager Ladder - Director
  20. • Leads teams across multiple domains • Charts the future

    of the company • Establishes the culture Manager Ladder - VP
  21. EM or IC? https://medium.com/hackernoon/a-voight-kampff-test-for-identifying-engineering-managers- bb8512c70857

  22. Do you care more about people or technology?

  23. How to become a manager? Sr. Software Engineer Tech Lead

    EM Expert
  24. 82% of the people made into managers don’t succeed in

    the role source: Gallup State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders, 2015
  25. How to become an engineering manager?

  26. How to become a product manager?

  27. How to become a technical product manager?

  28. How to grow

  29. Every career step is hard

  30. Working hard is just 25% of the formula

  31. Switching jobs doesn’t help

  32. Master the skills on the previous level

  33. Requires mindset changes from the previous level

  34. Has new skills to be mastered

  35. So growth has to be directed

  36. Competency framework https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/engineering/career-development/career-matrix.html

  37. It’s not a checklist

  38. None
  39. None
  40. None
  41. None
  42. None
  43. Conscious Competence learning model https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence

  44. Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Incompetence Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence

  45. Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Incompetence Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence

  46. Pick one growth area at a time

  47. Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Incompetence Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence

  48. Understand how to do it and why

  49. Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Incompetence Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence

  50. Practice it

  51. Unconscious Incompetence Conscious Incompetence Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence

  52. Career conversations

  53. You need to have career conversations with your manager

  54. Have regular 1:1

  55. Ask for feedback

  56. Communicate your goals clearly

  57. Never let your role define your impact, let your impact

    define your role Managing up
  58. The single best hack to constantly become better

  59. Find a mentor

  60. Mentor - someone who you admire and knows you

  61. There is no stack overflow for your career growth

  62. It’s like friendship

  63. What to talk about?

  64. Build relationship

  65. “Code review” your decisions and reactions

  66. Ask for technical advice - wisdom and opinion

  67. Better to be outside of your team

  68. The second best hack

  69. Be a mentor

  70. Scale yourself with writing

  71. The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth

    and Change - Camille Fournier
  72. https://medium.com/@daniel.heller/ten-principles-for-growth-69015e08c35b

  73. https://medium.com/darius-foroux/how-writing-changed-my-life-8786ecd5650c

  74. https://leadingsnowflakes.com/

  75. https://deprogrammaticaipsum.com/2016/04/25/being-a-developer-after-40/

  76. Q&A