This little "Wouldn't it be nice if ..." tweet made the rounds a few days back and ... it's a good idea. They're so close to getting it.
I’m starting to think that every product org should have at least one senior+ engineer who isn’t beholden to a roadmap and who just goes around making little quality of life improvements everywhere— Brandon Dail (@aweary) April 22, 2022
Every product org should have a senior+ engineer whose job it is to run around and make everyone else more productive 🤔
That is the role of a senior+ engineer!
Yes you're beholden to a roadmap and you're working on a sprint team, but that's not a trap for your vast talents. That's to ensure you're aligned with the company's goals.
Working hard on things nobody cares about is the quickest way to misery. Hard work, no reward, burnout.
We touched on this in the React Podcast interview a few years ago when talking about Peak Performance, a book.
Senior+ engineers are supposed to make progress on a roadmap. Everyone is. Even the CEO has a roadmap. What changes is how you do this.
When you're senior+ in role if not in title, your job is to make sure the roadmap gets done, not to do it yourself. Less "How can I bang this feature out the quickest?", more "How can I help the team do this faster?".
Your main job is to be a force multiplier.
In military science, force multiplication or a force multiplier refers to a factor or a combination of factors that gives personnel the ability to accomplish greater things than without it.
Protip: If you ... just do this ... your team will love you and so will your manager. You don't need permission to act as a force multiplier. https://t.co/VY9wppDeeP— Swizec Teller writing a Manning book (@Swizec) April 22, 2022
Sometimes that means running around and making quality of life improvements. Sometimes it's upgrading a library so others can use the latest features. Sometimes you parachute into a meeting to make a decision.
Take ownership. Be that person who asks the annoying question and gets clarity from the suits while others focus on the code.
Many days you purposefully don't do the work and create space for others to learn instead. Let go. It's okay. They'll ask for help if they need it.
And if the solution breaks things beyond that engineer's perspective? My friend that's your senior+ role too 👉 to keep a higher level technical perspective with an eye on the vision, not just today's task.
This is why senior engineers get nothing done. Their role is to help others do it faster.
The more you do this, the more time you'll have to get involved in those higher level meetings and decisions that help you define The Vision. It's a hack 😉
The trick is that you don't find time for senior+ work. Nobody gifts it to you. You make the time. By letting others play with your legos.
PS: you first need to be in an organization that manages by outcomes, not by inputs. Usually those are tier 3 companies
Getting that senior title is easy. Just stick around. Being a true senior takes a new way of thinking. Do you have it?
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it describes my days in a way I have not read before.
This was a very enlightening article about being a senior engineer.
Senior Mindset Book
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Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
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By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️