When I look back on my career, I realize I’ve learned most of what I’ve needed on the job. Most of this learning came through observation. I worked closely with stronger engineers, saw what they did, and picked up on what worked well.
Number 3 is too relatable. In my experience its the one that the majority of software engineers 1-4 years into their career can see the most growth (and fruits) of improving. Definitely was the case for me, and still is to some extent. I have to pull back my tendencies
Code reviews are difficult.
I did a course by Curtis Einsmann, that one taught me so much.
It's scary how there are so little resources out there for how to do code reviews.
In my experience, these three soft skills are more critical than any combination of hard skills.
Teamwork is so much more important than being a rockstar ninja development wizard.
You cannot escape selling your projects and you need to communicate well to do that!
One may get away with these qualities in the early stages of the career but if you want to level you need to invest in these!
Great post, Ryan!
I'm a structural engineer who writes code for some of my more complex engineering work.
Many of the management principles and best practices from software engineering directly apply to my industry.
The code review practices from Google are an excellent guide for calculation checks.
Influence / Selling is such an underrated skill for engineers.
So important not only for technical projects, but also things like year end reviews, interviewing, pitching tech debt projects, etc.
Influence / how to sell yourself is almost harder as an IC than a manager - because you don’t have a title that say “I can tell you what to do.”
(Def don’t recommend that for managers, they should earn your trust and coach not tell, but they do have more authority just re their title)
If you learn how to earn others trust, welcome their voices / ideas, rally the team around a common idea, pitch your goals and come to an agreement - you will go so far as an engineer and get much more done together than you ever could alone.
For me this is one of the key things you need to excel in as a senior+ engineer (besides tech excellence).
Thanks for sharing Ryan! Super valuable.