Junior engineers worry about senior engineers taking over on projects they want to lead. Some even think of hiding their work until it’s near launch. However, this is the opposite of what you should do since collaboration increases your impact. Here are two ways that some engineers always lead.
Totally get it! People often miss this, but it's a game-changer. We tend to focus only on improving technical skills and forget about this essential quality. Balancing both? That's the secret sauce to moving up the career ladder faster!
"Ownership mindset" - adopt it and you excel.
I totally agree with you on "Senior engineers only step in where there are leadership gaps. If you leave none, then there’s no need for others to provide guidance."
"Junior engineers worry about senior engineers taking over on projects they want to lead."
Simple way for Juniors to handle this is to talk to their seniors about what they want to get out of the project and how they expect the support. Seniors can be transparent about how they would support. Communication is the key here instead of grudging silently.
So true that having things under control is not about knowing everything, but about being proactive and self aware enough to know when to ask for help. Thanks for the insightful post, Ryan!
Love this: "From day one, I was proactive. I drove all the meetings, led planning and put together the design with minimal guidance from my tech lead."
Everyone can lead, there are tons of opportunities to constantly be found.
I did an internship that ended last May, I got a unofficial return offer (manager said I was welcome back). I found many basic developement practices missing like a linter running for each PR, deploying to prod happening twice a month, no automated tests at all. Quite atrocious. This was at a place with 21 devs. I wish I took initiative but didn't look further into any of this, was too busy with my own work. I did write a good bunch of documentation though which was lacking sorely and raised awareness of the need for docs. If I come back this summer when I graduate (esp because of the current market), I plan on fixing a lot of things there.
It does strike me how no one took initiative of even setting up a basic linter for every PR. Someone had suggested that idea once but they never did it themselves. Taking on extra things like this definitely boosts your promotion chances but it's also important to know how to work fast. If you are slow on your main tasks, you can't get to these juicy ones. I was slow at first but eventually figured out how to finish my tasks faster. Don't know if you have a article on that, would be helpful to read. My biggest tip: 1. be aggressive when asking for help as in ask for help if you are stuck for at least 30 minutes. 2. Have a keen awareness of who knows what so you ask the right person for a specific problem.
I love the message here: You don't need to have "lead" in your job title to be a leader. Anyone can be a leader in their own domain. Get in front of the group, and start leading the way.