June 13, 2020.
A couple weeks ago, Sean Page tweeted to match engineering and product manager mentors with BIPOC mentees. I’m amazed at the ability of the internet to create these sort of special congregations, and raised my hand. A good number of folks reached out asking if I’d mentor them, and as I started trying to respond to them, I realized I needed to spend more time trying to understand a few core questions.
June 12, 2020.
Thinking about how I can be a helpful person in the world, along with the sorts of folks who do and don't think to ask for help, I wanted to take some time to explicitly write down ways that I’m available to help folks. This is an initial list that I’ll have to think about expanding over time.
May 30, 2020.
Last Wednesday evening I was (virtually) at an event that started with a silent moment in the memory of George Floyd. I wasn’t expecting it but appreciated the moment before it moved on to other topics. That moment came back to me the next morning, and threw into sharp contrast the extent that George Floyd’s death simply didn’t exist within the communities where I spend the majority of my time.
May 25, 2020.
Years ago, the company I was working with hired a new Director of Engineering, and the CTO was talking about why the new Director was an amazing hire. The new Director’s clinching accomplishment? The best ever explanation of the distinction between leadership and management. This turned out not to be a particularly effective way to evaluate hires, but it is an interesting topic.
May 5, 2020.
Some years back I had the strangest meeting in my career. Andrew (not real name) was my new manager, it was his first day on the job, and we were having the standard “get to know you” one-on-one meeting. My outgoing manager and I had been heavily involved in assessing and hiring Andrew, his interview performance was excellent, and I was legitimately excited to work together. So I was surprised when Andrew sat down, cradled his head in his hands, and lamented how much he regretted taking the job, how inept _his_ new manager was, and how terrible our engineering team was relative to his previous experience. What?!
April 23, 2020.
On March 19th, I posted "How do folks reach Staff Engineer?", and began posting stories of folks reaching and operating at the Staff Engineer level every Tuesday and Thursday.
April 19, 2020.
Someone recently send me a note asking about whether their internal process for interviewing Staff engineers was a good one. They were particularly concerned that they were encountering a number of Staff-plus engineers who were struggling to write code for finding palindromes or reversing an array.
April 16, 2020.
If you took a minute to think back and pick your favorite conference talk, I have no idea what it was about, but I bet the talk was designed to tell a story. Likewise, I bet your favorite book, even if it’s non-fiction, is lanced through by a crisp, continuous narrative. If you wanted to explain your best or worst job, I bet you’d start by telling a story that captures the experience.
April 11, 2020.
I've been using GCP's Cloud Run for a handful of projects recently, including staffeng.com, and have generally been really pleased with it. Now that I'm familiar with it, I can get all of this working for a new Python project in about twenty minutes...
April 9, 2020.
Most career ladders define a single, uniform set of expectations for Staff Engineers. These career ladders attempt to identify the commonalities across many folks performing similar roles in their organization, but in the end these ladders are a tool that apply better against populations than people. In the case of Staff-plus engineers, career ladders paper over a number of distinct roles clustered under a single moniker.