Early Edition of "Staff Engineer" coming Jan 31st.

January 1, 2021. Filed under book 14 staff-eng 10

Preorder Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track on Gumroad for January 31st, and Amazon for February 28th.


For much of 2020, I worked on the StaffEng project, collecting stories from folks about their experience reaching a Staff-plus engineering role, and synthesizing those stories with my own experience into a career guide. Behind the scenes, I’ve also been shaping that content in a book.

For the most part, I'm waiting until later this month to do outreach and marketing: blurbs, foreword, and editing are still very much in progress. That said, I prefer to share my work early, even when it's rough, and especially with folks who're kind enough to read my work directly from the RSS feed and mailing list.

Starting today, the digital Early Edition is available for preorder on Gumroad, delivering on January 31st, 2021. You can also preorder the canonical digital version on Amazon for February 28th, 2021, if that’s more your cup of tea. Print and audio versions will be a bit later in the year; their timelines are still being determined, but June would be later than expected.

The Early Edition gets you a draftier view into the content before the editing is quite finished and while I’m still reworking some of the material thanks to user feedback. I imagine there will be some typos, too, which you can most kindly submit for fixing using this form. Of course, anyone who buys the Early Edition will get the final digital version as well.

My hope for the book format is the same as the goal behind the entire project: to provide better rails for folks pursuing and operating in senior roles on the individual contributor track, roles that I’ve taken to calling Staff-plus. I’m quite proud of how it’s come together, and I'm grateful to the many folks who’ve contributed their stories and efforts to the project. If it's useful to folks, and in some small way pushes the industry forward in both how we think about these roles and also how we create access to them, then it'll be a great success in my eyes.

Staff Engineer is a self-published book. I'm quite excited about that decision, as it's allowed me to create exactly the odd little book that I've been dreaming about, although I've certainly missed the many advantages of working with the talented team at Stripe Press who co-created An Elegant Puzzle with me. All profits from this project will be donated to non-profit organizations that work to increase access for underrepresented communities in technology.

If you have more questions, check the Frequently Asked Questions, or hear a bit more about the project on Software Engineering Daily and Career Chats podcasts.