February 5, 2021.
After a bit of a lead up, so deeply excited that the Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track book is done. As of today you can buy the digital version on Gumroad, as well as the digital and paperback versions on Amazon This project overlapped with a new job (at Calm), our first child (now eight months), and a global pandemic. In some ways, I'm surprised it got finished, but in another sense it was nourishment during a difficult year, and I'm so grateful the project has come together.
So many people played a hand in making this project happen. Tanya Reilly wrote the perfect foreword. Folks were willing to share their amazing stories of reaching and operating in Staff-plus roles: Michelle, Kasa, Keavy, Bert, Katie, Ritu, Rick, Nelson, Diana, Dan, Joy, Damian, Dmitry, and Stephen. Some of my favorite stories didn't make the book, and I'm grateful to each individual who shared their story on staffeng.com.
The lack of clarity and guidance for those in Staff-plus roles is a scourge that impacts many folks in their career, and I hope this book can be one small stepping-stone out of that pit.
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Some early reviews, and you can read more on Gumroad:
"Becoming a Staff engineer is both a promotion and a job change; many immensely talented engineers pursue the first and arrive unprepared for the latter. Will Larson's Staff Engineer is a wide ranging and thought provoking overview of the many dimensions of the role. As a software engineer at any level, this book will challenge you to become better and should be required reading if you're pursuing a Staff engineer role."
Amy Unger, Staff Engineer @ Github
"It is not easy to find many resources on the staff engineer role which is still massively misunderstood due to wildly varying definitions and assumptions. This book lays out some of the differing role definitions and then brings them to life with real case studies making it easy to map the archetypes to your own circumstances, passions and ambitions. This should be a go to resource for anyone thinking of pursuing the IC path or that has already moved into a senior IC role."
Nicky Wrightson, Principal Engineer @ Skyscanner and formerly Principal Engineer @ The Financial Times
"Will Larson's "An Elegant Puzzle" has earned its spot on my recommended reading list and is the manual I wish I had during my early years as an engineering manager. "Staff Engineer" is poised to join it and is the manual I need NOW to support my engineers in their continued growth. From the various staff engineer profiles to the analysis of staff engineer archetypes and the focus on working on things that matter "Staff Engineer" is a must-read for engineers and engineering leaders alike."
Kevin Stewart, VP Engineering @ Harvest
There is a more comprehensive FAQ at staffeng.com/book, and I've pulled a few of the most common here for convenience.
Will I like this book?
Is there an audiobook coming? What about hardcover?
My plan is to create an audiobook, but I do not have a timeline established. I do not currently have a plan to print a hardcover.
Will this be sold at [some place it isn't sold in now]?
There are no plans to make either version available in other venues at this time.
Are you creating a Slack or Discord for Staff engineer?
I wrote a bit about this in Why not create a StaffEng Slack or Discord?.
Is it DRM-free?
Yup, absolutely. All formats are DRM free, and the Kindle version has lending enabled.
Where are profits going for this project?
All profits from this project will be donated to non-profit organizations that work to increase access for underrepresented communities in technology. They will be paid out quarterly for the first year, and annually afterwards.
Do you have a bunch of random links about Staff Engineer?
Oh yes, absolutely.