Work on what matters.

September 10, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 18

We all have a finite amount of time to live, and within that mortal countdown we devote some fraction towards our work. Even for the most career-focused, your life will be filled by many things beyond work: supporting your family, children, exercise, being a mentor and a mentee, hobbies, and so the list goes on. This is the sign of a rich life, but one side-effect is that time to do your work will become increasingly scarce as you get deeper into your career.

Build a network of peers.

September 4, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 18

As I talk to more and more Staff-plus engineers about career advice, the most consistent recommendation was to develop a personal network of peers doing similar work. Not every person emphasized this approach, but more than half mentioned it and for those who did it tended to be their first and strongest recommendation.

Staff promotion packets.

August 8, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 18

Some folks think of their promotion packet as the capstone of reaching a Staff-pus role, but I’ve seen many folks succeed by taking an opposite approach: starting to write their first Staff promotion packet long before they think they’re likely to be promoted to Staff, much the way they might use a [brag document](https://jvns.ca/blog/brag-documents/). Used this way, your packet becomes the map to accomplishing your goal.

Create space for others.

July 26, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 18

One of the best measures of your long-term success as a Staff-plus engineer is that the organization around you increasingly benefits from, **but doesn’t rely upon**, your contributions. Because many folks reach their first Staff-plus role by being the “go to” person for the organization, it can be a difficult transition from essential to adjacent.

Staff-plus interview processes.

July 12, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 18interviewing 4

When we talk about designing a Staff-plus engineer interview loop, the first thing to talk about is that absolutely no one is confident their Staff-plus interview loop works well. Many loops end up looking for a senior engineer who’s _really_ fast at solving problems, which doesn’t reflect the actual role. Others focus on communication skills, which _are_ a key part of the role but certainly not the entirety of it. A few companies even construct their process to assess whether the candidate _feels_ like a member of their existing senior engineering team, conflating excellence with familiarity.