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Grow From Mid-Level To Senior Engineer: L4 To L5

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Alex ChiouTech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
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Course Overview

"Senior Software Engineer" is a title with a beautiful ring to it, and it's one that every software engineer aspires to. Top-notch senior engineers are incredibly coveted by tech companies, especially Big Tech, as there's simply not enough of them. With the massive rush of people into tech during the pandemic, the median software engineer is now Mid-Level. If you are Senior, you are special.

However, the Senior Engineer promotion is brutally difficult, especially at FAANG. There are so many engineers struggling with Meta E4 -> E5 and Google L4 -> L5. Amazon SDE 2 -> SDE 3 is notorious for being the hardest senior promotion in the industry with engineers taking up to 10 years to make the jump.

So why is this level up so frustrating, being the first promotion 95%+ of engineers really struggle with? It's because Mid-Level to Senior is the first promotion that requires a fundamental dynamic shift, which this course thoroughly breaks down. By the end of the course, you will:

  • 💡 Truly understand the difference between a mid-level engineer and a senior engineer

  • 🧠 Have the right mindset to behave as a senior engineer

  • 🛠️ Identify your technical gaps to senior engineer

  • 📃 Figure out your fundamental gaps to senior engineer

  • ✅ Define a clear roadmap to senior engineer

After going through all the lessons here, you will have the necessary tools to become a high-performing senior engineer at a top tech company like FAANG. This promotion is particularly exciting as senior is when doors start seriously opening up for your career, with the primary one being the option to become an engineering manager!

Meet Alex Chiou

Alex Chiou is a proven Silicon Valley engineer with 10+ years of experience across top tech companies like PayPal, Course Hero (now Learneo, a $3.6B unicorn), Meta, and Robinhood.

He became a tech lead just a couple years into his career by owning the entire Course Hero Android app (100k+ users) as their 1st Android engineer. After that, he expanded his scope as a tech lead at Meta and Robinhood, shipping multiple $10 million+ revenue projects with 15+ engineer teams.

Knows The Struggle

Alex joined Meta as a Mid-Level Engineer [E4]. Like the overwhelming majority of engineers, he then proceeded to hit a wall growing to senior as you can see from his Meta performance review ratings:

  • 1st half: E4 Exceeds Expectations
  • 2nd half: E4 Exceeds Expectations
  • 3rd half: E4 Exceeds Expectations
  • 4th half: Promotion to Senior Engineer [E5]

So why was Alex stuck at E4 Exceeds Expectations for 1.5 years? It's because he wasn't making the fundamental mindset and behavioral shifts required to truly function as a Senior Engineer. In other words, it's because he didn't have the wisdom from this course.

The Expert Senior Engineer Mentor

The E4 -> E5 promotion was incredibly stressful for Alex, especially with Meta's up-or-out policy. Alex made it his mission to help as many engineers as possible so they wouldn't have to go through all the pain he did. So he picked up mentees left and right, achieving incredibly impressive results with his mentorship:

  • Got 5+ mid-level engineers [E4] promoted to senior engineers [E5] in just 1 year (5x faster than industry average)
  • Got 10+ mid-level engineers [E4] promoted to senior engineers [E5] in just 1.5 years (3x faster than industry average)

The Senior Engineer promotion doesn't need to be frustrating: With the right guidance, you can grow to that level incredibly quickly. That is what this course is for.