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Properly Learning From Software Engineers More Senior Than You

As a junior software engineer, it can be daunting understanding the senior and staff engineers on your team. This video covers the mindset shift to make to start leveling yourself from properly observing them, achieving career growth without these engineers having to formally mentor you.

Here's the core points:

  • Observe more senior teammates' behavior - Principal engineers will usually have 10x the impact of a junior engineer. They don't get there by working 10x as hard - We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Instead of asking yourself what these great engineers are getting done, ask yourself, "How do these engineers get stuff done?". Marveling over their much larger impact won't get you anywhere - You start really learning from these engineers when you start breaking down the path they took to achieve that impact.
  • Here are more specific axes to observe:
    • Communication - How do these engineers share status updates and rally the team around their ideas?
    • Direction - How do they prioritize projects and select the best ones?
    • Quality - How do these engineers protect the sanctity of launches? What kind of feedback are they leaving in code review? What good habits do they have when they submit code? How do they facilitate system design discussions?

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