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How To Earn Respect Fast - Senior Engineer Onboarding Story

11/30/2022

Even if you're onboarding, you can earn respect amongst your team. In fact, you should feel empowered to earn this respect despite being new, especially if you're a senior software engineer.

Here are the core points from the video:

  • Help junior engineers - This is one of the most effective ways to earn respect on a team as a more experienced engineer. The junior engineers may be more fluent in the code than you are, but if you're a senior+ engineer, there is a reason you have this level: You have certain fundamentals and instincts that are applicable everywhere that junior engineers don't really have.
  • Show your depth - You won't win with velocity and output when you're new. However, you can win with depth and quality as that's largely a function of your effort and time. If you're a more experienced engineer, think about how you can go deeper into something than everyone else on the team.
  • Alex's senior engineer onboarding story - Here's how a senior Android engineer quickly made a splash after joining Alex's team back at Instagram.
    • They saw a junior engineer struggling with a very complex text layout bug with the Instagram Android app.
    • They volunteered to help with this bug, even though they didn't have to.
    • After many failed debugging attempts, they slowly extracted the relevant code line by line into an entirely separate Android app to identify the breaking line. This was a brilliant tactic that nobody else on the team even remotely considered.
    • This combination of goodwill and extreme software engineering depth earned them a mountain of respect pretty much immediately.

This clip is from our masterclass on how to succeed at a new team or company as a software engineer. Click here to watch the full thing.

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