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How to find new projects to work on within the same company?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community12 days ago

I’ve joined a new company a few months ago and the culture is that you’ll have to find a project to work on. The concept of teams is so fluid that there’s no one team reporting to one manager that its members share the same direction. I’m struggling to find new projects as I don’t know where to start, plus I don’t have a name within the companies for the teams to be interested in my joining their projects. I’ve asked my manager to direct me and instead he keeps saying he’ll find me something to work on which I feel is a very junior thing.

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(3 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    10 days ago

    Your company has an interesting culture. While the best tech companies have an expectation that you create scope, that isn't really relevant until you seriously start progressing to senior.

    So my advice here is pretty simple:

    1. Talk to as many people as possible
    2. Ask those people what they're working on and if they need help
    3. Take the project from the person who you like the most
    4. If nobody needs help on their active project, ask them if you can take something from their backlog that they can support you through

    When you're just starting out (especially as a mid-level), you don't have the tools yet to make calculated calls about selecting the "best" project and projecting impact accurately. The quality of the people around you (and your synergy together) is the most important thing so optimize for that.

    Here's a good playlist for inspiration: [Taro Top 10] How To Create Scope As An Engineer

  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    10 days ago

    I effectively created a new project to work on at Meta: [Case Study] Building A Meta Internal Tool To Empower An Entire Org: Staff Promotion Story

    Tips I'd recommend:

    • Look internally for opportunity. Most tech cos have less red tape/process for internal tools, and there's a lot of opportunity for improvement.
    • Understand the pain of your peers. The other benefit of internal tools is that your "customer" is the person sitting next to you. Just talk to them (including non-engineers) to figure out how you can help. This worked magnificently for me with the log insight tool.
    • Think outside your stack. Instead of working forward from your stack of choice and what you can do with that, work backward from the problems across your. The hardest part is often identifying the problem and creating a narrative for it. Once you have that, it's cheap to learn other stacks and build a (hacky) solution.
  • 2
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    Eng @ Taro
    8 days ago

    Here are some paths you can go down to generate ideas:

    1. Is there anything in the development cycle, from coding to build to deployment, that is frustratingly slow or inefficient?
    2. Are there a lot of incidents happening in production? If you have on-call, is there anything that could be better?
    3. Every company has a set of metrics that they are trying to move. Can you brainstorm any ideas where you'll be able to improve those metrics?

    Once you have some ideas, the next step is to decide whether they generate enough impact for you to pursue them.