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What are the common themes behind how engineers at Big Tech reach Staff+ levels when it comes to their project execution?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [P3] at Atlassian2 years ago

I'm looking to get promoted as fast as possible, so I really want to understand how very senior engineers think. Here's some additional questions to add more depth:

  1. If you were to backtrack and retrospectively analyze the careers of the engineers who reach staff level at Big Tech, what's the common thread with all the projects they've worked on?
  2. How were they able to land themselves on those projects?
  3. What allowed them to put themselves in a position to contribute to such high impact projects?


(1 comment)
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago
    • Staff (L6) is equal to mid-level manager (M1), so you can work backwards from there to understand the scope they need.
    • Staff engineers need to work on projects that have a major effect across their entire team or a substantial effect across many teams. And as you go up from staff, the scope is even larger. When it comes to senior staff and principle engineers, they will work on projects that affect entire orgs (director-level), impacting 50+ engineers very deeply.
    • A big part of Staff+ behavior is creating scope. This is very important at senior and effectively a requirement at staff. You need to be able to find these opportunities and not just have things handed to you. A lot of Staff+ projects I've seen were created by those engineers themselves.
    • Another aspect of Staff+ projects is a huge amount of ambiguity and technical complexity. Literally being able to convert a single sentence into a 6+ month workstream.
    • Staff+ engineers will almost always work through others, empowering other senior/staff engineers. They act as a force multiplier, not just as a solo carry.
Atlassian Corporation Plc is an Australian software company that develops products for software developers, project managers and other software development teams.
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