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What are some tips for quick growth when you're just starting out?

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Software Engineering Intern at Google5 months ago

I'm still in school, but I will be graduating in a couple months. My goal is to get promoted as quickly as possible at a reputable company like Google. However, there are so many ways to get better as a software engineer, and I'm unsure how to prioritize all of this information. What should I focus on since I'm earlier-in-career to really unlock that fast career progression?



  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    5 months ago

    Great question! There's definitely so many angles to being a strong software engineer, and it can easily be overwhelming. For someone at your level, I would boil it down to these 2 big categories:


    • This is a skill I see 95% of more junior engineers fail to invest in nearly enough. The discourse around software engineering is overly dominated by the code and tactics (just look at the programming memes that go viral on LinkedIn), so a lot of people just don't realize this is important.
    • The biggest reason why communication is important is because being good at it enables you to build up relationships faster. In particular, you want to make sure that you have a very strong relationship with your engineering manager; this is especially important at Google as their performance process is pretty heavy and I've heard that your manager is a much larger player in your promotion now. Here's our video on how to have the proper mentality in manager 1 on 1s.
    • Everything in your career (and life in general) becomes far easier when people like you.
    • To help everyone build up their communication skills overall, I made a 9-part course about Effective Communication here.

    Writing Great Code Quickly

  • Rahul Pandey
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    5 months ago

    Wanted to add 2 context-specific pieces of advice:

    1. Since you'll be a new grad engineer, +1 to Alex's recommendation to focus on coding velocity. I would NOT spend much time on things like architecture or code review, at least for the first few months.
    2. Understand the tradeoff b/w quality + speed. For example, at Google, most teams will place a premium on well-structured, well-tested code. That likely won't be true if you go to a growth-stage startup -- they'll prefer speed. Actionably, look at top performing engineers on the team and look at their code reviews.