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Deal with niche domain during probation.

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Senior at Taro Community3 months ago

I recently started a new job as the most senior engineer in my tech stack.

In my second month I was given complex tasks which are mix of implementing a missing feature and evaluating option available to solve very niche set of problems. These are all problems in the domain of openGl and low level graphics programming language, which I have zero experience. So most of time is going to reading and understanding the space.There are no other engineers who are expert in the space either however they have done some work.

My concern is this kind of work does not have a tangible results which could hinder the probation evaluation. I am struggling with giving updates as I am spending lot of time just to understand what needs to be done and for how part I need to learn a low level graphics language which will take lot of time.

I already raised it with my manager once but he did not seem to understand yet. how can I raise it again and raise my concern. Also show some progress In my work, even struggling to give standup updates at times since domain is very vast.

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Discussion

(2 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    3 months ago

    How long will this project take? If it's < 3 months, my recommendation is not to push back. Just grit your teeth and get it done. Even if you don't get it done, use it as an opportunity to go deep, create a banger design doc, and educate others on why the project is so challenging.

    Since you're new (and a senior engineer), your primary goal is to build trust with the manager and team, even if this first project doesn't have enormous project impact.

    Regarding standup updates, I'd have a public doc that documents your work each week. For standup, summarize an interesting tidbit of what you learned and then point people to the doc for more info. More info here:

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    Founder/CEO & Deep Learning Scientist at Stealth Startup
    3 months ago

    One thing to keep in mind is that at this level, you will have to start taking ownership of bigger scope regularly and driving it to completion regularly. This is the same whether you own your own business or work for someone else. Someone has to drive the head of product decisions and based on your rank, that is more and more going to be you. Now what you also need to do is to figure out how to work together with the team you have, scale the work out and achieve the goal.

    You can do it! It's just a matter of diving in and learning. Best not to sandbag as everyone gets these at one point in my career. First job out of college I remember taking 15 weeks of classes to learn z/OS and zVM so I could ship SMF Real-Time.

    New to me, leaned in, got sick a bit, delivered results, and moved on.