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Things to keep in mind while switching teams and targeting promotion to Senior Level?

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Senior Software Engineer at Grab2 years ago
  1. My new manager has worked with me in the past for around 2 years (6-8 months as a manager and rest as a teammate) after which his team got switched.
  2. I have been working for the last 2 years (since the last time I got promoted) towards a promotion and even though organisational requirements need my team to be switched, I still want to target a promotion in upcoming year end review cycle.
  3. I have brought in several process improvements in the previous team and have tried to uplift my previous team forward in the last 2 years as a mid-level engineer. Given that the new team I would be joining is in a similar scenario in terms of code quality/processes etc. as my previous team was sometime back, what all should I do to get maximum leverage for a promotion?
  4. Do you suggest is it better to look for an up-level outside of the organisation or stay put ? What factors does it depend on?
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(3 comments)
  • 0
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    Staff Software Engineer @ DoorDash, ex-FB, ex-Klaviyo
    2 years ago

    It's a little hard to answer this one. Clarify the following first

    • what exactly is the level you are trying to get promoted to
    • <as my previous team was sometime back, what all should I do to get maximum leverage for a promotion> -> what do you mean by this?
  • 0
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    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Grab
    2 years ago

    Thanks for the response, Zeng.

    1. I am trying to get promoted from Senior Software Engineer, to a tech lead level.
    2. I meant that the processes in my previous team along with factors including code quality were quite bad, that I helped in improving with automated PR reviews by onboarding some tools, creating tools to enable others to submit detailed PRs with proper description of what all was tested, and if certain test quality passes, alongside setting up oncall handovers. Should I do the same in the new team as well, since it is in a similar mess? Or focus on other key areas, as that is something that I have worked on already? What could help me in the direction of a promotion?
  • 1
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago

    Should I do the same in the new team as well, since it is in a similar mess?

    Why not? This is a very common playbook I saw from job switchers. A super common playback is to be at a Big Tech company where most processes/infra are very well refined and then go to a smaller company like a pre-IPO startup to "copy-paste" the infra from the Big Tech company.

    The copy-pasta doesn't even have to be technical: After I joined Robinhood, they were looking to add clarity to defining Staff Engineer expectations. The staff engineer persona is something I'm pretty passionate about, so I worked with a principal engineer to define Staff Engineer archetypes into the official Robinhood Engineering Wiki. For the archetypes we added, we pretty much took them from Meta, haha.

    Anyways, my point is that if this is a genuine problem and applying your past experience would be good impact, no reason not to do it. I can't imagine being penalized for leverage the prior wisdom you have built: That's sort of the point of bringing on a senior engineer.

    Do you suggest is it better to look for an up-level outside of the organisation or stay put? What factors does it depend on?

    In general, my logic is as follows: If you like your team and are growing, stay. Otherwise, leave.

    In terms of signals to look out for judging growth potential, here's some:

    • Other examples of engineers in your org being promoted at good speeds
    • How supportive your manager is
    • Whether you feel like there's too many problems to solve (good) or that there's too little to do and you're bored (bad)
    • How supportive your teammates are, especially those more senior than you
Grab Holdings Inc., commonly known as Grab, is a Singaporean multinational technology company. It is the developer of the Grab super-app, which provides users with transportation, food delivery and digital payments services via a mobile app.
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