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What is the most effective way to onboard yourself to a new team's domain?

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Senior Software Engineer at Graba year ago

Joining a new team/vertical with the company, I often feel intimidated with the sheer expanse of domain knowledge to be grasped. Given that it takes time, what are the best ways to approach it, so that you are the most effective.

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  • 24
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    First, I recommend the other following discussions:

    I often feel intimidated with the sheer expanse of domain knowledge to be grasped...

    I think Cat Chen had a great point in the Q&A about switching domains above: Embrace being a n00b, and just forget that you're a senior engineer.

    There's no need to be intimidated. Just learn what you can one step at a time, ask great questions, treat your teammates well, and be hungry for knowledge. And of course, make sure you invest a lot into building up that strong relationship with your manager so they're a constant source of real feedback and you know where you stand (i.e. "Am I onboarding fast enough?").

  • 34
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    Head of Search Engineering @ Airbnb, ex-Yelp
    a year ago

    I can totally see how it could be overwhelming to learn a new team's domain / vertical from scratch.

    My thoughts are:

    1. Get clarity of what's important moving forward and learn by solving a problem. A team may own a lot of things but not everything is important, focus on what's important. This requires proactive alignment with your manager / new hire mentor.
    2. Build a learning agenda - following techniques from @alex chious's answers and build yourself a 30 - 60 learning agenda, carve out time for deliberate learning. Keep in mind that every company / team is different - some have strong documentation, some relies on tribal knowledge, some has good onboarding programs... observe what's effective in your environment to avoid wasting time.