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Can you get punished by joining a team that’s high-growth but has no impact?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazon2 years ago

As a team switcher, I'm worried that I could join a team that is rapidly expanding in headcount but isn’t having a clear business impact so the execs don’t care:

  • As an engineer, would you get punished for this with worse performance reviews and slower career growth?
  • How can you evaluate the business impact of a team?
  • Is it just an educated guess or are there concrete things I can look at to judge this?


(1 comment)
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago
    • Don't worry too much about it. It doesn't make sense to punish a mid-level engineer for not having great product direction, which is why most companies don't do this.
    • For example, Portal's business impact for Meta impact was pretty poor. It was a loss maker, and user growth wasn't great as Meta isn't the best brand when it comes to privacy. Despite this, many engineers had amazing growth paths at Portal, growing to senior, staff, and beyond. As a SWE, you are mostly rewarded for solving engineering problems.
    • Your main goal when it comes to assessing a team for business impact is to avoid joining a team that will shut down after just 1-2 years. At Meta, this was very common with teams making new separate apps like Moments and Lasso.
      • Use your raw product intuition to figure which teams could meet this fate. With Big Tech in particular, you know what these companies are good at and when they're trying something that's way out of their domain (e.g. Google+).
      • Talk to people to understand what these traps are and which orgs are more desirable.