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How can I develop a mindset of a Senior Software Engineer?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SDE 2] at Amazona year ago

I see many experienced developers finding flaws in the existing architecture and also refactoring them to make it much better. I don't think I have yet gained the ability to identify loop holes in complex projects. However, I am able to fix issues if someone else calls them out pretty quickly.

How can I improve on this? What are some good resources to develop this skill?



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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    One straightforward way to build that muscle of problem identification is to talk to people. You can literally ask your teammates, "What problems do you see?" or "What concerns do you have?" and senior+ people on the team will typically have a long list of things in their backlog. You can use that as a starting point to dig deeper into the issue and propose and implement the proper fix.

    The other approach is to look for patterns that emerge after talking to many people. If you notice that many people on the team mention that writing tests take too long, perhaps you can experiment with something that can speed up that process. This is what I did with the internal tool I built at Meta.

    Both of the above methods focus on explicit forms of collecting feedback through conversation. However, another method is implicit, to simply observe people's behavior. This can reveal information that people don't think to tell you (or don't want to tell you). Here are some good starting points:

    • Look at code reviews that had lots of discussions (i.e. controversy)
    • Look at the main discussion in past architecture reviews
    • Look at patterns in the bug backlog
    • Look at which partner team your team is most dependent on

    These all give you data from which you can identify problems. Fundamental to all this is building strong relationships with the team. Learn about that in this masterclass.

Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, and much more. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, it has been referred to as "one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world".
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