I'm looking into a team switch, and I was wondering what I could ask to figure out if the team works for me. My priority is to find a team with good growth opportunities, so I can make the jump to L5 (senior). I know in Taro that it's suggested that you talk to engineers, but talking to engineers has been tricky from my experience with Target's team-switching culture. Questions that I can ask to just the engineering manager would be great!
I'd ask a combination of questions around the new manager's background along with the prospects of what project you'll work on.
The reason the manager is important is b/c the mid-level --> senior promo is typically done within the org (and certainly this is true for junior --> mid-level). That means a promotion doesn't need approvals all the way up to VP+ level, and as a result, your manager will have an outsized impact on getting promoted. Some questions to ask:
I'd also ask questions about the projects you may work on. If the promo is imminent, you want to make sure you get a good project soon after joining:
First, I highly recommend this Q&A from a mid-level engineer at Amazon with a very similar situation.
On top of the questions I covered there, I recommend these 3:
Stepping outside of the bounds of the original question, you should get signal outside of the answers to these questions as well. Back at Meta, I would do a ton of research when I was considering a team, going through their launches in Workplace and reading through their code, both how they wrote and reviewed it. I imagine Target is more closed than Meta is, but I would try doing these if you can. The code and the culture around it are particularly important:
To learn more about what high-quality code looks like, check out our masterclass deep-dive on it here.