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I'm Sanjay, Senior Director at a Series B Startup. AMA!

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Sanjay Siddhanti (Senior Director of Engineering at AKASA)a month ago

I'm doing a live Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) soon: I'll use this thread to collect questions and will follow up to answer anything we don't cover within the hour.

I'm Sanjay (LinkedIn / Taro) -- I'm a Stanford grad (same as Rahul), where I got a BS in Computer Science and MS in Biomedical Informatics. I've built my entire career in the Bay Area, with the past 5 years at AKASA, an AI healthcare company to help revenue cycle teams.

I'm the Senior Director of Engineering at AKASA. I joined AKASA in 2019 as one of the first employees when we were a seed-stage startup. I originally joined AKASA as an individual contributor, and quickly switched over to management. I built much of the company's early technology as an IC and later as a tech lead / manager. I also started and managed multiple engineering teams at the company, including Platform Engineering, now an org with 20 engineers.

Happy to answer questions about:

  • How engineering leaders think about the role of Senior, Staff, and Principal ICs
  • How and why to transition from IC to management
  • The differences between an Engineering Manager vs Engineering Director
  • How to hire and retain great talent
  • How to succeed in a startup environment

I can also discuss how to introduce effective development processes (code reviews, agile development, postmortems, planning, etc) in early-stage companies and how to evolve these practices as a company grows.

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Discussion

(5 comments)
  • 4
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    You saw AKASA grow from < 10 people to 100s of people. At what point did the company introduce a leveling system for engineers? Who decided the levels that existing engineers would map into?

  • 2
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    SWE @ Govt
    a month ago

    As the organisation expands, and as each layer of hierarchy adds a level of abstraction, how do you maintain the core founding mission?

  • 1
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    Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft
    a month ago

    What are the biggest challenges your org faces in terms of technology development and scaling, and how do you address them?

  • 3
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    Senior Software Engineer at Late Stage Startup
    a month ago
    • Can you share a bit about when and why you transitioned into management? Was that always your goal?
    • In your opinion, when is it appropriate to transition into management, especially if one's goals and strengths align with this career path? For instance, is there a significant difference in transitioning from a Sr Eng to EM as opposed to moving from aStaff to EM?
    • What is the role of the Director level in an Engineering department?
    • As a Senior Director, what expectations do you have for the impact of the Directors/Managers reporting to you? And what impact does your manager and skip-level expect from you?
  • 1
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    Senior Software Engineer at Dialpad
    a month ago

    How do you assess startup equity at the founding engineer level? Is leaving harder if things don't work out in the long run?