Found 21 lessons for software engineers with this tag.
As a Senior software engineer working at a mid-size tech company, I’m still learning how to properly push back when others Sr SWE & managers or Directors from Web or Mobile team tried to get me to do tasks that do not match my own priority. As much as I like to be nice and support others, I agree that I can only do so much. I brought this up with my direct manager and my Director (L7 Senior Manager & L8 Director), and they told me to loop them in when I face overwhelming pressures from other engineers/ cross-functional teams. My direct manager also told me they wants me to be able to focus on big project initiative, and they see that I am on track to be the Tech Lead given my current trending.
While I do appreciate that my boss gives me words of assurance and direction and offered to step in to fend off those pressures during my one-on-one call, I recognize that I would have to be the person who is good on establish priorities and be able to push back on people. I cannot really rely on my boss to do the push-back to fend off the pressure given that with the recent layoff, we are short on staff.
In light of the recent lay off, my boss confirmed that he's busier than before the layoff, and will be less available given the reorganization within the engineering leadership. My boss is not going to available and won’t be able to step in when facing high pressure from the other managers. Since my company uses Slack as main source of communication, I usually just cc and tag my manager on slack thread so that raises visibility and awareness.
Wanted to get some thoughts and suggestions on "How can I push back diplomatically against an overwhelming amount of tasks"?
I wanted to ask people to how to handle stress at work especially after a company layoff with fewer people around?
Is it a good idea to plan time-off around busy periods at work especially after a tech layoff when workloads may have increased for remaining employees?
Given all of the tech layoff, my company also conducted ~10% layoff earlier this month. I am not directly impacted by the layoff as a Senior SWE. But due to the layoff and reorganization, I found that I have become the official go-to person when it comes to Production system issue for the backend and point of contact when it comes to troubleshooting 3rd party API and production issue triage person.
I just finished my first on-call rotation for production support last week, and it's kind of exhausting when I reported Production Incident that categorized as P1 and P2 incident, which resulted an outage due to 3rd party API. I got a lot questions from Product and Business to get updates on business impacts from this 3rd party API outage issue for the past couple days. In light of this, I found myself really need a break from the exhaust of the work. Any thoughts or suggestions on this?
I am currently burnt out and looking for ways to take a break.
Looking at Google's generous severance benefits, I had thoughts to inform my manager that I am up for the chopping block if there are any foresight of next round of layoffs. Which I think should be good for the company since I am also helping one motivated Googler to not be laid off in the future.
But then, I am afraid it might get rejected and my manager's relationship with me get strained.
Are there any suggestions on getting severance package while indicating my intent to resign?
I am currently not on PIP and is considered excellent performer. I was promoted to L5 in mid 2021
Michael Lin's blog discussed on the "preemptive severance package" which is relevant to what I am hoping to do
Apologies in advance for a long question. Not sure how to ask this question without providing deeper context.
I’ve been working with my current manager for the last 1.5 years. While they have recently helped me get promoted to Senior, it’s been a constant struggle. I dread our 1:1 almost every single week because it always run overtime and we are often still not on the same page.
I see two major issues that haven’t notably improved in the times I’ve reported to them.
(1) My manager isn’t able to coach me, or any of the SWEs on the team. My manager doesn’t seem confident when we have career discussions - I recently asked them what they thought was the difference between good TL and a great one, and they struggled to coherently answer this. Instead, they said they would know better after the next performance calibration. Additionally, none of my teammate has gotten proper coaching either. For example, a teammate struggled to submit code due to their poor code quality and thus had low CL velocity, so my Manager simply told them to submit more CLs, which only made them more stressed without a legitimate way to improve.
(2) My manager lacks technical understanding of our projects and constantly pushes for speed. My manager was externally hired, and to this day, they don’t really understand the complexity of the work our team does. I understand EMs don’t need to contribute code directly, but my manager almost always underestimate how complicated the projects our team takes on are. As engineers, we frequently have to defend our timelines, which is not only frustrating but also pressures some teammates to favor suboptimal design or hastily done CLs that just causes even more churn.
The weird part is, my manager often seem unaware of their own actions, and when I talk to them about these issues, they are always receptive to feedback and seem willing to improve. However, I simply haven’t seen enough improvement in the last 1.5 years.
I could leave, since this is having an impact on my emotional well-being. But I do have good standing w/ my own team and the overall org, and I want to use this situation to learn as much as I could. I know that I myself have a lot to learn as a tech lead (Thanks for , it’s really helpful), and I know I can probably get a bit ahead of our projects and start estimating/de-risking earlier, so my Manager doesn’t get overly aggressive with timelines. I know I can also take this chance to more closely mentor my teammates and help them succeed, since they aren’t really getting it from our manager.
I want to stay, but is it the wrong decision because I have little career support from my manager? If I do stay, what should I focus on so I can really help my team and at the same time learn something valuable for my career?
Some background about my experience. I have overall 10 years of experience out of which first 3 years was in Service based company in India and then 6 years at Amazon/AWS and around 9 months at Meta. I got promoted to Sr. position almost 3 years ago and have been working as Sr. Engineer since then.
Since few months before my promotion I am feeling bit burnt out. Promotion came after lot of hard work and honestly the compensation increment was totally underwhelming. So I interviewed and switched and comp increase was really good but I am not liking work culture now. This made me sort of realize few things:
Now I want to get out of this job→money→stress→new job→money→stress cycle but don’t know how. I am planning to move back to India after few months and was hoping to start may be freelancing or some consulting work where I can control my time. I am more than happy to take a pay cut. So I started doing some research:
Now last option for me is to find a job which pays less and have less stress which will be okay. I can most certainly say screw it and not worry about getting promoted. But then I don’t know if that’ll be satisfactory, it’ll be more like I accepted defeat and ducked out of rat race but I still have no direction to go on.
Sorry if this all sounds like a rant, but I would love to have some guidance from people who have been in similar situation. What did you guys do and do you have any suggestions for me?
My manager and I have been owning the on-call rotation for the backend/platform for my company's flagship product that we launched recently. The rotation of 2-3 engineers is hectic and overwhelming, and my manager and I have brought up this issue, and finally got the acknowledge from the rest of the organization that more engineers needed to be added into the on-call rotation to form a healthy on-call? Is 8-10 engineer on-call rotation a healthy rotation?
I'm trying to figure out how to have a better disconnect between work and outside of work. Sometimes I'll get carried away on a task and I'll work pretty late on it, which negatively affects my sleep schedule. It’s all been kind of blurred, I can’t even remember when I stopped working sometimes. I'm also working with people in different time zones, so I'll work later than the traditional 9 to 5.
Overall, it's not too bad though. I'm mostly not working weekends, and this is mainly a thing on me: I don't have external pressure/crazy deadlines to overwork.
I am an L4 engineer with decent knowledge of my team's stack.
What are some actions I can take to meet expectations in my current role for the next few years, while minimizing the amount of time I spend on work?
Given that I'm not shooting for a promotion, does that change how I should approach relationship building with senior folks on the team? There is a lot of advice on Taro about relationship building, but it appears to be aimed at folks who wish to promote quickly.
Often I feel mentally and physically exhausted heading home from work. I started at the company 2 months ago and in total, I have just under a year’s experience working in industry. Maybe it’s because things are quite new, or is this a sign that I’m needlessly struggling?
I try to laser in on what I’m meant to be doing, so I can get code running and testing asap but reading code takes up more time than I’d like, as I try and figure out what the service is actually doing, not only in terms of code but in the context it’s meant to be used in- It’s a systematic hedge fund and finance is new to me.
One thing I'd love to ask about is effective pressure management. Coming from small cos to a big company like Meta; despite startups having a reputation for chaos, I personally find there's a larger number of failure modes at big companies - a review taking too long, lack of good logging, misalignment, which can lead to either a project being derailed or just flat out failing. I've personally gotten better myself at pressure management (trial by fire); but would love to have thoughts from folks on how they work on this skill!
I'm looking to leave my current team, as I don't find the work to be interesting: I spend ~50% of my time on ops work.
I want to choose the right team that’s interesting to me, but it's tricky as I don’t exactly know what I want to work on. I just know that I want to work on the back-end and on a team where learning opportunities are flexible. During team matching, what kind of things would you look for in a team?
My priorities are as follows:
There's too much work on my plate, which is made worse by the nature of our team's product:
What can I do to make things more doable?
It's just my first month and my manager said I had to improve a lot because his expectations for a senior engineer is much higher, not just technically but also behaviourally.
I'm feeling anxious because I was in a pretty laid back company before and the rapid pace of a startup took me off-guard. I'm trying to push through by working longer hours but I don't think I'd be able to reach my manager's expectations.
It's causing me anxiety just by thinking about my job. Is it ok to leave a job even if I don't have anything lined up yet? I'm trying to review to get a new job but the long hours are taking up my personal time. What could be my options?
I spend a lot of time on oncall. There's just 3 engineers on the oncall schedule (2 other back-end engineers and myself), so we're all oncall once every 3 weeks. We hired 2 people and are looking to onboard them into the rotation later in the summer, so it will become once every 5 weeks for oncall soon-ish.
Psychologically, the oncall is very draining as I'm constantly fearing what’s going to happen. For example, I can't work out at the gym in peace as I'm constantly on high-alert in case an issue pops up. How can I have better work-life balance and less stress with this situation?
I’m married with two kids. It’s important that I spend time with my family, while also doing well in my career. Do you have thoughts on growing my career without burning the midnight oil?
I'm relatively new to software so would love to understand more here. In particular, what does it look like at Big Tech compared to other companies? My goal is to eventually transition into a Big Tech company - Do you always need to work 60+ hours a week to do well there?
Does it get worse as you progress from L3 -> L4 -> L5 -> L6 -> etc? Intuitively that seems like what would happen as your scope grows across promotions: Is there more overtime associated with the more senior levels?
I work overtime a lot, and it's pretty stressful. I'm also worried that amidst all this effort working for Meta, I'll lose track of who I am overall and what I can do for other companies. What can I do to strike a better balance here?
I'm in bootcamp right now, and many teams are telling me that they have all 3 of these things. My bootcamp mentor says that's not really feasible - There are trade-offs. Am I gullible if I believe these teams at face value?