At the end of the day, working in tech, or anywhere really, is all about working with other human beings. Communication is the core skill necessary to make this collaboration effective.
Hi Taro Community,
During my recent 1:1 with my manager, we discussed the idea of me sending weekly updates about my work, and he was in favor of it. I want to ensure that these updates are concise, informative, and structured in a way that facilitates clear communication and showcases my progress effectively.
Could anyone share formats or templates they’ve successfully used for similar weekly updates to their managers? Any tips on what to include and what to avoid would also be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your insights!
I recently gave my first presentation ever and I was so confident about how to do it but when I saw so many people looking at my screen for the first time and going through my work with a fine-tooth comb I just froze and didn't know what to do. I've been on the team for a year and 6 months but never had to present before because I'm so used to coding heads-down.
Lots of "ums" and "buts" and a few awkward pauses and I just wanted to crawl under a table and hide. I feel so defeated because everyone will judge me and my calibre and hold it against me as an L3 who doesn't know what he's talking about. I could feel 50 eyes looking directly into my soul.
How do I recover from this? Are my chances at promo delayed? Did you experience this early in your career?
I hope you're all doing well. I'm reaching out to this community because I value the diverse experiences and perspectives we share, and I find myself in need of some advice.
Recently, I've been going through a challenging period due to some personal and family issues. Without going into too much detail, these challenges have started to impact my work performance and my ability to communicate effectively with my team, especially during on-call responsibilities. While I strive to maintain professionalism, I've noticed that my current situation has made it more difficult to manage my work communications as effectively as I would like.
I understand many of you have likely navigated similar waters and may have valuable insights or strategies that could help me improve my communication during this time. Specifically, I'm looking for advice on:
I'm committed to overcoming these challenges and continuing to contribute positively to my team. I would greatly appreciate any advice, tips, or resources you could share based on your own experiences or knowledge in this area.
Thank you so much for your time and for any guidance you can provide. This community has always been a source of inspiration and support, and I'm grateful to be a part of it.
I'm a new grad. I watched the and i understand the theory -- be vulnerable, use it as a time to grow and get feedback on improvement, keep docs and an agenda
But I've only ever had 1-on-1s in my 1 internship where every 2 weeks I'd meet with the manager and it would be 5-10 mins. When I ask how can I improve, they would say yep everything is good, your perf is good, keep doing what you're doing and I'd say ok.
If I told my manager that hey I'm not happy with the current scope and I'm not learning enough they said rn keep doing what you're doing and later in the internship I'll give you other stuff and then I never got different work
In my new different company where I'm working in an early stage startup I want to set up a strong 1-on-1 culture with the founders who I am always working/talking consistently with but I have no idea what actually to talk about?
Can someone share case studies on what your recent 1-on-1s are like? what did you talk about -- breaking down in time components (e.g. first 5 mins small talk, then next 10 mins talking about X, then 10 mins on Y). If someone could share like a blue-print/actionable framework or guide that would be really helpful
A bit of context, I've read the EM videos on Taro, and I feel the one that I have is not on the same levels. They lack of many things. I fear to provide the proper feedback because my promotion and appraisal is on the line.
They got promoted from SDE 1 to EM because of the funding
But, overall I fear to write what I wish to communicate to the leadership.
I spoke with a hiring manager about a software engineering opportunity after passing technical interviews. One thing he told me was this split between configuration and hardcore development. When trying to clarify the HM's use of the terminology, I got the impression that the HM defined "configuration" as building on top of an existing platform and "hardcore development" as building things from scratch, which the HM appeared to confirm.
However, I'm still unsure if I presented my clarifying questions correctly. Should I try and probe for more details if the HM feedback is positive, or is my impression accurate enough?
Pre-covid I used to do a bit of public speaking internally at work and sometimes at events on behalf of work.
Now I'm super rusty but have some opportunities coming up that'd also involve a technical talk component (which I have even less experience in).
What are some ways you've improved your public speaking as well as the quality of your presentations as a whole?
I am a senior on my team of 6 engineers. There is one more senior on the team apart from a tech lead who leads the technical projects in the team. I have been on this team and company for a year now, and i am generally a very driven person. I started noticing that this other senior engineer competes with me for everything, he has also been rude to me on occasions (on a private call when no one else could listen) and generally plays politics like leaving me out of important discussions, trying to one-up on me over every little thing. I have tried quite a bit to ignore him but he doesn't let up. It's triggering my survival instincts and I am more stressed than usual nowadays.
Does anyone have any advice? Basically i want to be the high performer that i am without worrying about someone who is trying to sabotage me.
Opinions welcome, thanks in advance!
I'm reaching out to this community seeking advice and insights as I consider a significant career transition. Currently, I am working in software engineering, but I've recently completed my master's degree with a core focus on Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Throughout my academic journey, I've developed a strong passion for AI/ML, and now, I'm eager to pivot my career in this direction. While I've gained substantial experience in software development, I believe that transitioning to a team more aligned with AI/ML will allow me to fully utilize my skills and contribute more meaningfully to the field.
I understand that networking plays a crucial role in such transitions. However, I'm looking for guidance on the best practices for connecting with AI/ML engineering managers. I am particularly interested in learning about:
Additionally, I'd love to hear any personal stories or experiences about making a similar transition. What were your challenges, and how did you overcome them? How did you leverage your previous experience during this shift?
I appreciate any advice or connections you might offer. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you're open to a conversation.
Thank you for your time and support!
I have been tasked to port a project of porting a ML project that has been running on someone's laptop to the cloud and make it production ready. It is very difficult for this person to give the full picture of the process.
This could be due to he is not actually remembering very well, given that the project has been actually done 1 year ago, or he doesn't like to lose the single point of failure / control situation.
I actually don't care about the reason and I want to get this project to success.
How may I deal with this situation?
Current blocker is that I am unable to properly estimate the time it may take for this project.
I am looking for a new role since layoffs last week and have applied for internal transfers for roles outside my skill set like Ruby on Rails work. Since I have no experience with the tech stack behind these roles, how to I put it in convincing words that:
I've been working as a software developer in federal government for the last 5 years with the last 2 being primarily within an innovation division.
Over those years I solo developed many internal projects; initially during downtime/upskilling time and later on doing it fulltime.
Each one of these I believe could of had a profound impact on internal processes and ways of working which would then have a positive knock-on effect to the general public.
However these projects never saw a big enough audience that could have that sort of positive impact.
No matter how much the users or executive would love the product/s - the endorsement would only ever go as far as a good CV piece or getting to work on what I wanted.
From what I've heard this is different in big tech. (ala Paul Buchheit w/ gmail)
But is it really like that and if so, how can you encourage institutions that are not known for risk taking and innovation to change?
In my organization, there are SDE roles till level 4, and then on top of that, you become an EM. Many times, an SDE 3/4 (who is considered a technical lead) gives tasks or creates the sprint. But then when the junior engineer goes to an EM to show their work, the EM changes the entire approach or assigns vague tasks.
This impacts the velocity of the sprint. I do want to understand: How do I put it out to the upper management such that this doesn't happen? Also, should an EM make technical decisions in this way?
I currently work in a FAANG company, and I joined in the 3RD quarter of 2023. I am currently a SWE, but I did my masters in AI focusing on planning, reinforcement learning, and imitation learning. (I have 4 yoe relevant to my work and I have a 2 year Ms in AI. I'm currently an L5 engineer )
I need to communicate and reorient my career at my current company.
My manager has asked me initially if I am ok with the team and the product. They also communicated that since our product launch, the team will be in operational mode and hence, it would be good to network and build connections within the company so that I can eventually get into a green field initiative of my choice. Now I have these questions:
More details on the situation: Initially, I had a couple of conversations about joining at 1 level above, but I did not go through with, it because I knew I would have to do a safe transition and that 1 level above would make it too expensive for me to transition.
I just finished up my final technical round (went well) and the recruiter reached out wanting to chat about salary expectations before the offer stage. During my initial call with the recruiter, she did ask me about salary expectations. I deferred by saying fit and potential impact are most important to me and that I'd like to defer until I learn more. Now that I've already interviewed, I'm not sure how to handle the conversation with the recruiter. It seems wrong to give a number before getting an actual offer, but at the same time, my initial reason for deferring talking about salary is no longer valid because I've already gone through the interview process. Any advice on what should I do here?
I've done 4 interviews with a company in the finance space that pays pretty well. I've completed my technical interviews and have advanced to the cultural/behavioural rounds where I'm set to speak with senior business folks, including the COO and the CEO.
Initially, I was excited to be at this stage and resolved to prepare by talking to former employees of the company who could give me insights into the work and culture that I could use to impress my interviewers. However, my conversations with these folks served to turn me off of the company. Everyone said it's a grind culture where people are expected to work 60 hours a week. I've done the math and on a per-hour worked basis, the pay's not actually that great.
Based on the lack of challenge to my interviews so far and my convos, I get the sense the company is desperate to fill the role because the former employees I spoke to had enough of the bad work-life balance and quit.
I'm pretty sure I can get the offer, but I don't see much point anymore. I won't accept it at the salary the recruiter gave and even if I can bump it up 15% I still won't. So I think the best thing to do is to cancel my interviews and save everyone time.
My question is, how do I back out gracefully? I don't think telling the truth ("your culture stinks") is appropriate here. I was thinking of saying that I got another offer, but if they really care, they'll be able to see that my LinkedIn hasn't changed, and maybe that'll leave a bad taste.
Any insights are welcome :)
- Communication is fundamentally an exercise in empathy - The entire goal of communication is to align with or win over another human being in some way.
- Strive to put yourself in the shoes of the person you're communicating with. Try to see the world through their eyes.
- What are their values? What makes them happy? What are they struggling with? What do they care about? What's their background?
I get this from a high level, I understand this concept, but I'm struggling to understand this from an actionable perspective. Would you be able to expand on this maybe with an example?
I cold emailed Tech Lead of a small startup (series A) and got the chance to have a coffee chat with them. How can I ensure that I have an effective coffee chat and it doesn't sound like an interview?
I found an open position for that company. So my real goal is to get a referral/hope that the HM is the contact. But obviously I don't plan to be upfront with mentioning a referral/the position and only bring it up towards the end.
But putting the referral bit aside, I am also genuinely interested in learning about their career, what they do, and understanding the technical aspects of the problems they are working with
Finally I would like to give value to them back as well, but there's only so much I can do as a junior. How can I give them value?
Other things I will do:
Finally Alex says, good communication is all about understanding the other person's incentives. wrt a coffee chat, what is the incentive for a tech lead? I'm sure a good part of it is paying it forward. But if anyone would be willing to highlight the incentive of a tech lead, I would greatly appreciate it!
I've noticed that when recruiters reach out on LinkedIn, their main objective is to get me on a phone call to discuss the role they're looking to fill.
From my point of view, there's always 3 things I want to know before speaking with them:
I just had a recruiter reach out looking to get me on a call, and in asking for the above 3, he provided the first 2 and not the comp. range. I messaged him back asking point-blank about comp.
My question is, should I be this direct? Or are there advantages to getting on the phone call with the recruiter first (advantages to me, that is, not to them).
I recently got to an onsite round of a company for a backend engineer role (I have got no front-end experience so far) and they mentioned having a product architecture round which assesses how I can articulate user stories, come up with functional requirements and how I effectively collaborate with the tech lead of the team.
Does anyone have any recommendations on how to prepare for such a round?
I found some helpful videos on YouTube and I would like to hear from the Taro community on what's the best way to prepare and approach such interviews and if you all have any personal tips/ways to structure how you tackle various things in such interviews.
Hey, I hope you all are having a good one.
I was curious how do you network on LinkedIn to find Internships/jobs.
Thank you in advance.
Hey Taro members,
Since in most companies, I believe the 1:1 with Managers is biweekly or weekly I was thinking about what to communicate in every meeting. At times, I run out of things to discuss. We cover topics related to how tasks are going, feedback if any, and after that, there's not really anything else. Given the fact these meetings are recurring, I want the communication to be more natural. Any advice for that since I do realize the importance of 1:1's and would like to make the most of it?
Also, any other topics besides the ones mentioned above that should be discussed in 1:1 something I can initiate a discussion about as an Entry Level Engineer and make the most out of these 1:1s?