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Google is an American multinational technology company that focuses on search engine technology, online advertising, cloud computing, and much more. It is considered one of the Big Five technology companies.

Finding more scope internally vs. swapping company

Mid-Level Data Engineer [L4] at Google profile pic
Mid-Level Data Engineer [L4] at Google

I've been a Data Engineer for most of my career and my observation is that scope as a Data Engineer can plateau and therefore I see a lot more L4/5 DE's than L6+. I think it is because you don't impact the bottom line directly and regularly.

At FAANG's I've worked at so far, finding new scope can be difficult even when you are working with stakeholders: it is "easier" to scope/build a product (i.e. SWE work) and show metrics of success to add value vs building a data pipeline which may be limited to them having a reporting need for example which often isn't the case especially in a more established firm.

I moved into a partner facing DE role to help more with scope/stakeholder exposure. The highest impact project I worked on so far is influencing an internal team to change the way we measure a particular metric. This involved mostly stakeholder management and nothing more complex than SQL queries from a technical standpoint. While it was fulfilling, this is also something I 'stumbled' upon and is rare due to challenges like partner scope/vision is limited/slow (their leadership can change and therefore you projects/ideas can), technical challenges of automating things because of larger concerns (e.g. privacy, lack of infra on their side which you have no control over) and so on (you generally have even less control than an internal DE).

In my current role, I am generally able to derive projects, but (in my opinion) they are limited in scope/value: i.e. build a pipeline, deliver an analysis. Therefore, even though the projects 'ticks the boxes' for an L5, it is not really driving a 'transformation' as an L6+ would. I also directly asked my manager what are some of the hardest problems we have, and have been told we have a lot, yet, I'm not hearing or seeing them.

Given the situation, would you:

  1. Move to a SWE role internally at FAANG for a more established path 'up' (not sure this resolves the scope problem especially at FAANG as I think SWE-DE's can almost be even harder to get to L6+ on because they generally lack stakeholder visibility and focus on more top down work?).
  2. Seek roles outside of FAANG where the scope of the work is already scoped to L6+ e.g. Airbnb so the 'heavy lifting' has been done in terms of scope.
  3. Refine your scoping strategy within you own team, and if so, how?

Note: my motivation is to thrive at work, this isn't for a promo, just incase the post comes across as promo-focused. :)

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Design skills for software engineer at different levels

Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Google profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Google

Hi my software engineer friends,

Want to ask what is the requirement for design skills at different levels.

I am a software engineer, and for each project I always write a design doc, most time I am listing different options for some implementation. But that is mostly about different ways of data flows, the pros and cons of each data flow. It is not related to design patterns, nor architectures, but it seems enough to move on with my project and team is generally OK with design doc like this way. To make a good design, I feel right now it is more about context, about familiar I am with team's tech stack and all the data flows, and make good judgement about how to implement something.

I also have that in mind "do not try to apply design patterns for the sake of applying it, use it organically".

So a few questions I have

  1. Is it normal that in software engineer's daily job, the design is just about how to implementation something? Or I need to try to apply any design pattern or architecture? Is the general design concept same as object oriented design? Want to see am I under design stuff or I am overthinking about this
  2. How to you learn the design skills, especially to the space of web application?
  3. Any books recommended for designing web apps?
  4. What is your opinion about design skills at different levels?
  5. Do you think design is the core skill of a software engineer?
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Should I continue being a mentee with my assigned team mentor?

Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Google profile pic
Entry-Level Software Engineer [L3] at Google

My manager had assigned a mentor for me on my team to help onboard me. My assigned mentor asked me about what timing works best for me and I told them I gave them full discretion around timing and cadence since my calendar was basically completely open compared to theirs. By the time we had our first 1:1, it was a 15 minute time-slot right before our daily standup. We would have these mentoring sessions ~2x a week for a few weeks before these mentoring sessions just fizzled out and stopped completely.

Now my manager is urging me to continue these mentoring sessions with the same assigned mentor citing that the reason they fizzled out was because my mentor "was not sure whether I wanted to continue the sessions and was waiting for me to set up more sessions if I was interested" even though I had expressed enjoyment of the sessions we have had thus far.

Should I be proactive here in reengaging my assigned team mentor and scheduling mentoring meetings with them? I wouldn't mind having a little more time than 15 minutes per session and in a different timeslot than right before standup, but I respect that it is tricky considering the mentor is remote and in a timezone 2 hours behind the rest of the team. I also wouldn't really know what to proactively ask them for during these sessions beyond typical work questions as part of working with them on the same team. How proactive should I be here?

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