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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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