Whether you’re a Staff+ engineer looking to maximize your impact, or a senior engineer pushing to get to the next level, these are the five ideas you need to read.
1. Ryan Harter, Getting credit for invisible work at the Staff+ level
Staff+ job descriptions are ambiguous. And often, your biggest wins come from subtle decisions rather than obvious technical feats. But this ‘invisible’ work is hard to sell to management and can easily go unnoticed. In this article, Ryan Harter shares strategies for making your Staff+ superpowers understandable to the company so you can get the recognition you deserve.
Another ambiguous aspect of Staff+ roles is how much you should be coding. When it’s up to you to allocate your own time, how can you make sure you’re striking the right balance to deliver the highest possible impact? Joy Ebertz shares a ballpark figure (hint: 20-40% of your time) and outlines a list of helpful factors to consider when making your own decision.
3. Jeffrey Sherman, The dangers of pulling rank as a Staff+ engineer
Every engineering career includes disagreements about code and technologies. But when you enter a Staff+ role, the way you resolve those disagreements has to change. In this article, Jeffrey Sherman explains why you must resist the urge to pull rank over your teammates. Not only do you lack the official power vested in you by managers, but you’ll lose the most important things you’re building: trust and comradery.
4. Zach Millman, Getting big changes implemented at the Staff+ level
Operating at the Staff+ level means delivering multi-team, multi-year impact to your organization. Many senior engineers on the edge of promotion find it difficult to level up, as the processes they’ve learned for writing team-level RFCs won’t cut it when trying to get bigger changes implemented. Here Zach Millman shares a practical planning template for getting initiatives off the ground at the Staff+ level, and keeping them on track.
5. Scott Triglia, How to build and scale a Staff+ engineering community
Congratulations, you’ve made it into a Staff+ role! But does it feel less defined, and perhaps lonelier, than you expected? Scott Triglia has spent the last couple of years building his own Staff+ engineering community at Stripe as a way to make these roles more fulfilling and support and cultivate the folks who inhabit them. Now he’s sharing why these communities are so important, as he guides you through building and scaling your own.
If you want to find out more about Staff+ roles from staff engineer to CTO, you can also check out our webinar series, ‘Defining the IC career ladder’.