Becoming a Staff Engineer (book review)

Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track

Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track by Will Larson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How do you become a technical leader in the software industry? What skill set do you need to develop, what roles does typically exist and how do you get promoted? And perhaps most importantly: how will your calendar look (surprise: a lot less coding). All and more is explored in this fascinating book by Will Larson.

I wish I would have had something like this early in my career as a software developer, but probably even more so as a Director at Spotify. Even with a well defined engineering career ladder, engineers, Engineering Managers, including myself, had a really hard time parsing what staff, and even more staff+, actually meant. It’s very much a black box of wizardry (or perhaps: having experienced it somewhere else).

Larson opens up that box, and I’m sure it will bring a lot of help to both engineers thinking about their careers, EM:s supporting careers, and leaders designing their orgs. It contains a good portion of first principle thinking combined with practical hand on tips. Roughly half the book is interviews with various staff+ engineers from places like Stripe, Fastly, Dropbox, Slack and more giving wonderful insights into life as a staff+ engineer in the (US) software industry.

Highly recommended.

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Författare: pra

Contractor, trainer and author @, ex tribe lead at Spotify & agile coach at Crisp. Active Linux and OSS advocate and developer since 1995 and a former journalist and social scientist. Also loves outdoor activities and wine.