Climbing the IC Ladder – Why Infrastructure Might Not Be Your Golden Ticket

Oct 25, 2023 by manish

Here’s a myth – Many engineers working at FAANG companies think that moving to the infrastructure team is the easiest way to climb an IC career ladder to staff+ role 🧗‍♂️

At the outset, it seems logical because infra projects impact multiple teams or orgs by the nature of work. And impact of your work is one of the major criteria for promotion.

⚠️ However, I have seen many examples of engineers transferring to infra teams because they think they’ll grow fast but they struggle because of the unexpected challenges.

Infra projects look shiny from the outside but they have very high technical complexity. 😳

Infrastructure lives at the intersection of multiple systems and developer workflows – hence, infra engineers need to have knowledge of multiple systems and developer workflows.

Most of the infra teams don’t have product managers, and engineers need to play that role. 🎭

💡 Both infra and product roles require engineers to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. But, understanding customer requirements falls squarely on engineers, unlike product teams where PMs and designers provide support.

🕵️‍♀️ Consider these points before committing to what seems like an easy solution. “Tour of Duty” in infrastructure is an effective method to test the waters. “Tour of duty” also gives you an opportunity to be on the other side and build some empathy for infra engineers.