Staff Engineer: Growing beyond code

Dec 7, 2023 by manish

When you are invited to a cross functional meeting as a staff+ engineer, you are expected to add value beyond just a technical input.

Once you get to staff level, the skill of connecting your technical knowledge with the business context becomes very important.

Your thinking needs to evolve beyond just coding and solving technical problems.

You are expected to know or start forming answers to questions like:

🤔 Why are we building this?

💊 What customer pain point are we trying to solve?

🫰 Which parts are expensive to build?

🔄 How can we build it iteratively and deliver customer value fast?

🔝 What is the right way to prioritize and sequence?

🧩 Who is best suited to own each piece and why? (connecting dots between skills and career aspirations)

⚖️ What technical debt can we payoff and what is ok to accrue?

Your ability to leverage your technical knowledge to collaborate with cross functional partners and making decisions to move initiatives forward is what makes you valuable.

As a staff engineer, you’re now a bridge between tech and business, an ally to the customers, and a role model to junior engineers.