My last week of vacation. I’ve been reading Cass Sunstein’s #republic and the usual stuff from newsletters and Twitter.

What’s it like as a senior engineer?

Author: Zain Rizvi (found via Reddit)

At the senior levels, most of your time goes into identifying what needs to be built and how to build it. You have to research what the problem looks like. You talk to others and get everyone to agree on what needs to be done.

Your main job isn’t coding, they write; it’s researching the problem, designing a solution, and building consensus. An important, required skill is empathy: understanding why people disagree with you, and what they value differently.

And sometimes, there’s no single person who has the answer you need. Finding those people in the organization is its own skill.

I liked this article. I think a lot of people that I know would benefit from reading this. This reinforces the idea that programming and statistics alone won’t get me very far in data science.

How to achieve career growth: opportunities, skills, & sponsors

Author: Damian Schenkelman (found via Twitter)

The author connects growth, opportunities, skills, and sponsors, which are interconnected. Opportunities increase depending on your sponsors; your skills increase depending on how fast you learn from opportunities; you get more sponsors by having more people perceive your skills positively.

In terms of available opportunities, the author first notes that if there are few available, it doesn’t matter how good you are. But otherwise, pick opportunities based on your growth goals (yeah …) and then figure out how to get more (or create your own).

You always need sponsors, and you need to make your skills visible to them, and these sponsors need to help make your skills visible to others. This puts a lot of ownership on the individual. And it requires lots of self-awareness!

The biggest decisions about your career are often made when you’re not in the room.

This quote will stick with me. Great article.

Shorter articles

Software engineering manager interview questions by Adam Kalsey lists questions they like to use to interview engineering mangers. These have to do with: getting out of the weeds and focusing on the bigger picture; working with other teams; handling intra-team issues; communicating with the team; and growing their team. Good stuff, if I ever have to use this.