Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track

by: Will Larson (0)

At most technology companies, you'll reach Senior software engineer, the career level for software engineers, in five to eight years. At the career level, your company's career ladder won't require that you work towards the next promotion; being promoted further is an exception rather than expected. This is also when many engineers are first given an opportunity to move into engineering management. Over the past few years, we've seen a flurry of books unlocking the engineering management career path, like Camille Fournier's The Manager's Path, Julie Zhuo's The Making of a Manager, Lara Hogan's Resilient Management, and even my own An Elegant Puzzle. The engineering management career isn't an easy one, but there are maps available to help navigate it. What if you want to advance your career without becoming an engineering manager? The technical leadership path remains relatively undocumented, hard to navigate, and inconsistent across companies. Staff Engineer is your guide to building your career towards a Staff engineering role, receiving the title, and succeeding within the role.

The Reviews

book quality is terrible, ink smudged, inconsistent color and print alignment issues

I'm a software engineer interested in developing my career into the staff level. This book is the only one that touches on this topic that I'm aware of. Sadly, the writing is awful, and the book's production quality isn't much better. The author could've used a much better copy editor. There are sentences that use the word "folks" four times, no exaggeration. It's tedious to read this book, which is too bad because occasionally it offers some useful insights.

As someone who has been working as a Staff Engineer for several years, this book answered several important questions I had about my role and expectations. Moreover, it clarified things that I've observed (about operating at Staff level), that I didn't understand until now.I wish I have read this book sooner, earlier in my career. FYI, I have both the print and Audible versions.This is not a book about engineering management, and it is not about coding or project management. If that's the mindset you are coming from, this book will disappoint.If you are interested in knowing what comes after a Senior engineering level (whether you are a senior or junior developer), and how to operate at that level and beyond, this is the book for you.There's a certain "filtering" that comes with this topic since engineering positions that come after Senior-levels only occur in mature companies that 1) are sufficiently large, 2) are product or service oriented (not limited to web/IT support to other businesses) and 3) are likely to have substantial IP and patents.I would still recommend this book even for engineers working at firms to do match these criteria, since it covers significant material on how to operate efficiently as a team lead.

Just like An Elegant Puzzle, this book is so full of info, ideas, and links out to even more info and ideas. I've out ten hours into reading this and going down the rabbit hole of all the articles linked from the book. Get the kindle version for ease of transitioning through to the linked topics. Great for managers trying to understand their staff+ folx better and especially for Staff+ folx. Already recommending this to everyone and anyone I can get to listen.

I really enjoyed this book and especially the links to blogs/talks that gave me vocabulary for some of the things I hadn't found words for before. As the manager of Staff+ engineers and an engineer at heart, I found this book interesting and energizing to read!

300+ pages of absolutely useless crap. I've seen technical specifications that are shorter. The text meanders on from paragraph to paragraph. The material is better suited to a Medium post ..

I’m sure you get this from a lot of readers. Please add my thanks to the long list and know it is very heartfelt. The collection of interviews were very diverse, and truly helped me see various ways the Staff Engineer role can be viewed in various places. I wish I had read them first perhaps I’d have spent less than 3 months completing the book. It was quite hard getting through the initial chapters. Suggestion: print as 2 different books and keep the interviews rolling in! I’m definitely recommending this!!

I really like how Will writes: he explores relevant systems and tried to distill them. As a newly minted staff eng, this book really helped jumpstart my modeling of how to be effective.

As an staff engineer myself, having an external perspective of what does the role entitles in other organizations has been tremendously valuable. Some of the guides or initial chapters are very practical but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the experiences of some of my colleagues in other companies.Highly recommended to anyone looking beginning a staff engineer or to someone that wants to check areas of personal growth

Some interesting advice mixed with gratuitous virtue signaling.

This is one of those rare books that I wished existed earlier in my career. It is now a book I recommend to both my peers and mentees as it provides great guidance and shares real world examples.

I loved the look and the features were key for me. But I was shocked the quality was as good as it was. Very nice metal parts that would normally be plastic on others. They have plenty of supplies to install. Great packaging. Overall just really good quality. I got the 12 inch so I expected decreased pressure but when I want high high pressure I use the wand and it has great pressure. The rain head is nice and soft with plenty of water. It really feels great. 10/10 would recommend to a friend

Loved this shower head as it was easy to install and compared to the other “rain” shower heads on Amazon. This one has a curved pipe that allows for you to better position the shower head to your liking. I recently purchased the version with the straight pipe from another seller and it would not stop leaking and was difficult to position to my liking due to the straight pipe. Purchase this, you won’t regret it!

I asked my husband why we didn’t order this sooner??? We have one of those tiny square showers and I got sick of having to stand literally up against the wall to shower. This rain head is perfect and you can easily turn it off and switch to the wand if you don’t want to get your hair wet. It’s the best of both worlds and I can now enjoy my shower again!

Instantly, upon opening the box, I was impressed with its quality. This is no plastic temporary fixture, this alloy material was made to last. Even their packaging with Teflon tape and extra rubber washers along with plastic protectors for the threaded ends suggests they actually care about customer satisfaction. If that was their goal - it worked!

I debated on one of these forever and finally settled on this one and it’s been life changing. Wife and I shower together and we each have our own separate shower head. I used some suction cup shower hooks to hold the hose out of the way and this thing is awesome. Been installed for a couple months now and no leaks and all very well made

We had this installed by a plumber just because our shower was being redone at the time. The instructions looked pretty clear. Never had a rain shower before but would not go back to a normal shower head. I love the length of the hand-held and the power of the water from both. Highly recommend it.

I bought another brand first to save 20 bucks, it was messed up and they sent me another one. It also was broken and the quality was just really inferior.As bad as the other brand was this shower head combo is great! Very high quality, easy to install, much more solid and durable than the other brand. Highly recommended.

I was a bit skeptical as it had few reviews but I purchased it anyways. I am SO GLAD I did!It has great pressure, and works amazingly well. We have only had it for a few weeks at this point, but so far we are VERY happy with this purchase. I Would suggest purchasing a suction cup based mount for the handheld portion, the one that comes with it is a sticky backed one and while it works its not the best and being able to move it as needed helps a lot. My only feedback is I wish the arm that the rainfall head is attached two was a few inches longer.

It is a good quality booster seat I use it on my kids haircuts but it could be a little bit bigger but all in all a good seat


You get what you ask. I would recommend to view the sizes and measure your chair, it can save you a return.

Seems to be a high quality vinyl and so complaints so far

Great quality, exactly what I needed for the salon

Great product! Fits my chair perfectly and is very sturdy! Love it

When having short clients… you need this & this hasn’t failed me yet. I get to sit my kids on this and I don’t have to struggle to use my back so much to get the design done! I like it I reccomend

This booster is smaller than I’m use to but perfect for children. Comfortable, excellent quality🤗

This book is filled up stories of real life staff engineers from multiple companies. The wisdom shared by these engineers is invaluable. I recommend this book for anybody aspiring to be a staff engineer or is a staff engineer.

I like the flavor Sukrin Gold offers better than any other sugar alternative I've tried (stevia, splenda, swerve, monk fruit).Since beginning a cleanse, I've eliminated my sugar intake and have missed my morning cup of hot tea.Sukrin Gold has allowed me to enjoy my hot tea again! The flavor is good and probably half as sweet as sugar. It's a blend of several sweeteners, including erythritol, so there is a slight cooling effect in the mouth that is far more acceptable in my opinion than using swerve alone. Sukrin Gold is my choice.Any alternative is costly. I may not bake with it often, but I will continue to use SG in my tea a few times a week.

This is the best brown sugar substitute I have found, hands down! Although they all have some sort of aftertaste, this one is barely noticeable even when baking. It's awesome in oatmeal!

I'm telling you now that this product might be the best you can get without using real brown sugar. It bakes similarly to brown sugar and tastes pretty close. If you taste it raw, you'll DEFINITELY know it's a fake, but used in dishes that call for brown sugar, it acts and tastes a lot like the real thing. Just make sure if you DO use it for baked goods that you use any recipe that accounts for how stevia or artificial sweeteners work in the dish because there often IS a very different chemical reaction or flavor profile that is created when using the fake stuff.I almost hate to give this a 4, but considering it's trying to be something else and still isnt a perfect replacement, I think 4 is adequate, although believe me, there isn't a better alternative on the market.

We use only this since we have to follow a diabetic diet. The texture is more grainy than traditional brown sugar but the flavor is virtually exact! You will never notice the difference when you bake.

This product taste true to the real thing and it measures the same. Other brands still have sugar or nasty chemicals in them, but not this product. It contains no sugar and tastes great. I highly recommend this. Seller shipped out quick, so I can give the seller a thumbs up as well.

Reordered and got a package 1/2 the size of my last order and for at least as much money, if not more. Of course, this is common and especially so with low carb and sugar free products. But if you can afford it, it’s gotta be so much better for overall health

Thank you, Denmark! Sukrin gold looks like real brown sugar, smells like real brown sugar, and tastes as close to real brown sugar as you can possibly get. I used this in a BBQ sauce recipe and it tasted great. Pricier than real brown sugar? Yes, but it's worth it. Those doing Keto should note that Sukrin gold has 8 g of carbs per two teaspoons (that's 24 g per tablespoon). However, when used in my BBQ recipe, those carbs were sufficiently diluted so that my baby back ribs didn't throw me out of keto. Sukrin gold is erythritol with less than 2% of tagatose (yes, a sugar),glycerin, malt extract and steviol glycosides. If I used Sukrin gold in keto-friendly cinnamon buns, I would use too much & throw myself out of nutritional ketosis. So, beware.

Wonderful to bake with.

Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track
⭐ 4.4 💛 720
kindle: $25.00
paperback: $20.26
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