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InfoQ Homepage Presentations How Community Engagement Can Boost Your Staff-Plus Career

How Community Engagement Can Boost Your Staff-Plus Career

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Summary

Eder Ignatowicz discusses becoming a successful staff-plus engineer.

Bio

Eder Ignatowicz is a Principal Software Engineer and Tech Lead for Red Hat Business Automation, leading several tooling efforts, including the Kogito initiative. Java Champion since 2017 and a recognized community contributor and speaker in large conferences across the globe, including Red Hat Summit and Forum, Oracle Code One, QCons, The Developers Conference, and multiple community events.

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Transcript

Ignatowicz: My name is Eder Ignatowicz. I'm a principal software engineer and architect at Red Hat. My career is based on two pillars: open source and community engagement. Those are the main drivers that brought me here to become a staff-plus engineer at Red Hat. On open source, I'm part of the KIE Community. KIE Community is a home for leading open source projects that play a role in delivering solutions around set workflows and decisions. This is automation and artificial intelligence in the cloud. I'm also proud to be an active member of multiple communities, including being an active member of SouJava in Brazil that is the biggest Java user group in the world. I'm a co-chair of multiple QCons, and a Java champion. Currently, I work with tooling for workflows and decisions over Red Hat serverless platform. On my team, we develop tooling for orchestration and coordinating microservices and functions, and a lot of other type of services over the Knative platform.

Staff Engineer Archetypes

When I try to explain to others my career, in the past it was hard. After the launch of the book by Will Larson, called "Staff Engineer," those four archetypes really helped me to describe, and most important to understand what I do and what other staff engineers do. He split staff engineers over four archetypes, the team lead, someone that guides the approach and execution of a particular team, or a group of teams in an area. The architect that is the person responsible for the direction, quality, and approach with a critical area, both today and with eyes on the horizon for multiple years. The third archetype is the solver. The solver is someone that really digs deep into complex, challenging problems, and finds that path. The fourth one is the right hand. The right-hand partner, acting as extension of a CEO or executive level, and become an authority over a particular part of the organization. When I think about my current role at Red Hat, I'm a mix of the team lead and architect for serverless tooling. I lead a reasonable number of people split around 8 initiatives, and around serverless tooling, mostly focused around the serverless ecosystem.

Challenges of Aspiring Technologists Outside of a Tech Scene

The question that I would like to explore is, how did I end up as a staff-plus engineer? There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry. What is the next for your career after you become a senior professional? More importantly, what are the steps until you achieve that? I plan to elaborate how I achieved this role, and how community engagement can pave your path to become a successful staff-plus engineer.

Growing in a small town was a nice experience, however, there was a big challenge when you love computers and programming and decided to pursue a career in tech and live in a rural small town. In my life, I always believe that people get better at whatever they spend their time on. Since the beginning, as a teenager when I got the first contact with a computer, I decided that it was clear for me that the technical track is what sparks joy in my life. I love computers. I love to dig into new technologies to deeply understand software and architectures, and learn new technical domains. I believe that people get better at whatever they spend their time on, I consistently want to keep getting better at technical things.

Some years ago in my career, I faced a wall. Because when you come as an aspiring technologist outside the tech scene, you find a lot of challenges, like lack of understanding your career path because there's no clear path for you beyond senior. Lack of complex challenges at your company because most of the work are CRUD work and tech skills are more or less commodities. More important, the lack of role models and mentors. I don't have guidance of the right direction, even people to help me make my career decisions, and lack of opportunity. Most of the career growth beyond senior requires to be on the managerial path. I believe most of the challenges that you face when you go to a tech career and you are not in a tech scene, are the same that aspiring seniors have to become a staff-plus engineer.

The Maze to Become Staff-Plus Engineer

The first question that I'd like to discuss is, what is beyond the senior level? A staff engineer path is not well defined. In my case, it was intriguing the fact that everyone more experienced than myself and above the senior level becomes a people manager. I believe that because there is a big maze around to keep on the technical track. If you are destined to become a staff-plus engineer, the conventional wisdom argues that you should figure out the path by yourself. I believe that I am good at anything that I put my effort to remember, but the problem is why and what? What should I do because there is a lot of mysticism around this role? There is this thing that really frustrates me that there is no clear definition in the path. The required skills is hard to replicate because I don't have real models. What bothers me is that when I talk with some people that are more senior and keep coding, they say, you should figure out the path by yourself. There is no clear path for me to pursue in becoming a staff-plus engineer.

Three Pillars to Becoming a Successful Staff-Plus Engineer

Either way, eventually I ended up as a staff-plus engineer at Red Hat. I achieved that, because my career growth was based on three pillars: community engagement, open source, and participation in software conference. Our industry is evolving to try to solve this issue of no clear path beyond senior. Tanya Reilly in her book, Staff Engineer Path, she did a stellar job describing the pillars that support your impact as a staff engineer. I step into new shoes, I always strive to have impact. Tanya described the pillars that will help you to achieve the impact. The first one is big picture thinking. That means that you should be able to step back and take a broader view on year-long projects. The second pillar is execution at staff level. The projects that you take will become more massive and more ambiguous, this will involve more people, more political capital influence, and even changing future of a company.

The third pillar is leveling up, that when you increase your seniority, more responsibility will come for raising the standards and the skills of the engineers in your team and also in your organization. You should be intentional about influencing your team through mentoring, through teaching, as well as incidental influence being a role model. All those three pillars according to Tanya, they sit on a solid foundation of technical knowledge and experience. This foundation is super critical, as technical skills are the foundation for every staff engineer role. You keep exercising these during your whole career. The question still remains, how does someone become a successful staff-plus engineer? How can you learn from the best engineers and access the latest technologies, if your current job or situation, for instance, myself, living in a small Brazilian rural town, doesn't give you this opportunity? I'll share the secret that changed my life and paved my path to become a successful staff-plus engineer.

Community Engagement

Community engagement provides healthy community engagement that provide for you a safe space to develop and sharpen your staff-plus skills. Developer community encourages sharing what you know with others, being a safe space for you to grow as a staff-plus in your field. Also, it provides you motivation and encouragement on the long path towards a staff-plus career. Communities are a big opportunity multiplier and can help you to build a network of peers and open up chances to find mentors and role models in your field. I use the Tanya diagram of the pillars for you, and for each pillar that is in red is the type of community engagement that will help you to develop those skills. Then I believe with community engagement, you can have all of those.

1. Participating in Software Conferences

Let's take a look and understand how community engagement can benefit your career. The first type of community engagement is participating in software conferences. Software conferences can help you build these pillars to drive the impact on your organizations and careers. It can help you build a network of peers. You should remember that participation in an event is much more than just sitting and listening to a talk from an expert. We will see how you can use the impact of attending an event, a QCon, and how this can change your career. Attending conferences and small user group events, you can stay ahead of others and be aware of new and emerging technological trends. The biggest takeaway by attending any tech conference for you would be definitely bringing home a new perspective to our business and technology, and even life in general. Another important aspect is that you are cultivating the habit of investing in yourself. Because this is something that you should do and you do for your whole life, you decide to pursue the staff-plus engineer. It is the habit that you need to cultivate. Whether you're going for the network purpose inspiration to get updated on upcoming trends or just to get yourself away from your daily hustle, attending those events means you are investing in yourself.

Talking about my timeline, in my career, in 2007, I started as a software engineer. Suddenly, I become the controversial two year senior. The next year I became a software coordinator, a polite name to someone managing a project without the official role and a salary of a real manager. At this moment in 2010, I was really disappointed with my career, and almost quit tech. The technical track is what sparked my joy, but unfortunately, I didn't see career growth. The only career path that I ever had was the management path to become a people or project manager. That is something really respectful, I really admire my managers and the senior management but not something that sparked joy in my life. The problem that coming from a place that there is no role models, no reference in tech industry, for me there was no clear perspective of growing outside of being a manager. The problem for me is that the manager was the only clear path. I think that there is a bunch of things in the tech industry that even though I know, that I don't know. I even didn't know that those things exist, and this put up a lot of damage for my vision and my understanding of my career. That's why I almost quit tech.

I was a little upset and I was coding less, and forced to become a manager as the only career path. I decided to explore new ways to sharpen my tech skills. Luckily, I found a community where I could create a safe space to discuss Java technology, the SouJava. Specifically, I went to SouJava Campinas, that is SouJava in my hometown, and there, I figured out that there is a portal called InfoQ. Really, InfoQ became part of my morning routine. Then I decided to write for it. InfoQ just starting at InfoQ Brazil, and I started to translate dozens of news and articles for InfoQ to Portuguese. Due to that, I received a free ticket to QCon Sao Paulo 2011, a conference that at that moment I only hear a bit about. My participation in the conference was a blast. I still remember the feeling of how happy I was because finally I saw people that are even beyond senior. They are people that are really leaders in our industry that I don't even know that exist, and they're still in the career path, and this brings me a lot of joy. The only issue of attending the conference is that there are 1500 people there, discussing things that I've never heard before. The aftermath for me was that my position of InfoQ or QCon adoption curve, I was pretty on the right. I have no clue of the people that were talking there. I spent three days watching talks. I heard people say words, and I never saw those words before. The most important thing that happened for me is that for the first time, I realized that there is a thing called path beyond senior, and from that moment, I decided that my goal would be to replicate what those people do in their careers.

If you are attending a conference, and you are an aspiring staff, you should attend your conference to inspire you to grow, to find your role models, and to update with new trends, and eventually become a reference at your company. This is what the company did for me when I was an aspiring staff. One thing that helped me to become a staff-plus in my company in my user group was that I started to present conference summary of all the things that I learned in the conference for people in the user groups and in my company. This eventually led me to a lot of speaker opportunity, but this is where I started for later. If you are a staff-plus engineer, the major takeaway for you attending a conference should be to help you take a broader view of our field, to do a lot of network with peers, and open up new perspectives for you.

The question is, how should I attend a conference? What are suggested takeaways, when I attend a conference? For me, my suggested takeaways for you, and if you are an aspiring staff-plus engineer, you should talk with three new people. You should try to connect with the conference speakers. When you come back, you should present the conference summary at your company. You should find one new topic to learn in the following weeks. If you are already a staff-plus engineer and are attending a conference, I suggest you talk with three new people, connect with conference organizers, and assess your project with the lessons that you've learned at the conference. Even reproduce the learning of your conference to your team, when you're back from the conference. I suggest you watch a full track of a different field. At QCon, we have three days, take one day to sit in a full track that you have no idea, this can maybe open you up for a new domain. I gently ask you to introduce a junior person from your team or your company to the conference circuit. Present to them, why conferences are so good and why we are out here. With this, we conclude the first type of community engagement that is participating in conferences.

2. Speaking At Community Events

The second one is speaking at community events. Speaking at community events are rewarding for various reasons. It lets you share and seek feedback. It lets you develop public speaking skills. It helps you build credibility over the field. It helps you to network with other speakers. One of the best things for me is that speaking at community events and conferences, lets me travel the world for free. Talking about my timeline. I remember in 2011, I was really active as an InfoQ editor. In 2012, one year later, something really interesting happened. One day before the conference, a speaker cancelled their presentation at the Java thread, and the thread host was desperate trying to find a replacement. The lucky moment for me was this host was also a member of InfoQ, and asked in the InfoQ editor's mailing list, if someone had something ready to present at the conference. I said yes. In the end, my talk was about Java REST APIs, and was one of the best evaluations of the conference. The success of this talk guaranteed me that I was invited to the next QCon, and later I presented the same talk about Java REST APIs at my first international conference, JavaOne, San Francisco. I used a justification for the abstract of my talk, the QCon Sao Paulo evaluation, I literally copy pasted the evaluation in the abstract, and also edited a bit of my talk. If you remember that three years ago, I almost quit tech. Three years later, I was speaking at the TDC Java conference in the most important tech hub that is San Francisco. Nowadays, I'm a regular speaker on multiple events. This is something that I'm really proud of.

There is always a secret behind these type of stories. When I went to QCon, and I decided to be like those persons, and I had started to present a conference summary and new trends at my local group at my company. Between 2011 and the last-minute invitation for QCon Sao Paulo, I presented more than 20 talks in user groups and a small conference in one year. I was speaking like crazy, almost every week. When the QCon host approached me in the InfoQ mailing list, I had five different Java talks ready and battle tested. I showed him a buffet of Java talks that I can present. That is the reason why he chose me. Another important aspect is that all those talks gradually made me a reference in my local user group and in the Java community, and later I became a Java champion. I keep talking a lot. I keep presenting a lot to user groups. Even this talk, before coming here to QCon San Francisco, I did three private rehearsals in different user groups to become ready to present at this conference for you.

What are my takeaways, and how speaking at community events changed my life? When I was an aspiring staff-plus, speaking at local community events taught me as an introvert how to speak in public and have a huge impact on my career growth. More specifically, help me build my personal brand and become a reference in a Java community. I also became a really well connected person. If you are a staff-plus engineer, speaking at an event is at first a good thing for the industry, it will help our community to move forward. It is a way for you to give back to the community. Also, helps you sharpen your axe, keeping you updated in the field, and practicing to do important enterprise or corporate presentations. Another important aspect is that this helps you to build a network of peers. This is really important because the software conference is where the cool people hang out. You need to be around those cool people to understand. Another important thing is that this helps you to promote your team work, and it helped me to promote my work.

What are my suggested action items for you if you are willing to speak at community events? If you are an aspiring staff-plus engineer, you should do, a 'learn in public' session. Learn something and do a presentation in your local user group or at your company. The second thing that I recommend for you is to find your local user group of your framework or language, and submit this session, should be this learn in public session. Learn how to write a good talk abstract. A good talk abstract makes a real difference of you getting accepted to the conference. If you are already a staff-plus engineer, my recommendation for you is that, if possible, twice a year, do a learn in public session. Learn something new and present in a small user group. Also, promote your teamwork in the software community. Do another talk promoting your teamwork in the software community. On this talk, I beg you to take someone really junior in your team, mentor and pair and go in a conference talk with them, and that way you transform their lives. This concludes the second type of community engagement. We already talked about how participating in a conference can transform your staff-plus engineer career, and how speaking at events can transform as well.

3. Open Source

We go for the third one that is open source. Open source community engagement can contribute a lot for you to sharpen your staff-plus skills. You'll learn how to communicate, especially written. You'll learn how to work remotely in sync with different cultures, because usually the open source projects are multi-culture with people with other roles. Also, you increase a lot of your visibility. Eventually, if you do open source enough, you eventually will become a reference in the field.

What is my timeline with open source? My talk at QCon Sao Paulo, the first one in 2012 was a last-minute moment, but then this brings me the invitation for QCon '13. At QCon 2013, I had some time to prepare. I decided to talk about my consultant work as a final institution project. This project, I was building tooling around an open source project called Drools. Drools is part of the KIE Community at Red Hat. In 2014, I was happy to join Red Hat to work in the tooling in the KIE Community. How did this story happen? At the QCon Sao Paulo, one of the key community leads, Alex Porcelli, was the track host for one of the tracks. You remember then when I told you that you should greet track hosts, talk to them, and meet three new people at the conference? Alex was one of them, in that moment. After I approached him, he noticed my work. I'm lucky that he attended my talk, and we started to discuss my project, and why my team was doing what they are doing. We started to collaborate on the open source community and become great friends. Eventually, there was a new position at Red Hat for his team, and he invited me to work full time in open source. All the rest of my career, was a consequence of this single talk. It is a single talk that I decided to do talking about the open source project in a big event like QCon.

My takeaway is that open source opened a lot of learning opportunities for me, learning how to code, how to write, how to interact with people worldwide, with different backgrounds and with different cultures. It gave me a chance to work on a more interesting and complex project than my current role. If you are a staff-plus engineer, you will be doing good for the industry. You will become a good reference in the field and you'll become a practice to lead without authority. Lead without authority is one of the fundamental skills to become a good staff engineer, because as a staff-plus engineer, most of the times you have no reports. The only way to lead your team is that you learn how to lead without authority.

What are suggested action items for open source engagement? If you are an aspiring staff-plus engineer, find an open source community project that your project currently consumes and try to do the first contribution for this project. To learn how to do the first contribution on the InfoQ, there is this article from Alex Porcelli, "How to Accelerate your Staff-Plus Career through Open Source Engagement," where he describes, step by step, how to do your first open source. If you are a staff-plus engineer, if possible, become a core contributor of an open source community project that your current initiative consumes. This will make you a key strategy, a key asset for your company. Also, mentor and pair with someone from your team and guide them on their first contribution for open source. This concludes the third part of community engagement that is open source.

4. Organizing Events and Communities

The fourth one is organizing events and communities. Organizing events and community are super important because they can have a big impact in your staff-plus career. Organizing events can help you teach how to create technical content, and also teach you to be deliberate analyzing the state of the art of the industry. It will help you to build a network of peers. More important for me in my case, is that it'll help to give back to your community. In 2013, one of my best friends, Leandro, we decided to start a lunch and learn group in our company. We go to the conferences, learn about new things, study, and bring back to the company. We did that during lunch and learn sessions. In the beginning was the younger people and the trainees that came to our session, but the things began to grow, and become bigger. We decided together with some other friends to run our first conference at Campinas in 2013, this conference was called DevConf. It was a lot of work, but the conference was really a success.

Due to that we were invited to become part of the program committee of QCon Sao Paulo in 2014. In 2018, four years later, Leandro became partners running for two years, the whole content and the whole conference of QCon in Brazil. That was an amazing experience and one of the best networking opportunities of my life. I'm still working with QCon, with QCon Plus, and QCon London committees, and it's something that I cannot describe how important it is for my career. Every six months, because we do this every six months, I was lucky enough to reunite with the brightest minds of the tech industry, and discuss what is important for the tech industry right now, what would be the topics for a conference? We decide the talks or the tracks, and then from the tracks, we invite track hosts. The track hosts invite the speakers like myself to be here. It's a huge opportunity for me to understand the software trends, understand the discussions that we have in our group are so varied, and I learn a lot.

My takeaways for organizing a conference is that you remember that the staff-plus engineer archetypes is about the person responsible for the direction, the quality, and the approach of multi-year projects. Organizing community events, and in my point of view, is one of the best ways to keep my eyes updated, and learn with others how to do informed decisions about my project, my architecture. Eventually, I built up a huge network of peers, and I staged the whole conference asking questions about people, how are they doing? What they are doing in the next 10 years. What are their plans for their project for the long term? I'm able to bring out this knowledge back and apply for my company. Another important aspect of this network that I built is that this provides me with motivation and encouragement on the long path towards a staff-plus career, as I saw the referees more than 10 years working to become a staff-plus engineer. Most of the times you feel like you are alone on this path.

One thing that I do try to do as a leader is to shield as much as I can my team from the problems. This takes a lot of energy, and sometimes frustrating because I don't have anyone or a peer to vent. Naturally, with QCon, I built a network of a lot of other staff-plus engineers, and I always have someone in WhatsApp, or to do a quick call just to vent about the problems, and it's really helpful to gather another perspective. As a staff-plus engineer, one of the biggest takeaways for me is that you can become a role model for your team. You can build a network of peers. The most important right now is that you are able to do impact on an industrial level. One example for that, and last year, after reading the staff-plus book from Will Larson, I proposed to have a track on QCon London, to discuss what? To discuss staff-plus engineer paths and career. Fabiane hosted the track there, and the track received really great feedback. Later, the QCon San Francisco committee decided to also have the same track here at this conference. Here I am speaking at QCon San Francisco. That was one of the biggest achievements of my speaking career.

What are my suggested action items for you to organize the community events? If you are an aspiring staff-plus engineer, remember that you find a user group and you start to give talks at your local user group or your local framework group, some meetup. Now it's time to offer help for the leaders of your community. Our software community needs help, needs more people to organize. This is a good opportunity to learn how to execute better projects, because conference is a short time boxed project to learn a lot about managing people, managing timelines, managing deadline, and synchronize with a bunch of people. I recommend you organize a study group in your company and write one-plus article per month to someplace like InfoQ or any public portal.

If you are already a staff-plus engineer, I recommend that you organize a study group in your company with something that is new, not just about the problems that you have on your current project or your current organization. Bring something new. Remember that you should be someone that you have the vision for three years from now. What are the problems that you have in three years from now? What technologies do you learn? Start to build a small study group in your company of those skills. Talk with the conference organizers and ask them how you can help, you can imagine how people will be open to receive your feedback or even receive your help. Please pair with some aspiring staff-plus engineer and help them to organize a small conference or a small tech meetup. For instance, Leandro at that moment, the one that helped me organize the conference, the small lunch and learn groups in my company. He was already a staff-plus engineer at our company. He was the one that helped me find a room, helped me find food for people to eat. He's the one that has the right connections to make this happen. If Leandro didn't do this for me, at that point of my life, probably I'll have different results. Pair with someone to help them achieve their goals.

Summary

I hope that after this, you agree with me that participating in conferences, speaking at community events, contributing with open source, organizing events and communities, all those types of community engagement can be a safe space for you to grow and keep growing as a staff-plus engineer. If you take a step back, and remember that some time ago, there are no clear path beyond a senior role, and remember the impact of attending my first QCon in 2011. Finally, find the role models in my career path. I'm really happy and lucky, that worked out. This was a lucky shot. It's something that I was lucky to have SouJava, receive my first QCon ticket, and then attend the conference to find a role model, to try to replicate on the careers.

Currently, I'm really happy because our community is evolving. We have a better understanding, and people are talking about the paths available for you to grow as a technologist beyond senior. Now we have great books, we have conferences like this one that are discussing, and we have communities talking about that. I'm really happy that I did even a small contribution to it, proposing this track for QCon last year. Finally, our community is building a better map of how to grow our career as a technologist after a senior role. Now we can find more literature, more conference, and it's easy to find staff-plus role models in your community to replicate the steps. There are multiple paths on this map that will lead you to become a staff-plus engineer. Community engagement is one of them. I can certify that worked with me, and it'll still make me grow as a person and in my career, because I believe that community engagement are on the surroundings of each pillar described by Tanya in her book. I hope that after this talk, you are able to better understand that community engagement is one of the paths that can help you to grow and become a successful staff-plus engineer.

Questions and Answers

Nardon: Someone asked about references of books, blogs, or courses that you can take to speak better in presentations or in conferences. Can you elaborate a little more on that?

Ignatowicz: I don't know any book that teaches you how to speak in public, but one thing that worked for me was that I spoke a lot in multiple conferences. In order to achieve that, I'll give one step back. The first thing that I learned is how to write a proper conference abstract, because usually conferences, they receive multiple submissions, so you have to figure out how to write a proper abstract in order to get accepted. There is one thing on that, if you Google how to write tantalizing titles, there's a lot of things that people in marketing use to write a good conference title. Also, you should keep your abstract short. Regarding the blog post, I put a book here that transformed my writing, that is, Writing Well. This book teaches how to write nonfiction. There's a lot of styles of writing. Also, a tool that I use as a foreigner speaking English that helps a lot is to use Grammarly to correct all my grammar and to write proper English.

Nardon: There's a book that is pretty old, but is very nice to read. It's called "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs." You don't have to follow all the tips in there, but they have very good and practical tips on how to present better. There's another one, "The Software Architect Elevator" by Gregor Hohpe.

You talked a lot about interacting with people and sharpening your soft skills in order to become a better staff-plus engineer, because a staff-plus engineer is not only programming or coding, it's more than that. You often are called to give the technical perspective on something, so you have to learn how to explain things to maybe non-technical groups and things like that. Also, to be promoted, you need to be noticed by your skills. Right now, especially for you that you work on open source, so I imagine that a good part of your work is remote work. You work with teams that are not physically in the same space, and after the pandemic and everything, probably a good part of us are working in the same environment. How do you see these interactions that are more, for example, you don't have talks over coffee, or just meeting someone in the company or something like that. What is your experience in this interaction when most of your interactions are not face to face? How do you sharpen your skills? How do you get noticed in this new environment?

Ignatowicz: This is not easy, because for me, always this in-person communication is hard for me personally. It's something that I really need to work out in order to make it work. Actually, being remote for me makes me feel better in my daily life. I have to always fight with the tendency of becoming fully isolated for the whole day, and not talk to anyone, because it's more comfortable for my type of personality. This also impacts you that nobody knows about your work, nobody knows what you do. I don't have a straight answer, but I can share some things that I do that work out. The first one is to keep a bragging document, is something that at the end of every week, you write everything good that happened in your daily job. Like, "I did this, I did that. I talked with these people. I presented this solution. I proposed this. I reviewed this pull request that got merged. I pushed this feature," in order to be able to keep track of everything that you did over the week. Because when you have your next meeting one-on-one with your manager, and being remote, your relationship with the manager is the most important thing that you should care. With this bragging document, you'll be able to recap for your manager everything that you did, and it'll make your manager's life easier to remember what you do, and what you're able to accomplish, for instance, in a quarter.

Another thing that I do that I recommend for everyone in my team is that for every feature that you push, because we work on open source, we put a blog post together with the feature, and advertise. This is easy when you work, everything is on GitHub. I always reply for someone that works in private, publish a blog post on the internet of your company, so anyone else can notice your feature. This would bring attention that you've been practicing, that you become a good writer, and increase the chance of people getting in touch with you to understand what you did. To realize, and also put you in contact with someone that works in productization or someone that sells the software that you build. This will help you grow your notice.

Another thing that I do is that every time that I have an opportunity to go for a conference, right now the software conferences are my space that I go intentionally, to meet new people and to gather new energy. I try to attend a lot of conferences, so this is the time for me to go there and talk with new people, and also to figure out people from my company that are actually speaking and connect with them. The major secret I think is that you should be intentional about how you promote yourself, how you promote your work, because there is no coffee time where you can speak freely. You need to figure out how to sell your work for your manager in a one-on-one. It's easier for you to have a bragging doc, write out about new features. Your team will only realize what you're working on if you publish about it, and also figure out some networking opportunities outside of your company.

Nardon: What do you think companies should do differently to better support staff-plus engineers or people that want to follow this path?

Ignatowicz: I think companies should realize that in order to keep technical people and technical engineers, they need to figure out what is the path beyond a senior position that is not involved to become a manager and have direct reports. Companies need to learn about big techs that are actually working on this path and also in the subject where they're talking this track, to understand how to build inside their company a career path, for people to have a path to put in front, five years from now, what will be my role in the company?

 

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Recorded at:

Dec 13, 2022

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