Teams in companies don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, they are part of a larger organization. And getting this right is just as important and hard as getting teams right.
Teams and team formation are a fundamental part of any organization. But getting them right is far from trivial. And there are a lot of ways to mess things up. So it’s important to have a “correct” definition for them.
In my time at Bolt, I’ve been involved with managing, bootstrapping, and reorganizing my fair share of teams. I made all the mistakes. To save others from doing so I’ve written several internal guides. Now I’m adapting and publishing them for a wider audience. I believe the lessons are theoretically sound and should apply across companies and industries. Like the previous post on reading lists, this one is geared towards a manager audience. Nevertheless, working in a badly set up team is a world of difference from working in a well set up one. Hence even as an individual contributor, this knowledge is useful. You’ll know what to look for and what to avoid!
Folks starting out on their management career or thinking about higher-level engineering roles such as Staff have a daunting task ahead of them. While much of the specifics vary company by company, there’s some fundamentals that tend to stay the same. Luckily “there have been whole books written about this stuff”! Even more luckily I’ve compiled a big list of books I’ve found useful that made it into a sort of required reading list for folks in my group. I’m sharing it now with this wider audience.
In a previous article in this series, we spoke about the types of software companies and some general strategies for your job search. Now it’s time to turn our attention to how companies organize their workforce. It turns out the tech industry has standardized the type and the scope of work engineers do to a large degree. Whether you’re outside or inside this system, knowing how it works is important when looking at a long term career in technology.
The type of software company you work for has a massive impact on your career. In the last article, we saw how your approach to interviewing can hold you back in your career. Working for the wrong type of company can have a similar effect. Working for the right type of company can act as a force multiplier. It can push you further than your skills alone could. And it can also provide on-the-job training. Or an environment of constant learning and development. Or in very broad terms, it can “open up doors”.
Over the last year, I’ve reached out to almost 1000 engineers trying to get them to interview for Bolt. I’ve had some success and plenty of failures. But I have learned a lot about how people approach interviews and career development. And I’ve identified seven “anti-patterns” that I think are detrimental to a successful career.
In this article, I want to share these anti-patterns with you. I also want to share my approach to effective “job searches”. I hope these will prove useful to you.
I’m gonna work off some assumptions. You’re a software engineer with some years of experience. You want to get the most out of your career. You’re based somewhere in Europe, the US, LatAm, or so. Life is going OK for you and you want to optimize your long-term career. If this is not you, then you may or may not get something out of all this.
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