It’s 2020, and I find myself 12 years into my career, as a Senior Software Engineer, trying to figure out what’s next. I found an article on Hacker News, by Swizec Teller, entitled “Why senior engineers get nothing done”. It articulated very well my experience moving up from and entry level engineer to an incredibly experienced senior engineer. The main idea is as you move up the experience ladders in software engineering, you spend an increasing amount of your time assisting others, collaborating, and coordinating. If left unchecked, this can kill your individual productivity (or the perception of your productivity).

If you are a senior engineer, it’s a good read because it forces you to step outside of yourself and take into consideration all of the contributions you make to your team that don’t necessarily translate to number of lines of code written or pull requests opened. Personally, it was not always obvious that as I gained more experience, my most important contributions were all about laying the groundwork and the plan for a development team and not just building things. As a development team made up of a mixture of backgrounds and levels of experience (traditional college graduates, bootcamp graduates, interns, junior/mid level engineers), being in the senior engineering role means you need to “get good” at making each invididual teammates better if you want your team to be successful in a sustainable way.

Of course, this all works if you are incentivized by your engineering organization to assist your teammates.