Hey, so the other day I retweeted this post about what it means to be a senior engineer:
A Sr. Engineer’s responsibility isn’t to make puns, work on whatever they want, & fly around the world giving talks.— Garen 🥀 Torikian (@gjtorikian) February 1, 2019
MENTOR others to become better than you.
DENOUNCE toxic culture.
CRITICIZE decisions that hurt others.
Programming is EASY.
Being a decent human is still hard.
The tweet does describe a senior engineer, but it isn’t a definition of what a senior engineer does (as much as it is a cluster of some behaviours that senior engineers should exhibit). It’s not that it’s wrong, it’s just incomplete.
I still agree with it and I stand by it 100% – programming is the easy part, being a decent human being is harder. But I also think that it focused too heavily on critique, and critique is not enough.
Critique is so limiting. It’s not enough to just denounce toxic culture; a senior engineer’s job is to create a nourishing culture instead. It’s not enough to just criticize decisions that hurt others; a senior engineer’s job is to be involved in the decision-making process and represent the interests of the affected people.
And so on.
This is just a few examples of what a senior engineer can/should be. As I continue to leverage my impact as a senior engineer at Artsy, I’m exploring what it means to even be a “senior” engineer. The tweet was a great reminder for me about the responsibilities of leadership, and it’s gotten the wheels of my brain turning to figure out what more I can bring to the role.