The Individual Contributor Path

For most of my early career, I was told the only path up was through management roles. Our market has since evolved, and Staff+ engineering roles are more common and offer us a different path. But what is a Staff/Principal engineer? What do they do? How do they work? Are they just managers who can't admit it?

Let's explore all these topics, the skills you need, the role you may play, and the different flavors of Individual Contributors you will discover while we figure out how to hotwire your growth in this career path.

This is a work in progress; some variation may happen. As a Principal Engineer focused on mentoring our Staff Engineers, I have seen how much lack of information there is on this path and how often people put themselves in boxes that limit their ability to impact the engineering organization. This talk will try to draw a clear path and help them see potential opportunities while we outline the overlaps with managers and directors.

Rafael Dohms

Architect @SurveyMonkey. Builder of simple code, streamer of data and communicator.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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