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>A senior engineer is someone you can point in the general direction of a business problem. They rarely get requirements, and never fleshed out. Their job is to understand the problem in consultation with stakeholders, guide a team through execution, and maybe but not always write or debug some critical parts.

That sounds more like a manager or architect than an engineer. Engineers should take a proactive role in discovery and talking with business to figure out the best place to create value (that's a once a month meeting for us), but at the end of the day it's up to the PO to translate business needs into product development. Either way, I doubt you need 4+ hours a day to flesh out the technical requirements. When I worked at bigger companies, I'd spend only roughly 4 hours coding a day too. It's not because the problems were harder, but because there were blockers at every corner due to siloing and overly complicated business processes. I'd spend days in meetings and escalation emails just to get a networking rule exception.

>As a senior engineer, if I told my manager in a performance review that I mostly worked alone on tickets with well defined requirements, Iā€™d be on PIP immediately and probably fired a month later.

Then you're a sucker. Engineers are supposed to write code. Even at the bigger companies, all senior engineers (and I mean 15+ experience) wrote code most of the time and did everything in their power to avoid meetings and other disruptions. That's how I learned about the "Law of Two Feet". Business expects you to coordinate between stakeholders and the rest of the engineering team. What's next? Should you manage the team's budget as well? Make long-term product roadmaps? Get yourself a promotion!




Managers are responsible for careers: hiring, development, satisfaction, promotion, visibility, and so on. Senior ICs (L5+) are responsible for the work. They own their products and domains, including architecture and long-term roadmaps, and are ultimately accountable for its impact. I did get myself that promotion... it was called Senior Engineer.

We have people who do JIRA tickets specified and prioritized for them ahead of time by others. They are called Engineer I and Engineer II. They don't get paid nearly as much or have the autonomy and recognition that senior engineers do. Most of them are biding their time waiting for managers to finally find projects they can drive instead of help with, so that they can finally demonstrate senior competencies and get the title themselves.


I guess it's just a difference of nomenclature theb. FAANG (especially Amazon and Microsoft) are just so big that the stratification creates a lot of roles to facilitate the org. Even at my old company (~5500 staff), our managers only owned one product but I guess your RM would have an entire portfolio.




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