Growing in Your Career and Becoming a Full-Stack Engineer

Katerina Hanson

Sr. Engineering Manager at Kojo


Searching for the Next Step in my Career

I had been working as an engineer for a long time, becoming a full-stack developer. With my technical abilities at their heightened level, I found myself searching for an opportunity that allowed me to be the first engineer in something. During my search, I learned that many junior engineers were calling themselves full-stack developers due to Hackbrights and other coding boot camps. I disagreed with this method as I felt that junior engineers should choose their passion and excel in that before learning many other coding languages.

Becoming a Full-Stack Engineer

Pursuing my Passion:

Initially, when I began my career, I started solid back-end development. I had more interest and a stronger skillset in back-end development and felt that I should pursue this passion. From there, I slowly moved further into the back-end and was writing deployment scripts. After fleshing out my abilities to excel in back-end tech, I transitioned to work with front-end development. Moving forward, I ramped up and came to the realization that I was truly a full-stack engineer.

Becoming the First Engineer:

After registering that I was a full-stack engineer, I pursued my interest in being the first engineer and developing everything from the front-end to back-end code. I had visions of setting up an application in a way that would allow junior engineers to work on it without moving my progress backward. If I established enough processes in place, it would replicate a sandbox environment in which a group of juniors could experiment and test their abilities without hurting my product.

My vision essentially came true, where I brought in multiple groups of student engineers to enhance my code and learn new techniques. They worked incredibly hard, but my application never made it to execution. Even though my product never made it to market, the leadership experience I gained was still a major step in my career.

The opportunity to lead a group of student engineers grew my technical and leadership skills. I was able to add management experience with front-end, back-end, and dev ops teams.

Growing as an Engineer

  • For an engineer looking to grow, I recommend specializing in one field before transitioning to learn new languages and departments. After learning one language, picking up a second and third language will be significantly easier and quicker.
  • Understand how you learn. The fastest way for me to learn a new language will not work for everyone. I do, however, recommend that you jump into a codebase and experiment with the new language to get a better understanding.
  • Not everybody is ready to learn new coding languages at the same point in time. For instance, Python usually has a tougher learning curve than other program languages, as it automates many things for the user.

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Katerina Hanson

Sr. Engineering Manager at Kojo

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationTechnical ExpertiseTechnical SkillsProgrammingSoftware DevelopmentCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionSkill DevelopmentIndividual Contributor Roles

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