Back to resources

How to Produce Impact as a New Engineer

Personal Growth
Leadership
Impact
Juniors

4 April, 2022

Nhm Tanveer Hossain Khan
Nhm Tanveer Hossain Khan

Principal Software Engineer at WeWork

Hossain Khan, Principal Software Engineer at WeWork, shares experiences and lessons he’s learned from his career, as well as tips on how to continue a learning mindset.

Working With Complex Problems

I find that there are many opportunities in solving complex technical problems. If something is easy and everyone can do it, companies will value the work as highly replaceable, and it will be difficult to create a large impact. Whatever work you’re doing needs to add value to the company’s well-being. Also, it has to help you learn and grow. A good read related to this is “So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.

For example, I’ve been a part of the team that works on legacy systems that have been being built since the organization was a startup. Many engineers are scared of these systems and try to avoid them – since they’re old, complex, and problematic to work with. I enjoy this project, however, as it continues to teach me how to manage and control a system without completely modifying it. I highly recommend this book “Monolith to Microservices by Sam Newman”.

Learnings For New Engineers

The Mindset:

When joining a new company or team, individuals should be aware of the culture and dynamics. Sometimes the team may work in a new manner, or their mindset may be different. From early on, when I join a team, I focus on how I can contribute to the team and learn from them. I always want to deliver the work better than I’ve done in the past.

No matter what organization you work in, you need to be curious and hungry to learn something new. If you constantly get bored by having repetitive work, I recommend doing each iteration differently. When I use different methods to complete the same task, I remain engaged and up-to-date with new tools, technologies, or patterns. Not exactly related but I transformed my understanding from this book – “First Break All The Rules by Gallup”. I hope others may find it interesting.

Career Development:

When working at a larger organization, growth equals visibility. The more visible you are, the more opportunities you have to work with cross-functional teams to solve wide-scale problems. Before moving up the ladder, I recommend asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do I want more responsibility?
  • Do I want a new perspective within the company?

I believe that these answers often relate to the seasons of your life. For example, sometimes you may want to simply be comfortable within your career – as you’re focusing on raising a family or personal things. At other times, you may want to explore the career more and branch out to work on new things.

MVP:

MVP pivots into a tangible product from a concept along with the customers and stakeholders. It gathers feedback sooner. However, I believe in the purpose of an MVP. I don’t believe that the short lifespan of an MVP is beneficial. Numerous times I’ve seen the MVP outlast the real product time. When teams are writing the MVP software, the tendency is to write code dirty and quick. The reality is that when the MVP works, teams end up expanding upon it, which will eventually lead to challenges down the road.

I recommend that teams keep their increments small while using quality code. In the past, this is how I’ve built systems that continue to live for a long time. I also recommend that teams write tests as tools to validate their code.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

10x engineer or 10x impact?

26 May

Hiring 10x engineers is hard for most companies. It’s a tough battle out there for talent. So how should most companies approach building their team?

Building A Team
Leadership
Hiring
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Vaidik Kapoor

Vaidik Kapoor

VP Engineering - DevOps & Security at Grofers

The Art of Asking Why: Narrowing the Gap Between Customers and Users

24 May

Jord Sips, Senior Product Manager at Mews, shares his expertise on a common challenge for product managers – finding root causes and solutions.

Customers
Innovation / Experiment
Product
Personal Growth
Leadership
Stakeholders
Users
Jord Sips

Jord Sips

Senior Product Manager at Mews

Streamlining Product Processes After a Reorganization

16 May

Snehal Shaha, Lead Technical Program Manager at Momentive (fka SurveyMonkey), details her short-term technical strategy to unify processes among teams following an acquisition.

Acquisition / Integration
Product Team
Product
Building A Team
Leadership
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Reorganization
Strategy
Team Processes
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Snehal Shaha

Snehal Shaha

Senior EPM/TPM at Apple Inc.

Growing Through Different Engineering Lead Roles

8 May

Weiyuan Liu describes his experience moving up from an individual contributor, tech lead, and engineering manager.

Leadership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Weiyuan Liu

Weiyuan Liu

Director of Engineering at Zillearn

Here to Make a Recognizable Difference: How to Develop Teams

5 May

Eric Merritt, VP of Engineering at Whitepages.com, divulges on the many complexities of developing teams in management by solving problems according to their needs, and empowering teams.

Leadership
Impact
Sharing The Vision
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Eric Merritt

Eric Merritt

VP of Engineering at Whitepages.com

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.