Engineering Manager Role Advise

Dec 7, 2019 18 Comments

I have around 13+ years of experience in software development, from last 5 years mostly into system design/architecture and leading/guiding engineers. I was wondering how does Engineering Manager or Staff Engineer roles at my level works at Google and Facebook. Do they require these people to code with the team, or rather look into big picture, review code, coach and guide others, and get the project delivered with collaboration with other teams.

I feel like I should not be doing lots of coding now, rather use my broad experience to lead engineers, since I can clearly see I have much broader view and experience, is my thinking flawed? Or at this level people still doing coding.

Cheers,

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TOP 18 Comments
  • Google YWzz63
    L5 TL-M will code a bunch, but L6 EM and above don’t *need* to code. I have 12 reports and have barely coded anything

    L5/L6 IC will be expected code
    Dec 7, 2019 5
    • McKinsey TrolBhgvan
      How much of that requires actual engineering knowledge ..?
      Dec 7, 2019
    • Google YWzz63
      I probably do 75% non technical thinking and 25% technical. If you’re not technical you’ll likely not pass an engineering interview at FB/Google. Also if not technical you’ll not get respect from your team which is huge.

      Directors and above have technical backgrounds, but most probably do very little technical activity.
      Dec 7, 2019
  • LinkedIn hulablue
    EM at LinkedIn generally don’t need to code and aren’t evaluated based on whether they ever write a line of code, although many front line EMs write a bit of code here and there to keep a sense of the team’s pain points with tooling, deployment etc. I think it’s a good practice just to stay in touch with the team’s struggles.
    Dec 7, 2019 2
    • Adobe pjays
      OP
      Good information, how about Staff Engineers or senior staff?
      Dec 7, 2019
    • LinkedIn hulablue
      Staff definitely still spend an appreciable amount of time writing code, although a lot of their time is devoted to other tasks. I’m less familiar with a day in the life of sr staff.
      Dec 7, 2019
  • Facebook llp6
    EM and staff engineer are very different roles.
    Dec 7, 2019 3
    • Dropbox / Data salt_water
      Staff Engineer is essentially the full dev package: coding, architecture/design and mentoring. EM should only be coding in an emergency.
      Dec 7, 2019
    • Adobe pjays
      OP
      So staff is not leading a team?
      Dec 7, 2019
  • Panasonic USA 👑king
    I am in the same boat. 14 years experience, 8 year coding and 7 years as Eng manager (Non fang companies, not Bay Area). Heard from all friends that as a SW manager or engineering manager must do coding as ~70% of the time, mandatory. And rest time goes for management. Hence i decided to move as TPM for faang which is little technical and more managerial. Not sure it is a right decision to move from Eng manager to TPM, but that seems the best choice.
    Dec 7, 2019 2
    • Adobe pjays
      OP
      70% looks very high though,
      Dec 7, 2019
    • Panasonic USA 👑king
      It depends on the team, but for Google this is what i heard from 2-3 friends.
      Dec 7, 2019
  • Facebook cochococho
    Only TLMs are expected to contribute as IC ~50% of their time
    Dec 7, 2019 0
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    It depends on the team and the need.
    Dec 7, 2019 0

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