If there is one tip I could share with my fellow new engineers, it would be… Stop relying on the “Frontend/Backend” axis to understand the engineering you like.“前端/后端”轴不会很好地映射到工程师的动机。If you only use that axis, you can end up in projects you don’t like or worse still, give up on engineering prematurely相反,尝试使用“产品/基础架构”轴作为第一轴来了解您的职业首选项。

My goal is to share with you the language that could help you (and your manager) find your “sweet spot” engineering role. It took me a couple of bad internship placements andpure luckto figure this out. So I hope that this essay saves some of you months of job mismatch. Shoutout toBolu.¹谁在我之后推特线程在这篇论文上,Tech Twitter上的病毒,建议我把线程转变为一篇文章。

“Product/Infra” maps neatly to the psychology of how engineers pick projects and their motivations for learning to code.广泛地说,有2种类型的工程师²:

1) “Product-first” engineers are obsessed with using code to solve a user problem and they see code as just a means to an end.


产品第一工程师地图到“产品工程” - 建筑,启动和维护解决用户问题的功能。他们常常喜欢在与设计师和产品经理相同的房间,以了解用户,他们喜欢找到可以改善产品的技术机会。

Code-first engineers map to “Infrastructure engineering” — building infrastructure platforms that support applications, be it via building CI/CD pipelines, implementing logging, or supporting high traffic etc. They’re motivated to better the craft of programming and are often obsessed with things like test coverage, using the latest technologies, code architecture, etc.


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注意both Product engineers and Infrastructure engineers touch the frontend and the backend. Many of them, especially product engineers, choose to specialize into frontend or backend as well.“前端/后端”仍然是一个有价值的轴。

但是,在项目选择中使用“FrontEnd / Beftend”隔离,可以导致工程师作业不匹配。特别是在产品工程师中。我是一名产品工程师。当我在实习中尝试“后端工程”时,我被分配到INFRA角色,其中我迁移了数据库。我加入了公司,因为我想在他们的产品上工作。但我没有用语言解释我的招聘人员。他们用“infra”混淆“后端”,我最终与用户太远的角色。


If you split your engineers by the type of technology they work on (i.e. “Frontend/Backend”), it is easy to assume that your Frontend engineers are happy to just work on translating finalized designs into UI/UX components. But if you split them based on their motivations (i.e.”Product/Infra”), you’d want to loop your Frontend product engineers into product discussions.

(The same engineer-job mismatch happens for Infra engineers too, but it is less prevalent because the “Frontend” and “Backend” labels usually only officially apply in Product engineering.)

Now, this next part may be a reach… but I thinkmany new grad Product engineers choose to be Product管理者because of this inadequate “Frontend/Backend” divisionLet’s jump back to my two internship examples. How would you feel if these were your only two internships over your college career? Given that you spent 12 weeks in each role, wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that those roles were mostly what “frontend” and “backend” were all about? Wouldn’t it be reasonable too to conclude that since you didn’t like both types of engineering, maybe engineering as a whole wasn’t for you? (And this self-dejection is especially easy to fall into if you are part of an underrepresented minority in engineering.) Why not be a产品manager and solve user problems?

This scenario is very common. Engineering is esoteric. Even with an intern-team matching process, an Product engineering intern may not know that they should select Product engineering roles, let alone know which roles are Product engineering roles.


I was such an intern. I was so drained by my Infra role that I reached out to Product Managers in the company to enquire about their jobs. But then I advocated⁵ for a Product Engineering role and… my manager gave it to me. As a backend engineer on a product team, I worked with a team to在罗宾地时期建立视频新闻。我建立了一个大的后端管道,也有机会与关于新闻媒体排名,视频标记和用户参与的产品问题。我与工程,数据科学和业务进行了谈话,平衡了这些兴趣,并在代码中写了分辨率。


— -

在一天结束时,多方面的工程,可以沿多个轴定义:B2B vs. B2C, B2B top-down vs. B2B “bottom-up”, API-first vs. application-first, “Forward deployed” vs. “Software engineer”, etc. If we’re serious about making engineering accessible to all, we should champion any and all frameworks that can help new engineers find their sweet spot and be happy.


[1] I had met Bolu, a new grad in Bloomberg London, after he sent me a cold DM to thank me for the thread. He had sent my thread to his manager!!! It turned out that he had been struggling to express his project preferences to his manager, and the thread helped. The manager “got” it after reading the thread and now Bolu is on a product development team he is very excited about.

[2]我从Xoogler Zach Lloyd的博客中拍摄了“代码第一”与“产品第一”工程师术语:https://thebook.com/

[3] Twitter上的某人(莱昂@Lievetraz):回复他们试图将内部工具团队分类为“产品/ infra”这里

[4] There are hundreds of other reasons engineers choose to be PMs of course.

[5] I learned it the hard way how important it was to advocate for oneself and ask to change teams early.

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