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Sharing wisdom: soft skills for devs. 5-year software engineer at @AWS. Tech lead and internal bootcamp instructor. Opinions mine. DM's open.
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From an Amazon tech lead: soft skills I’d tell my younger, jr software engineer self. 🧵 👇
1️⃣ Exude kindness.
The tech world is full of strong opinions. You may perceive people as mean. They’re not. They just want the best outcome.
Resist the temptation to become an unpleasant person. Radiate kindness while holding a high standard. You’ll go far.
2️⃣ Ask stupid questions.
There are a million technologies. You’re not expected to know them all.
Example question: “I don’t understand what those words mean. Can you explain them, or point me to a resource which does?”
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I’ve reviewed over 750 PR’s at AWS. As my team’s tech lead I provide insightful feedback and enforce a high code quality bar.
But as a jr engineer I couldn’t review code. I didn’t know where to start, what to look for or how to comment.
Here’s how I review PR’s. 🧵 👇
1️⃣ I understand why code reviews matter.
They're an excellent coaching opportunity. Insightful feedback accelerates learning and growth.
Quality code strengthens readability and system understanding. This is a force multiplier for the team’s long term feature velocity.
2️⃣ I’ve taken the time to learn programming best practices.
I understand principles like SOLID, DRY and KISS.
I’ve read the Clean Code book. I understand the importance of naming, small functions and logical control flow.
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When I was a jr engineer at AWS my PR’s went through 100+ comments and 7+ revisions due to poor code quality. The friendly, helpful feedback helped me improve.
Now as a mid-level I tend to ship code in <= 2 revisions with minimal comments.
Here’s how I’m doing it. 🧵👇
1️⃣ I understand why code quality matters.
We read code 10x more than we write it. Our code must be understandable so our team can maintain and add features.
Poorly written code causes PR churn, which results in delayed delivery and can block other team members.
2️⃣ I take on small tasks.
A good PR starts before any code is written. The task should be small, resulting in an easily reviewable PR.
Bad task: UpdateWidget API
Better: split into 4 separate tasks - UpdateWidget model; AuthN/AuthZ; input validation; implementation
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My first ever Medium story got 22.5k views in its first 3 weeks.
What I did right ✅ and wrong ❌.
THREAD. 🧵 👇🏽
✅ I had a story to tell.
I did something cool in real life. This is important.
I had a unique journey at Amazon. I overcame my technical incompetency to achieve success.
I wanted to help people overcome similar challenges.
✅ I told the whole story.
People read stories to apply experience to their life.
I was vulnerable. I used quantitative metrics (“80+ comments”). I showed my feelings (“face turned red”).
I provided the mindset I used to overcome struggles. Specific and actionable.
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