I’ve been a young engineer, mentored young engineers, and now I manage (some) young engineers. One of the best perspectives a young engineer—or any engineer—can have is being proactive.
Engineering is complicated. There are often multiple teams and departments coinciding with ever-changing requirements. This can provide engineers with a tempting out (or “pause button”) when working on a problem because they feel blocked on some level. Does something like this sound familiar?
We can’t work on that yet because there’s no API.
Quite often, though, there’s more an engineer can do than claiming blockers. With minimal additional effort, let’s see how much more helpful a response like this might be:
We can’t work on that yet because there’s no API. But I spent some time thinking about what inputs and outputs we would need to properly build X feature, and wrote up my notes as a proposal for the backend team’s consideration.
Makes a difference, right?
It’s easy to throw things over the fence. It takes intentional effort to avoid it. But when you do, that proactive mindset can go a long way within a team and helps nurture a problem solving culture. It’s not about you, me, or them. It’s about solving a problem and helping everyone involved come up with the best outcome for the situation.
We all want to work with helpful, caring individuals… a proactive brain can help convey that to others.