How can junior engineers prepare themselves early to become effective leaders in the future?

Kevin is the VP of Engineering at Abnormal Security, overseeing all aspects of growth and execution. In this class, Kevin describes the requirements for building a well-rounded and highly functional engineering team from both a technical and cultural perspective. Kevin spent time at eBay and Quantcast prior to becoming an early-stage engineer leader at TellApart, then a Director of Engineering at Twitter.

Kevin W: Yeah. I think there's so many ways I can think about answering that one. I think. I think the first one that I would say is that,I fundamentally believe that every single engineer really, probably any knowledge worker [00:22:00] that you could say, at least there's three fundamental disciplines that are really important, that will determine how effective and how much responsibility impact you can have as an engineer.

the first one. Your functional competencies in this case as is your technical competencies. And, that's probably the most obvious one that people are going to pattern match on to. there's always some functional, requirements that you're being hired to do in the job that you've been hired to accomplish.

but that's only one of the three disciplines that you really need to be mindful of and accelerate over time to be an effective leader. And frequently I find that technical proficiency is actually not the limiting factor and the bottleneck that enable. Junior engineers to become effective, more effective over time.

Kevin W: And really the next two, one being interpersonal skills. I find engineering is fundamentally a very interdisciplinary discipline. You're talking to designers, product managers, other engineers all the time. So how clearly you can communicate both. Verbal body language, Super important. as, as an engineer to be [00:23:00] effective, as you start working with more people over time, how well you can collaborate, write, and brainstorm and negotiate with your counterparts, I think is also super important to have that interpersonal bucket.

And then the third one that I think is also super important as your personal competencies, right? Self-awareness initiative drive,lack of ego. I find emotional maturity and emotional regulation is super important, For any leader. Take on more scope and impact, right? Are you the person when there is a headwind that comes to the business, are you amplifying concern and anxiety across the team?

Or are you the person who's dampening and smoothing those out and helping the team be solution oriented? And what are you going to do to solve those headwinds and problems that are coming in? That's what emotional maturity and regulation looks like. That I think is critical for anyone. every leader is looking for other people.

They can rely on to help other people be successful and more confident in the role as well. So that's at least one thing I think about these three disciplines, right? From technical proficiencies, interpersonal, and their personal [00:24:00] competencies, and really thinking about those ladder to interpersonal and personal, I found have been increasingly important as you move on to take on more leadership roles across a team.

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