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Technical Leadership Paths

I found this article a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed the read. The author outlines what a role can look like for very senior ICs. It's the first in a (yet to be written) series about technical leadership and long term IC career paths. I'm excited to read more!

In particular, I am delighted to see her call out strategic work as a way for a senior IC to deliver value. I think there's a lot of opportunity for senior ICs to deliver strategic work, but in my experience organizations tend to under-value this type of work (often unintentionally).

My favorite projects to work on are high impact and difficult to execute even if there not deeply technical. In fact, I've found that my most impactful projects tend to only have a small technical component. Instead, the real value tends to come from spanning a few different technical areas, tackling some cultural change, or taking time to deeply understand the problem before throwing a solution at it. Framing these projects as "strategic" help me put my thumb on the type of work I like doing.

Keavy also calls out strike teams as a valuable way for ICs to work on high impact projects without moving into management. In my last three years at Mozilla, I've been fortunate to be a part of several strike teams and upon reflection I find that these are the projects I'm most proud of.

I'm fortunate that Mozilla has a well documented growth path for senior ICs. All the same, I am learning a lot from her framing. I'm excited to read more!


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