For most of my early career, I was told the only path up was through management roles. Our market has since evolved, and Staff+ engineering roles are more common and offer us a different path. But what is a Staff/Principal engineer? What do they do? How do they work? Are they just managers who can’t admit it?

Let’s explore all these topics, the skills you need, the role you may play, and the different flavors of Individual Contributors you will discover while we figure out how to hotwire your growth in this career path.


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Katy Ereira at 16:06 on 16 Mar 2024

Thank you Rafael - it was great to meet you and I would definitely like to hear more of your wisdom in the future. This talk was particularly relevant for me as a staff+ engineer, 15 years into my journey and still struggling to figure out what my position and my impact actually is and how to 'move up'. I was always adamant that I never wanted to be a manager - I love coding and problem solving too much. I'm thinking about the maps and archetypes presented and how I can use these to determine where I most bring value, and I'm definitely going to follow up on the recommended reading. Thank you!

The presentation was good and clear. It explains why some of the things I already do work and give me new choices to think about. It will be a presentation where I will think about during my career.

Airton Zanon at 12:29 on 17 Mar 2024

I always like to see what Rafael has to talk about. This talk is super important for people that are willing to go after staff+ or is already working as one. Thanks for the talk Rafa <3