Philip Guo (Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)

What makes a good engineering culture? (guest article)

Guest article written by Edmond Lau
In this guest article snippet, the author describes what makes for a good engineering culture, based on his experiences at three prominent Silicon Valley software companies and interviews with hundreds of software engineers.

This is a snippet of an article written by Edmond Lau, one of my MIT classmates who has thought deeply about how to become an effective engineer. The views expressed are solely those of the author. I personally found some interesting high-level parallels to research lab culture, although the details obviously differ.

One of my favorite interview questions that I ask engineering candidates is to tell me about one thing they liked and one thing they disliked about the engineering culture at their previous company. I've interviewed over 500 people – many of them from top tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Palantir, and Dropbox – and over time, this interview question has given me a sense of what good engineers look for and what they're trying to avoid. Reflecting back on the interview responses and on my own experiences from the past seven years working across Google, Ooyala, and Quora, I've distilled ten things that a team can do to build a good engineering culture.

  1. Optimize for iteration speed.
  2. Push relentlessly toward automation.
  3. Build the right software abstractions.


[Read the rest of this article on Edmond's blog]

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Created: 2013-09-24
Last modified: 2013-09-24