How to learn from incidents and propel your engineering career?

Mikel Vu
2 min readAug 6, 2023
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Assuming that you are a junior software engineer in a vibrant tech company with a large team of hundreds of engineers, you have an exciting opportunity to accelerate your career growth by actively learning from incidents and the experiences of your colleagues.

Embracing a proactive approach and leveraging the insights gained from others’ experiences can propel you toward promotions and success in your career path.

1. Attend post-incident reviews (PIRs)

Whenever a major incident or outage occurs, teams conduct Post-Incident Reviews (PIRs) to analyze the situation thoroughly.

Even if you weren’t directly involved in the incident, make it a point to attend these reviews.

PIRs provide invaluable insights into how problems are handled, root causes are identified, and resolutions are implemented.

By participating in PIRs, you can gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s problem-solving process and learn from the collective experiences of your colleagues.

2. Ask questions and seek mentorship

One of the most effective ways to learn and grow as a junior engineer is by seeking guidance from senior engineers and team leads. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, clarify doubts, and seek mentorship from experienced colleagues.

Engage in open conversations to understand best practices, industry trends, and ways to improve your skills and knowledge.

Embracing a growth mindset and being receptive to feedback will pave the way for continuous improvement.

3. Participate in post-mortems

If your team conducts post-mortems after incidents, actively participate in these meetings.

Post-mortems provide an opportunity to collectively reflect on what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Share your observations and ideas for improvement, even if they may seem basic. Your fresh perspective can uncover blind spots and contribute to building more resilient systems.

4. Read and contribute to code reviews

Code reviews offer a valuable learning platform for junior engineers. Participate not only in reviews of your own code but also in reviews of your colleagues’ code.

Reading others’ code and understanding their thought processes can expose you to different coding styles, design patterns, and problem-solving approaches.

Actively contribute to code reviews by providing constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement. Engaging in code reviews fosters a collaborative and knowledge-sharing culture within the team.

Conclusion

As a junior software engineer in a dynamic and talented team, actively learning from incidents and leveraging the experiences of your colleagues can be a game-changer for your career growth.

By adopting a proactive and curious mindset, you can pave the way for success, promotions, and a fulfilling career journey in the world of software engineering.

Remember, every experience is a stepping stone toward excellence, so make the most of it!

Hey, I’m Mikel and you can read more of my stories here.

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Mikel Vu

Hey there! I'm an energetic Engineering Manager who thrives on boosting productivity and challenging workflows.