How to get promoted fast in an engineering career?

Get promoted and be irreplaceable by learning meta skills. image source

Do you want to excel in the engineering career? Surprisingly, this has very little to do with technical skills.

The difference between seniority in any engineering discipline is how what and why. Another way to understand this transition is problem-solving skills, Alex has explained it quite well.

Instead of focusing on the requirements for a role, we can get a better definition by looking at the challenges of each level. source
In simpler words, it's the level of ambiguity one can handle.

1. At junior levels, you’re focusing on how to solve specific technical challenges - writing data pipelines, implementing models, etc under a well-scoped project.

2. At mid-levels, the why comes into play. This involves a little more technical knowledge mixed in with some autonomy and even elements of leadership - why would you solve this challenge using a particular technology or design pattern rather than others? The leadership element comes in when you start coaching and influencing others to follow your patterns.

3. At senior levels, you have to start thinking about the what. This involves understanding the business context and building empathy with the client, the problem being at hand, and other non-technical colleagues and stakeholders. What is the problem we’re trying to solve, and what is the business goal that each stakeholder is looking to get out of it? It could be,  cost reduction, improved customer experience or increased revenue, etc,

To be a high-leveraged engineer, learn meta-skills like better communication, relationship management, and business understanding once you perfect the basics of your technical skills.