Coding Conversations: Finding The Right Fit

Lyn at LinkedIn’s Sunnyvale campus

Enter: Partner Engineering

When I was first approached about Partner Engineering by my former manager, I felt initially apprehensive. I’ve never heard of partner engineering and, given how hard I’d worked previously to achieve an engineering role, reading the job description made me worry that I’d in some way slow or impede my career progression. Was I offered this position to consider because I was ineffective or still new in my role as an SWE? Was I being (insert dramatic gasp here) demoted? These were some of the questions that I posed to myself before starting conversations about switching internal teams.

My former manager let me know that he saw the skills that I’d let sit dormant in my current engineering role and thought that partner engineering would be a better fit for the range of talent I brought to the table. I could help build the Sales Solutions Partner Engineering program, standing at the intersection of my current engineering team and the partners we build products for. However inspiring and exciting to hear about, I still held a few fears about taking a position that seemed to abstract me from the “heavy lifting” of coding each day— it seemed it would take me away from my envisioned career path in engineering leadership. It wasn’t until I dove into my first 30 days that I really understood how maximizing my past experiences and being proactive about seeking what fits me best contributed to my current success as a Partner Engineer.

Evangelizing, educating, and empowering

After agreeing to take a quarter to decide whether a move to Partner Engineering was for me, I walked into the role with an open mind and spirit. As a Partner Engineer on the LinkedIn Sales Solutions team, I help partner developers build applications using our sales-focused APIs from conception to deployment. I consult on best practices when using our APIs and mobile SDKs, debug application issues with partner developers from some of the biggest companies in the world, build test applications, write comprehensive documentation, and evangelize through community-building within our partner engineering ecosphere.

My first few days as a partner engineer were spent eagerly learning and wrapping my mind around how this hybrid experience uses each one of my skills to deliver an amazing experience to our partners. Utilizing industry-standard tools, my first set of tasks centered around learning the procedures to provide comprehensive support. The social aspect of relating to and helping engineering peers appealed to me, and soon after I helped a few partner developers with debugging their applications, I felt empowered to use my engineering skill and technical expertise to solve issues quickly.

As a writer and someone who has written technical curriculum for many nonprofit organizations, it gave me a great sense of pride to be able to contribute to official documentation within my first few weeks as Partner Engineer. Not only do I get to add to documentation that serves to educate partner developers on the use of our APIs and mobile SDKs, I’m also included in strategic meetings and share my opinions on how to best scale our infrastructure to educate and support developers now and in the future. I routinely work with our Business Development and Engineering teams to leverage my relationship with our partners to launch experiences that speak to their technical needs. It feels amazing to create materials that empower some of the best developers in the world to build apps that further empower the world’s professionals.

Seeking happiness always

At a little over three months into my role, I am thankful for the foresight that my former and current managers had regarding the move to Partner Engineering. In retrospect, the fears that I had in making the switch from software engineer to partner engineer stemmed from my own definitions of what success can be in my field. While success looks different for many people, there’s a common thread—happiness. I can now say with certainty that bringing my full range of skills to support, educate, and empower other engineers brings me happiness— I’ve found my best fit, and am eager to learn and grow as a partner engineer.

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