The rise and evolution of Product Engineers

3 min read
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In the ever-changing landscape of software development, roles are constantly undergoing a fascinating evolution to meet the industry's demands.

This transformative nature of roles has already impacted areas and roles such as quality assurance and scrum masters, which are now partially embedded in software engineers in terms of capabilities and expectations.

That evolution not only allowed developers to be involved in other areas but, enabled QA engineers to focus on the strategy and processes rather than implementation, and the now-called Agile Advocates to have a cross-impact on who the company and teams are collaborating in regards to agile methodologies rather than taking an active role in a smaller scope within a team.

Apart from that examples, a standout new role that has gained significant traction is the Product Engineer.

This new role is now widely used to refer to developers who not only focus on technical aspects but bridge the gap between code and business.

This evolution has unlocked endless possibilities. As product engineers, we are empowered to collaborate with stakeholders, from designers to product managers, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the "what" and the "why" behind our products. Unlike the consultancy world, where our scope is often limited to a project, product engineers have a more extensive canvas—the entire company.

Decisions shaped by context

In this paradigm, we know that one size does not fit all. Our decisions are context-driven, taking into account the project scope and main objectives.

Following that path, arguing that our role as engineers is technical and we should only focus on technical aspects will not be part of the deal. Getting involved and having continuous collaboration with stakeholders (such as Designers, User Research, Data Engineers, Product Managers, etc) would be the new norm.

This will eventually develop subject matter expertise, enabling engineers to challenge product managers and designers, contributing to the greater good of our products and teams.

In practical terms, depending on the need, we would decide if what better meets the situation is to build a prototype, an MVP, or an experiment, you name it. Of course, the drawbacks will be always openly discussed, as the shortcuts we take in terms of technical aspects will be wide.

The journey goes beyond the mere technical realm; we dive deep into the business and problems, equipping ourselves to make impactful decisions that shape the company's future vision.

Fostering long-term impact

The commitment extends far beyond the present moment. This role becomes integral to the long-term plans of the products we build together, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose in our work.

With subject matter expertise at our core, we align technical decisions with the company's growth and roadmap. Our understanding of the business landscape allows us to navigate complexities and make judicious choices that positively impact the company's future.

Imagine having the insight to choose between building an expensive service in-house or considering an acquisition. As product engineers, you will possess the knowledge to make informed decisions, steering the company toward success.

Embracing this evolution and holistic view, we become architects of not just code but of a thriving and forward-looking software ecosystem generating a greater impact.

Thanks for reading ❤️

Written by Manu

I am a product-driven JavaScript developer, passionate about sharing experiences in the IT world, from a human-centric perspective.

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