Breaking the Ceiling: Scaling Your Impact at the Staff-Plus Level

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The transition from Senior to Staff-Plus Engineer marks a pivotal evolution in an engineer's career, requiring not more technical excellence but, more importantly, a fundamental shift in how they influence, lead, and drive outcomes across their organization. When it comes to staff engineering, the old management saying, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There," couldn't be more accurate.

Drawing upon my experience as a Director of Engineering collaborating closely with Staff-Plus Engineers, guiding Senior Engineers through this difficult transition, and participating in promotion committees & performance calibrations, I've observed a distinct pattern in the behaviors, strategies, and thought processes that define top-performing Staff-Plus Engineers.

In this talk, attendees will learn:

  • The critical behaviors and mindsets that distinguish high-performing Staff-Plus Engineers from their peers, based on real-life observations and successes in fostering senior engineers' transition into Staff roles.
  • Practical strategies for scaling personal impact through mentorship, sponsorship, and strategic involvement in projects, including how to navigate the balance between hands-on technical work and leadership.
  • Insights into the transformative journey from Senior to Staff-Plus, including the essential soft skills and the importance of egoless leadership, open-mindedness, and the ability to foresee and navigate organizational dynamics.
  • Concrete examples of "Staff Projects" that demonstrate the scope and scale of impact expected at the Staff-Plus level, offering a roadmap for engineers aspiring to reach and excel in these roles.


Thiago Ghisi

Director of Engineering @Nubank & Co-Host of @EngAdvicePod, Previously @Apple & @ThoughtWorks

Thiago Ghisi is the Director of Engineering for the Mobile Platform team at Nubank. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the software industry, having worked at companies like Apple, ThoughtWorks, and Amex. Ghisi has worn multiple hats - from Programmer to Project Manager to Quality Engineer, back to Engineering, and finally, Engineering Management, where he has been leading cross-functional teams in the Mobile FinTech space for the past six years. He also hosts a podcast called "Engineering Advice You Didn't Ask For" and writes extensively about Career & Leadership in Tech on LinkedIn & Twitter.

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Tuesday Jun 25 / 11:30AM EDT ( 50 minutes )