How Can You Become a Product-Minded Engineer

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10+ years in the tech world and I’ve realized how important Product-Engineers are.

Who’s that?

Engineers who think about the product they are building.

They don’t just do tasks from Jira. They want to make the product better.

Great product engineers know that minimum lovable products need the right depth to be considered during the construction phase.

If you want to build a world-class product, you need them.

Here are the top 3 signs that the Product-Engineer is standing in front of you.

1. They understand the product

The first thing they do after getting a job, they immediately try to understand how and why your product is successful.

How do you make money? What problem does your product solve? Who are your users? How much do they pay? What do they pay for? And so on.

Don’t be afraid.

Don’t tell them: “You are engineer it’s not your job”

You are wrong.

The more they know, the more they will help.

They want to know everything about the product because of their curious nature.

Product-minded engineers like to understand the “why?” behind all things.

2. They bring suggestions

Once they understand how your product and business works, they bring suggestions and tradeoffs to the table.

Normally, engineers will come to you and say:

“We know how to speed up the site by Y%, we need to use X technology”

Product-minded engineers will come to you and say:

“We know how to make Z money and improve Retention, we need to speed up the site by Y% and use the X technology for it”

You see the difference?

They will study the product and suggests things.

They won’t offer something to change just because they can change it.

3. They think about the product first, technology second

They don’t choose technology because it’s cool. They choose technology based on the problem.

Normally, engineers will come to you and say:

“We need to use technology X because everybody uses it and it’s cool”

Product-minded engineers will come to you and say:

“We need to use technology X because it will improve the Y part of the product”

Two completely different ways of thinking.

They often go to the product manager, suggesting a completely different feature to be built, given the product impact would be similar, but the engineering effort vastly smaller.

Product-minded engineers attack this problem from both angles:

Product and Engineering.

That makes them different from the others.

In the end

Product-minded Engineers can affect your product in a better way.

Find them. Hire them.

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