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“Q: I’ve joined a FAANG company (one of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.). I was hoping to learn more best practices and to improve my engineering skills.

“But a few months in, I’m shocked by the engineering culture. The team I joined has the worst codebase I’ve seen. No unit tests, poor naming, code reviews non-existent, and the build takes 30 minutes. My manager is uninterested in my suggestions to improve things. What can I do? Help!”

– a disillusioned software engineer

Dear disillusioned engineer, I’m glad you have shared your shock and concern. While it’s normal that we don’t assume the highest engineering quality at a startup, most of us expect a strong engineering culture to greet us when joining Big Tech for the first time.

While many teams within big companies do have a high engineering bar, this is definitely not universally true. In this issue, we dive deep into this topic:

  1. Big Tech expectations vs reality.

  2. Reasons for lower engineering standards.

  3. Handling the initial shock.

  4. Improving the engineering culture.

  5. Advice to avoid surprises when joining a new company.


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