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Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers

Lead Time Chats: Season 1, Episode 2 Takeaways

June 15, 2021

In Episode 2 of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, talks to Duretti Hirpa, principal engineer at Zipper, about mentoring and coaching junior and mid-level engineers.

Jean and Duretti discuss:

  • What junior and mid-level engineers most need.
  • Why women and people of color can't always take the advice they're given
  • What it means to be over-mentored and under-sponsored
  • The difference in level-setting when you're coming into a new company vs. going up for promotion
  • How internal promotions can be highly political
  • What engineering managers can do to best support people earlier in their career

Takeaways from Duretti

Her motivation to mentor junior engineers comes from wanting a less segregated tech industry

“For me, it's sort of like my job as a senior engineer is to make more senior engineers. That's the name of the game. I've experienced a lot of gatekeeping and I want to be the opposite of that. So it's a lot of emotions and just sort of a lot of observations, right? And as you know, like the tech sector is highly segregated, both by, you know, race, gender, identity, all this stuff. And so it just feels like if we want it to be at all better or different or reflect the actual populace, this is the kind of work that has to happen.”

Mentoring helps re-energize her and helps her see tech through the eyes of newcomers

“One of the things that's nice about people who are coming up in their career, like you said, they are eager, they're hungry. And it kind of reminds me of what I liked about the sector. I was that way once before the jaded stuff set in, you know, and it does kind of remind me like, oh right, like people do want to be here, and this is an interesting and dynamic and industry, and seeing it through sort of the eyes of a newcomer can kind of reignite that love and interest. And so that's also what I get out of it in a lot of ways, too, more than just sort of being who I needed when I was younger.”

Critique and real talk is so important - and often overlooked

“I've worked in nice engineering organizations where people won't just level with you and be direct. And I come from a culture where being direct, critique -  a love language, okay? My dad used to tell me if I didn't love you, I wouldn't tell you, so... and I think there's not a lot of room for it. I view critique as a loving action. If I didn't care, I wouldn't say anything, you know, I'd just keep, keep moving.”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and engineering leadership coach, and engineering leaders and other influential folks in tech.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps hybrid teams check-in asynchronously about what matters most. Know what's happening through status updates that pull from tools like Github and JIRA without scheduling yet another meeting.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team. To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

S1 E2: Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers
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