What is 10% Engineer
And why you should be one
Everybody who have spent a long time in software engineering probably would have heard about the (myth) of 10x engineer. The first Google search result of 10x engineer will give you the following definition:
The concept of a 10X engineer is actually very simple: It's an engineer who's 10 times better at their job than their peers.
In practice you’ll wonder what 10x engineers would look like in real life (if they’re not a myth). Some folks will say that 10x engineers are engineers who output 10x as much code compared to their peers. Others will say that 10x engineers are engineers who debug and fix issues 10x faster than their peers. Some will even say that 10x engineers are engineers who drive alignment with 10x less drama than their peers. I personally think that there are archetypes of 10x engineer, in which one can be within one or more archetypes and I’d even add the more experienced 10x engineer (100x engineer?) would know which archetypes they should be playing right now.
Then, what is 10% engineer and how is it related to 10x engineer? This is my definition of 10% engineer
10% engineer is a 10x engineer who has high degree of efficiency thus only requiring to work 10% of the time to accomplish similar result expected out of them.
In short you require 3 ingredients to become 10% engineer:
Become a 10x engineer.
Crystal clear on what’s expected out of you (even if you’re the one who’s making expectation yourself).
Be insanely efficient.
So that seems like a lot of work, right? So why bother? Here’s an example of a week in life of 10% engineer named Vincent working at Facebook:
Monday: 1:1 with core team members (Vincent “manages” > 20 engineers but only do regular 1:1 with 3 of them), cross-team and cross-functional sync. Then walk his dog in the afternoon. Work hours: 3 hours.
Tuesday: Walk his dog. Work hours: 0 hours.
Wednesday: Play League of Legend. Then walk his dog. Work hours: 0 hours.
Thursday: weekly sync. Then walk his dog. Work hours: 1 hours.
Friday: Walk his dog. Then happy hour with team. Work hours: 0 hours.
Saturday and Sunday: not so obvious but Vincent doesn’t work on weekend. Work hours: 0 hours.
Total work hours: 4 hours/week.
I can personally say that I’ve seen multiple 7-figure-income engineers who’re working on the most interesting/challenging area in the company have accomplished this. And it’s not as mythical nor impossible as it sounds. Also becoming 10% engineer is not for everyone for multiple reasons. For example: not everyone know what to do with all the remaining free time they have and people can get depressed because of this.
If you’re interested to hear more on how to become 10% engineer, what are the different tools you have to leverage, or how to use the remaining time you have as 10% engineers please consider subscribing.