Crafting Careers

The Art of Engineering

A Story of Building Blocks and Jigsaw Puzzles

What does an engineer do?

To deliver a well-defined objective, an engineer:

  1. devises a system of interactions across these layers to interconnect them
  2. and finally, reuses or creates patterns of code at each layer to fulfill each of its purpose on the way to orchestrating the overall solution

What type of engineer are you?

You are an engineer working with building blocks if:

  1. your performance is assessed by the speed of execution versus your ability to solve problems differently
  2. your career growth is defined to be in the roles that are measured only by your ability to coordinate and deliver on scalar performance metrics like story points
  3. you work heads-down without much collaboration with non-engineering crafts
  4. your environment expects you to fit in within the boundaries of existing processes to deliver work
  1. your performance evaluation rewards failures that lead to differentiated solutions
  2. you are encouraged to grow your depth as an engineer to solve complex challenges on the way to becoming a digital architect
  3. working with extended teams of product strategists, designers, and business analysts is not only an expectation but a requirement to deliver a complete experience
  4. your environment encourages experimentation in the interest of high-quality outcomes and inspires you to challenge long-standing assumptions

Why does it matter?

None of the following are entirely new trends but their collective impact is here to stay.

Automation of skills

My first job was to write code to map source and target systems. Now you can train an ML model to do the same. If what you do has a list of predictable steps over a finite domain of knowledge, someone somewhere is writing code to automate it.

Industrialization of talent can take in your hand-drawn wireframes on paper to generate front-end code. With one could create a mobile app in under 30 minutes. Smarter code that writes new code will replace a great portion of what is done by a skilled practitioner today.

Democratization of knowledge

OpenAI recently released API for utilizing its latest model for NLP (GPT-3). What would have been a luxury of a few large companies to reap the advantages of a model with 175 billion parameters, its benefits can now reach smaller businesses and organizations.

The Takeaway

When you code for automation, it eliminates manual tasks. When you code for code that automates and teach it to become smarter over time, you industrialize an entire talent group. And the knowledge to build such a “super code” is becoming increasingly commoditized. When the dust settles, bots would have likely taken over most of the building blocks. And those with the know-how of solving the jigsaw puzzles would be still doing what they do best — integrating known patterns with emerging frameworks to build better ways of solving problems.

The Call

At the Deloitte Digital’s US-India Studios, we have been solving jigsaw puzzles for the last 8 years. We started with a simple idea — to do what it takes to help our clients reimagine their future in the digital world. Like with solving a real-world jigsaw puzzle, our path to success has not been a straight-line.

  1. an anecdote of the last time you changed your mind about something important

Building Deloitte Studios. Here to learn and share the art and science of bringing together culture and crafts for building products.