The "Senior" Junior Engineer

T shirt sizes and poker; the trick to scoping w/ Nathan Atkinson @ PXG

November 23, 2020 Andrew Locke Season 1 Episode 4
The "Senior" Junior Engineer
T shirt sizes and poker; the trick to scoping w/ Nathan Atkinson @ PXG
Show Notes


On this episode I interview Nathan Atkinson, a Senior Software Engineer at PXG and my mentor. Nathan, like myself, is a "non-traditional" convert into the world of SWE. Nathan has been with his company for 6 years and has watched his team grow from 3 to 11 engineers during that time. We discuss a wide range of topics from the importance of keeping a journal, a "senior" engineer's approach to variable and function naming and how to use poker or t-shirt sizes to get better at scoping your work.


Some topics covered in today's episode:

  • Keeping a journal to keep track of what you've learned can help you better leverage your strengths, and learn from your weaknesses
  • Figure out how to ask the right questions to illuminate unknowns.
  • Getting it done vs getting it done in the "best way"
  • Have a "senior's" approach naming variables & pseudo coding
  • How to scope work by weighting / pointing, while taking into account team's current load and "difficulty" of implementation. talking through projects with the team to determine the scope before diving in. Breakaway from days & hours mentality. 
    • Effort
    • Complexity
    • Dependency
  • Skills he wishes he would have gotten better at 
    • Debugging - console log to using a debugger & breakpoints
    • Building side projects
  • Three biggest Takeaways 
    • The importance of staying physically fit, taking care of yourself, stretch
    • When getting advice, pay attention to the thought process of the person giving the advice.
    • Find a team that challenges you and pushes you to grow.


Ask me anything! - If you have any questions, let me know! I'll do an episode where I answer your questions.


Nathan Atkinson — Linkedin

Andrew Locke — Twitter, GitHub, LinkedIn, Medium