Senior to Staff - Land Your Promotion As An Engineer


(25 ratings)


2 Days


Cohort-based Course

Break past the senior level. Implement the frameworks and tactics to optimize your promotion to Staff Engineer.

Previously at

Stanford University
Y Combinator

Course overview

Don't leave your growth to chance

As the first terminal level in your career, senior engineers independently solve problems and deliver business value. Many engineers are stuck for years as senior engineers, often receiving feedback like this about their promotion:

- "You don't have enough scope"

- "You're not working strategically enough"

- "You need to drive problems with more technical complexity"

It's easy to hear this and feel stuck. How can I translate this into action?

The promotion beyond Senior Engineer (generally called Staff or Principal Engineer) is not about working faster or longer -- it's about behavior change that enables you to tackle more difficult problems.

Across my 4.5 years working at Meta, I experienced the frustration of failing and then finally achieving the Staff Eng (E6) promotion. This course distills years of my own career experience as an IC, transitioning to management, and talking to 500+ engineers directly to observe patterns that hold engineers back at this critical inflection point.

Course content (6 hours of live class, June 15/16):

- How to know where you stand on the path to promotion.

- How to get (or create) scope on a team with many talented engineers.

- How managers and directors perceive very senior IC roles.

- How to apply frameworks to identify impact that is commensurate with a Staff+ promotion. 

- How to overcome failure modes of attempted Staff promotions.

This course is intended to have value for much longer than the 2 days of live sessions. Each student will receive a complementary Taro Premium membership ($400 value) to expand your network and stay connected to course members. (If you're already in Taro Premium, you'll get a discount in lieu of the 1 year of membership.)

Who is this course for


You're a senior engineer in Big Tech looking to get promoted, but struggling to find scope and influence. e.g. Google L5, Amazon SDE 3


You're an engineering manager or director and want to provide concrete guidance for your engineers to achieve career growth.


You're an engineer who wants to validate your career direction by learning how very senior engineers are evaluated at larger companies.

What you’ll get out of this course

Define the Staff Engineer role and what that means for you

Promotion comes down to two axes: impact and scope. We'll dive into the Talk & Observe framework to methodically understand the role of L6+ ICs and what behaviors they exhibit.

Chart a path to Staff Engineer

We'll identify the 6 archetypes of Staff Engineers: (1) Generalist (2) Specialist (3) Coding Machine (4) Tech Lead (5) Fixer (6) Product Hybrid.

Promotion requires both an understanding of your strengths as an engineer and the needs of your organization.

Deconstruct how managers and directors at top companies approve promotions

Grasp the mental model of the managers who sponsor (or block) Staff level promotions. We'll also dive into how your manager relationship should change as you become increasingly senior.

Gain confidence in the promotion process

Promotions are not random: judgments are made with people and data as inputs. We'll walk through how to understand what matters, and how to use that information to increase your promotion chances.

Join our engineering community

Your network is your most valuable career asset. All students receive complimentary access to Taro Premium. Through this course, you will connect with other high-caliber engineers and learn from their success and struggles.

This course includes

5 interactive live sessions

Lifetime access to course materials

12 in-depth lessons

Direct access to instructor

2 projects to apply learnings

Guided feedback & reflection

Private community of peers

Course certificate upon completion

Maven Satisfaction Guarantee

This course is backed by Maven’s guarantee. You can receive a full refund within 14 days after the course ends, provided you meet the completion criteria in our refund policy.

Course syllabus

Expand all modules
  • Week 1

    Jun 15—Jun 16

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone


    • Jun


      Deconstructing The Staff Engineer Role And Mindset

      Sat, Jun 15, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM UTC

    • Jun


      Bonus AMA + Office Hours with Rahul

      Sat, Jun 15, 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM UTC

    • Jun


      Types of Staff Engineers, Performance Reviews, and Communication

      Sun, Jun 16, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM UTC

    • Jun


      Bonus AMA + Office Hours with Rahul

      Sun, Jun 16, 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM UTC


    • Beyond coding as a Staff Engineer

    • Learning through feedback and observation

    • Staff Engineer Archetypes And Performance Reviews

  • Post-Course


    • Jul


      Optional: One Month Check-in

      Tue, Jul 16, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM UTC

  • Bonus


    • Full Access To Our On-Demand Promotion Course

    • Networking Opportunities with Live And Virtual Events

    • Taro Premium Admission


(25 ratings)

What students are saying

"I landed a promotion in just 7 months." — What students are saying

        You've made such a difference in how I operate and prioritize my time. I went from doing siloed projects with questionable impact to cross-org efforts with measurable impact. Taro provides a more intimate/private setting for Staff+ engineers to share their thoughts. This is the difference maker in how useful the content is.
Matthew Ho

Matthew Ho

Senior Engineer at LinkedIn
        Rahul is phenomenal. I landed a promotion in just 7 months at PathAI. I learned the kind of questions to ask my manager and how to interact with teams and projects. Just wanted to say thank you for everything you put into Taro.
Qasim Wani

Qasim Wani

ML Engineer at PathAI
        This is something I have been looking for all my professional life, a structured way of getting mentorship. I'm so fortunate to have found Taro and the guidance on your platform.
Rashmi Kishore

Rashmi Kishore

Senior Engineer at Intuit
        I'm being trusted by my team and manager so much more because I followed a lot of tactics from effective communication series. Rahul mentioned in a video that 'Promotion is about behavior, not output'. That sentence completely changed the way I look at career development.
Hari Narayanan

Hari Narayanan

Software Engineer at Doordash
        Very motivated and nice prof, he loves to help people learn :) Highly recommend taking the class if you are willing and excited to take advantage of the prof's enthusiasm.
Stanford student

Stanford student course

Meet your instructor

Rahul Pandey

Rahul Pandey

Founder at Taro, ex-Staff Eng/Manager at Meta

Rahul is obsessed with accelerating career growth for engineers. From 2017 - 2022, he was a Staff Engineer [E6] and Engineering Manager [M1] at Meta. Prior to that, he was a founding engineer at a startup which got acquired by Pinterest in 2015. He taught the mobile development course at Stanford for 2020 and 2021.

In 2022, he started, a YC-backed company designed to increase the collective impact of software engineers around the world. Through his YouTube channel and the Taro community, Rahul has directly helped thousands of engineers.

Why this course?

Senior Engineer is a "terminal level" -- many engineers stay there (or are stuck there) for years. I struggled with the promotion to Staff Engineer and then saw the other side as a manager. This is the course I wish I had.

Let's connect on YouTube or LinkedIn.

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Course schedule

6 hours over a weekend
  • Saturday and Sunday

    10am - 1pm PT

    We'll have lectures, discussions, and guest speakers for the 2 core days of the class. This time will be high-density and filled with active learning.

  • Bonus Office Hours

    At the end of each session

    After each live session concludes, Rahul will stay with the class for an additional 30 minutes to answer any and all questions.

  • Curated Case Studies

    1 hour

    Unlock recorded stories from other engineers who landed the promotion to Staff Engineer, with tactical advice from their journey. Accessible via your Taro membership.

  • Taro Premium Membership

    Dedicate as much time as you want

    All students will get a free year of Taro Premium membership. Use this to access masterclasses, vetted discussions with other engineers, local meetups, and job-searching workshops.

Free resource

[Case Study] Building A Meta Internal Tool To Empower An Entire Org: Staff Promotion Story

Rahul worked at Meta (Facebook) from 2017 - 2022, getting promoted from Senior [E5] to Staff [E6] in the process.

A critical part of his promotion was the creation of a new internal tool to easily debug and fix tricky Android issues. The tool grew to 250+ engineers regularly using it.

This talk details how Rahul was able to identify and create the scope for the tool. The course will cover patterns and tools that you can apply to your own job.

Get this free resource

Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts

Active hands-on learning

This course focuses on live workshops, AMAs with industry leaders who have been in your shoes, and applied exercises so you leave with new friends and a working system.

Insights when you need them

Can't make a class? They're all recorded and available. Need help cracking a problem? Hop into our exclusive Taro forum and get help from me and the broader community.

Learn with a cohort of peers

Join a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you

A structured approach to career growth

The frameworks focus on the mechanics of engineering career growth at the Staff level
The frameworks focus on the mechanics of engineering career growth at the Staff level

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