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How to Find and Hire a Staff Engineer

Hiring a staff engineer with vast experience in a particular field can be a daunting task, given the shortage of Senior programmers in the global IT market. In this article, we dive into details of the role and impact of a staff engineer, discuss staff engineer vs Senior engineer, and advise on finding the right proficient software developers for your business.

The Role of a Staff Engineer

The role of a staff engineer largely depends on the organization’s specifics and goals, and the main focus of work may change with time, depending on the company’s performance and software development process. In short, a staff engineer is a highly experienced software engineer that drives tech strategic decisions, evaluates tech problems to resolve, and coordinates development teams, which work on the assigned tasks and write the actual code. When hiring a staff engineer, considering software support outsourcing can be a beneficial strategy, and consulting with an ERP advisor can help identify candidates with the necessary experience in system analysis and application development.

A staff engineer may still be doing some tasks as a Senior programmer, such as writing code or coordinating projects, but this is no longer their priority. The role of the staff software engineer is to set or adjust the technical direction the company is taking, identify the company’s strategic goals, and select or update the most suitable technology and software to achieve these business objectives. Moreover, staff software experts usually provide mentorship and technical assistance to engineers instead of writing code.

The role of a staff engineer is to think big and focus on the long-term progress and results, so they don’t make individual decisions and prioritize technologies that will benefit the company in the long run. To some extent, staff developers can be considered Technology Product Managers, who speak to higher management on technology’s side and communicate the technology selection and use to coders. Also, such IT experts always keep an eye on the global tech trends and technology releases to make sure that the company follows the best tech approach to achieve its goals.

Staff Engineer сan help companies in many ways. If you are in search of professional to empower your business, we will help to find real talents for you!

Understanding Software Engineer Career Development and Levels

Let’s take a look at the levels of software programmer, breaking down the career development of a software developer and showing where the staff engineer stands and what responsibilities and the business impact this involves. Depending on the particular organizational structure, these levels may differ but still follow the division and advancements in general.

  • Software Engineer (Junior/Middle). A software engineer usually works on tasks assigned to them by higher-tier engineers, such as a Senior programmer or Staff engineer. While higher-tier specialists identify problems and focus teams on them, Junior and Middle-level engineers find solutions to these problems, directly involving writing code. Engineers at this level are competent enough to work on tasks but are not experts with a huge impact on the business results.
  • Senior Engineer. Senior developers typically have 3-5 years of software development experience and are expected to participate in the task assignment and management of Junior coders. Although team management and mentoring are not their main responsibilities, Senior-level programmers are knowledgeable and experienced, so they are often involved in assisting Junior developers with their technical questions.
  • Staff Engineer/Senior Staff Engineer. When comparing a staff software engineer vs Senior software engineer, the main difference is in the scope of work and responsibilities. While a Senior programmer is still directly involved in the software development process, a staff engineer is a tech expert that sees a bigger picture, works together with higher management and development teams to ensure that the company’s goals are met, and the development process is on the right track and makes higher-level decisions, such as choosing the right tech stack to use by developers who write the actual code.

While Junior and Middle programmers are working on resolving problems assigned to them, a staff engineer is usually the expert that identifies the problems and assigns the tasks to programmers.

  • Principal Engineer. Talking about staff engineer vs principal engineer, a principal engineer’s scope is beyond working with a team, as they focus on the organization as a whole. Rather than identifying the problems to resolve, a principal staff engineer focuses on the essence of the arising problems and causes them to mitigate any further potential issues.
  • Distinguished Engineer. A distinguished software expert, or fellow, is usually the highest rank. Usually, these are renowned developers with enormous experience with building, launching, and maintaining complex software solutions. Such an expert makes the highest-level decisions in terms of technology, and usually, this position is taken in industry-leading companies and world-famous organizations.

Comparing Staff Engineer Salary Rates in Different Countries

Given the same level of knowledge and experience, IT experts’ earnings may vary, depending on the country they work in. Let’s look at software engineer, Senior engineer, Principal engineer, Distinguished engineer, and Senior staff engineer salary rates per month in various countries. The table below was built based on the SalaryExplorer and PayScale data, as well as on our Recruiting Team research over several local job portals.

The USThe UKSwitzerlandGermanyUkraine
Software Engineer$3,825$4,856$6,593$2,152$2,300*
Senior Engineer$7,658$6,487 $11,307 $4,244 $2,400*
Staff/Senior Staff Engineer$8,476$9,597$14,484 $6,119 $4,100*
Principal Engineer$10,417$11,679 $15,486 $8,285 $4,200*
Distinguished Engineer / Fellow$11,250$12,719 $16,488 $8,285 $5,500*

*Ukrainian salaries are provided based on Mobilunity’s Recruitment Team research on the local job markets. All salaries are net and do not include the service fee (in case of hiring on a dedicated team model). The salaries are provided for comparison purposes and could be not entirely accurate. Contact us to know the exact cost of hiring a developer corresponding to the required parameters.

Benefits of Hiring a Staff Engineer

In general, the tasks that a staff design engineer usually does can be divided into three categories:

  • Identifying the problems to resolve and the things to improve (communication with higher management as a tech representative; long-term strategic tech planning; setting technical directions; choosing technology to use; continuous research, monitoring, testing, debugging, upgrading, improving, etc.);
  • Task assignment and team management (task division and assignment, multiple team management, ensuring smooth communication and timely delivery, etc.);
  • Mentorship (technical assistance, tech stack and API consulting, teaching best industry practices, maintaining the quality of work and continuous development of programmers, etc.)

Let’s sum up the benefits of hiring a staff software engineer:

  • You get a dedicated tech expert concentrated on identifying the problems to resolve and potential tech issues that can be mitigated by developers who are directly involved in coding;
  • A highly experienced staff software expert who has built, launched, and maintained complex projects, knows how to arrange the software development process the optimal way; 
  • A highly educated professional who knows many technologies, equipment, and management systems, is able to select the best tech stack for the programmers per the company’s goals;
  • A well-versed IT expert can identify goals and ensure the correct track of the software development and quality results that meet the business requirements.

Senior Staff Software Engineer Resume Example

Below you can find a Senior staff systems engineer resume sample that you may use as a reference when reviewing resumes of potential candidates:

Mobilunity as a Reliable IT Services Provider to Find a Staff Engineer

Mobilunity is a renowned Ukrainian IT company with more than 10 years in the global outsourcing and outstaffing market that provides small to large-scale businesses with dedicated development teams and top-tier staff augmentation services.

If you are looking for a staff engineer to benefit your business, with the help of Mobilunity professionals you can find and hire the best expert for your company with relevant experience in your industry/field and adequate rates. Our Mobilunity experts know how to find and select the most suitable and dedicated IT gurus per your organization’s needs and requirements. Following our clients’ feedback, companies rely on Mobilunity solutions, thanks to our high level of professionalism, dedicated approach, and problem-solving attitude.

To source the perfect staff software engineers for your organization, our Mobilunity recruiting team utilizes the best industry approaches combined with our own time-tested recruiting practices: 

  1. First of all, we discuss the needs of your company and the requirements & expectations of the ideal candidate. We create and agree with you on the ideal candidate profile and start the sourcing process based on this information.
  2. Our Mobilunity recruiting team sources the potential candidates according to the ideal staff software expert profile created and presents to you the most suitable experts’ profiles to review.
  3. We take care of the preliminary interviews with the selected candidates to evaluate their tech and soft skills, expertise, and approach to work to make sure a particular IT expert will suit your company’s needs. After this stage, we provide you with short-listed candidates.
  4. You conduct the last round of interviews with Mobilunity recruitment team support, and the final hiring decision is always on you. After you select the expert to hire and make an offer to them, we at Mobilunity inform the candidate about your decision and negotiate on the best offer details in favor of your business.

Therefore, if you are searching for highly proficient Senior staff engineers, contact Mobilunity today, and let us help you to find the best IT expert needed.

Looking to hire a top-level staff engineer? Get in touch with Mobilunity experts!

All salaries and prices mentioned within the article are approximate NET numbers based on the research done by our in-house Recruitment Team. Please use these numbers as a guide for comparison purposes only and feel free to use the contact form to inquire on the specific cost of the talent according to your vacancy requirements and chosen model of engagement.

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