PALO ALTO - Eng School, the professional development program for aspiring engineering managers and technical leads, has just signed up its 1000th student thanks to rapid word-of-mouth spread in the software engineering community. The fully-remote program is taught by technical leaders from prominent technology firms including Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and Coinbase. Its stated goal is to provide a blend of theoretical and practical skills that engineers need to “multiply their technical impact” and speed up their ascent into high-level technical roles.
“We’ve had entire teams of a dozen-plus engineers take this course, and the learning outcomes have been outstanding. That includes my entire team. I’ve seen many of my reports go from just submitting PRs [pull requests] to speaking up in meetings about technical decisions, and even working with our PM [product manager] on strategic concepts. It’s very rewarding to see as their manager, and it’s the kind of thing that I think ICs [individual contributors] absolutely need to study as they move through their mid-careers,” said one recent Eng Authority customer.
“We’re happy to see that Eng School is becoming the industry standard training material for current and aspiring tech leads and EMs [engineering managers],” commented Eng School’s head of customer success on the customer’s quote. “The program is designed to help practicing software engineers fast-forward their technical careers, and we’re grateful that more and more organizational leaders are equipping their team members with this vital tool.”
The praise comes amid a period of rapid expansion for Eng School. According to the company’s head of customer success, the program now allows customers to gain immediate access to all course content as soon as they enroll, including nearly 200 video lessons and over 5000 pages of supplemental readings. “Our customers are full-time working professionals, and it’d be impractical to expect them to attend live or in-person events. The best way to respect their time is to let them move through the course at their own pace. This flexibility has nearly doubled the key metrics that track our learning outcomes,” said Eng School’s head of curriculum in a statement.
“We see a wide range of customers. Most customers finish the course over three to four weeks, while others blitz through it in just one or two weeks. Others do one module a month, working with their manager to find projects that let them apply the skills they’ve learned from the course in that last month. To support all these use cases, we’re proud to offer all customers lifetime access. They even get lifetime access to all future updates, with no additional fee,” the statement continued.
Eng School’s intensive 8-part curriculum begins with a deep-dive into building technical systems for “billion-user scale,” a major challenge for software engineers at high-growth startups and rapidly-scaling firms. In addition to foundational theorems from the world of computer science, these lessons cover practical topics in caching, sharding, load balancing, microservice-based architectures, elasticity, and content delivery networks (CDNs). Sample lesson titles include “Replication lag, eventual consistency, and monotonic reads” and “Shard rebalancing, directory-based partitioning, and fixed and dynamic partitioning.”
The later modules shift toward product and business strategy, which Eng School’s head of product called “a suite of essential skills for turning software engineers into well-rounded, hyper-effective business leaders.” Lessons in this back end of the course cover four fundamental market entry strategies; using gamification and switching costs to build sticky products; advanced growth-hacking strategies incorporating recent findings in behavioral economics; and more.
The course also includes 86 case studies that analyze the growth strategies of well-known firms including Stripe, Tesla, Slack, Airbnb, Coinbase, Twitter, Apple, and Meta. “We use these lessons to show real-life applications of the theories and techniques we teach in the classroom modules. The goal is to show students how they can replicate these success stories in their own technical projects,” said Eng School’s head of engineering in an interview.
Eng School has recently completed a flurry of updates and plans to continue updating their materials based on industry research and customer feedback. “In our most recent update, we hand-picked nearly 600 supplemental readings (totaling over 5100 pages) and released them to our customers as a free upgrade. Our video lessons are streamlined and focus on essential theories, tools, and tactics. The goal of these readings is to help students discover more applications of these ideas, understand the lively debate around the tradeoffs these theories involve, and uncover some cutting-edge applied research in this space,” said the head of Eng School’s content arm in a statement.
“For example, in Optimizing Tech Products for Hyperscale, we teach students how to accommodate massive spikes in demand. In our videos, we cover topics such as how to use load balances to scale backends horizontally; how to use message queues and asynchronicity to scale up more effectively; and how to build CDNs to serve large volumes of static media. We complemented that with more applied knowledge in our hand-picked supplemental readings. For instance, students will be learning about how to choose between RabbitMQ and Kafka for message queues, or between Memcached and Redis for caching. These are decisions they’re going to have to make at work, especially as they move into more technical and strategic leadership roles,” he added.
“One of the VPs we’ve been working with emphasized the importance of having students learn about new developments in the field by reading papers from prominent engineering teams who are building cutting-edge tools for distributed systems. So we added readings that cover topics like Twitter’s Deterministic Aperture load balancing algorithms and Cloudflare’s noted technique of putting ‘unpopular’ CDN assets in memory. We want our students to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry right now, and we think content like this will really help,” the statement continued.
About Eng School:
The Eng School technical strategy program currently costs $4379 and contains 196 on-demand videos and 598 supplemental readings. Many employers fully reimburse their employees for the Eng School program, making the course come at zero cost to the student. The course is taught by technical leaders including Directors, Vice Presidents, and Corporate VPs who hail from notable tech firms including Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and Coinbase. The course content has been taught at MIT, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke, and Vanderbilt, as well as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.