Communication for Engineers

Communication skills are crucial for engineers to reach the next level. Listen to the Tech Lead Journal Podcast for an in-depth interview with Chris on this topic.

The C4E book provides software engineers with a self-paced method for becoming more productive, more impactful, and happier. The book is available on Amazon, as a PDF, as an EPUB. and on Medium.

Chris also mentors on the topic and facilitates a C4E workshop held with fellow employees at JP Morgan each time Chris visits one of its locations. The workshop is packed with interactive exercises to improve communication techniques, empathy, and collaboration.


The C4E Book

The C4E book is written by a veteran engineer, Chris Laffra, to help other engineers become better communicators. To provide context, here is the foreword to the book by Urs Hölzle:

"Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most crucial life skills to learn. Through communication, we transfer information to produce a greater shared understanding. Communication is multi-faceted. You can share information verbally or through written media, such as books, websites, and documents. You enrich your communication visually using graphs, charts, images, and maps. Finally, you complement the picture with non-verbal communication such as body language, gestures, tone, and voice pitch. All these communication techniques are addressed effectively in this book. It is the first example where all the insights related to communication for software developers come together in one single, nicely organized collection of actionable advice.

As an engineer, we care a lot about our code. It defines us. We study the programming languages we use in great detail. We become experts in the tools we deploy. We fight with other engineers who are not using the same editors we use. Education tracks for software developers focus on the development of technical skills. We learn how to write compilers. We learn multiple programming languages. However, "softer" skills get less attention. Examples of those softer skills are: how to collaborate, how to get consensus on an idea, how to articulate our thoughts, and how to listen to others.

At some point in your career, you can no longer communicate effectively just by talking with others. Stand-ups, planning meetings, and peer programming sessions all have their physical limits. This effect applies to you sooner than you think. At that point, you need to switch to asynchronous communication techniques. In short, you need to switch to *writing*. Those who can write well suddenly have a headstart. Through well-written communication, your influence suddenly grows exponentially.

As an engineer, you should invest in your communication skills. This book provides an excellent plan, combined with a methodical approach. It contains actionable advice in its various chapters on communication skills.

Reading this book leads to you becoming a more successful engineer. You will become more impactful. More importantly, you will be a happier software developer. Enjoy reading!"

— Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Engineering and employee #8 at Google

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