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Great software and product development typically requires a seamless collaboration across our Product, Design, and Engineering teams. At Earnest, our Engineering teams are the backbone for product and software development methodologies, and together, these teams bring subject matter expertise and focus to their discipline.
We have decided to level up our product development efforts and rebrand our “engineers” to be “Product Engineers”. Compared to a traditional software engineer, a Product Engineer is someone who believes that their time is best utilized understanding the needs of our customers and then working to build the best solutions.
Instead of just focusing only on the technical aspects, this role is equally concerned about the user experience (UX) and technology infrastructure. We get involved with product discovery early in the process so we can be part of the entire project scope lifecycle. This includes being able to provide expertise, costs and estimates, define the scope, as well as deliver on the solutions and meet the project specifications.
The Project Engineer is innovative and excited about each project at hand. We don’t wait for a set of requirements to be handed to us, rather, we are a team of professionals that have a strong desire to solve problems in a strategic way, while finding the best solution at hand. Our team of engineers are not just focused on shipping code. We are aware of the impact a shipping code will have on the business and our clients. By working collaboratively alongside our Product and Design teams, we find the best solutions to ensure our clients happiness and will do what we need to make it happen for them.
Through our experience building products at Earnest, we know each project has a unique set of challenges. That’s why we include Engineering during the entire product development lifecycle. This allows our Product Engineers to be fully engaged and guide the project with their expertise to determine what is viable and what is desirable. This helps the team meet the needs of our clients at every single stage of the software development journey.
When Product, Design, and our Engineers get together to collaborate on a project, they are a force of creativity, innovation, and empathy, which leads Earnest to build the best products and solutions for our clients. Basically, they do great things – together.
To summarize, a Product Engineer is someone who understands our customer personas and pain points. They are passionate about using technology to solve problems and understand how to apply analytics in a way that takes the project to the next level. We bring our expertise to the table and are equally accountable for product and technology goals.
With this in mind, we are always evaluating ourselves on where we stand on the Product Engineering vs. Software Engineering spectrum. We want to constantly push ourselves towards becoming a Product Engineering team of experts and we want to weave this thinking into the daily fabric of our teams.
Our teams have been challenged to define what a successful model of Product Engineering looks like and we encourage our team to keep rethinking the definition of the role so Earnest can remain client-focused and work towards our mission to make higher education accessible and affordable for everyone.