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Tech Lead Journal

66 EpisodesProduced by Henry SuryawirawanWebsite

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building… read more


#30 - The Engineering Career Dilemma & Growing Through Self-Reflection - Annie Vella

“Be the supply to the unmet demand. Things that you could make a huge difference on if only you just go and do it. You don’t need to seek permission. That’s how you end up growing and being noticed."

Annie Vella is a technologist with almost two decades of hands-on software engineering and technology leadership experience. In this episode, Annie shared her engineering career dilemma story, why she resisted getting into management early in her career. She highlighted why women get singled out for their people skills and thus get offered management role early in their career. Annie also shared with me her unique approach to helping others grow in their career and skills through self-reflection and storytelling, including some of her favorite self-reflection questions. Towards the end, Annie shared her experience at MessageBird where she led the rapid growth of her team organically within a short time, and the importance of promoting engineering leaders from within.

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:06:13]
  • Resisting Management Early - [00:12:25]
  • Tech Career Milestones - [00:17:34]
  • Working with Underperforming Lead - [00:22:37]
  • Women and Early Management Role - [00:26:16]
  • Growing Through Self-Reflection and Storytelling - [00:30:08]
  • Self-Reflection Questions - [00:34:51]
  • Lessons Learned from MessageBird - [00:39:34]
  • Promoting Leaders from Within - [00:46:46]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:50:47]


Annie Vella’s Bio
Annie Vella is a technologist with a career in hands-on software engineering and technology leadership spanning almost two decades. Having worked in a range of business domains across four countries both remote and on-site, Annie empowers engineering teams to work smarter by cultivating a curiosity mindset, driving engineering excellence and inspiring engineers to grow through self-reflection and storytelling.

Annie recently left her role as Engineering Manager at MessageBird in Amsterdam to return to her home country New Zealand, where she has joined Westpac as a Tech Area Lead in Auckland.

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