Launch HN: Taro (YC S22): Private career growth community for software engineers
Career growth depends on having a good manager and support group, but finding someone who advocates for you is challenging. Especially in a post-pandemic world, where many of our working hours are spent in isolation, we’ve lost many of the hallway conversations + quick insights that are critical to success in large organizations.
Alex and I have spent our careers at companies like Meta, Pinterest, Robinhood, and Course Hero, eventually landing Staff+ IC and management positions. Despite spending more than a decade in tech, we still stumbled our way through our career: choosing a team, understanding how perf review actually works, and finding a career path. We’ve had our share of good and bad managers, and we’ve also personally mentored dozens of engineers. (Interesting stat: the average engineer at Meta gets a new manager every 1.2 years!) During the pandemic, we started giving free talks about SWE career growth, explaining what we wish we knew earlier. These livestreams routinely got 500+ concurrent viewers, and our community ballooned to 40K software engineers who were looking to understand promotion and influence as an engineer.
We spent weeks talking to 100s of engineers and discovered that their career bottleneck was not coding ability, but all the other _stuff_ that is essential for software engineering. For example, as a mid-level backend engineer, how does my path to senior get impacted if I switch to Android dev? A product manager added a last minute requirement on my project which may cause the deadline to slip – how do I handle the fallout? Engineers often neglect these topics (project selection, effective communication, perf review) which leads to career stagnation and frustration.
For many engineers, the current resources available online are overwhelmingly irrelevant: they’re about learning a new web framework, or Leetcoding to switch jobs. If you’re at an established, fast-moving tech company, these resources won’t help with career advancement. Instead, the highest leverage activity is to learn from peers + veterans in similar companies.
Taro is the product that emerged from our community: a Q&A database from real engineers, where content is tagged by company + level. We also adopted the "case study" model where an engineer or manager discusses a specific story of how they ramped up or landed a promotion-worthy project. This kind of info is difficult to come by unless you know the right people within the company. Taro allows you to get personalized help for your situation, while also learning from the questions + answers of others.
We make money by charging software engineers directly for full access to the Q&A database, plus the ability to ask their own questions. We currently have 100+ Taro Premium members from companies like Meta, Google, TikTok, and Amazon, along with thousands of free users. We designed Taro for full time engineers at fast-moving tech companies – it’s not a good fit for freelancers or students who are still exploring software engineering.
Checkout a quick demo of Taro: https://youtu.be/nMgUciFPJMs
Feel free to browse through https://app.jointaro.com. We’d love to know what resources you’ve used for career growth. Thanks for your feedback!