February 18

Camille Fournier – Engineering Manager at Startups & Corporations (edited)

Management, Software Engineering



Camille Fournier, is the former Chief Technology Officer of Rent the Runway, a transformative brand that offers unprecedented access to designer fashion, disrupting the way millions of women get dressed. She spent much of her career as an engineering manager after starting out as an individual contributor.

She is an open source contributor and project committee member for both Apache ZooKeeper and the Dropwizard web framework. Prior to working for Rent the Runway, Camille served as a software engineer at Microsoft, and most recently, spent several years as a technical specialist at Goldman Sachs, creating distributed systems for managing risk analysis and firmwide infrastructure.

She has a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Camille is a well-respected voice within the tech community, speaking on a variety of topics such as engineering leadership, distributed systems, scaling teams, and technical architecture. In 2017 she released her book, “The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change.”

Episode Summary

Camille Fournier joins us on Develomentor to talk tech. She offers incredible insight to anyone with an engineering background, especially those looking to manage software engineering. Learn about other tech careers here.

Camille graduated from The University of Wisconsin with a master’s degree in computer science. In addition, she had experience working for Microsoft. But instead of looking for a cutting edge tech company, Camille chose to work for Goldman Sachs. Paradoxically, she attributes this decision in saving her tech career.  

Camille enjoyed working at Goldman Sachs but wanted to find a new challenge. This is when she joined the startup Rent the Runway and learned to manage software engineering and lead people. After wearing many hats in the company, Camille served as the CTO. But the startup life came with a cost, and Camille found herself overworked and drained. 

Instead of jumping into another job, Camille took some time to reflect and eventually decided to write her first book ‘The Manager’s Path’. The book offers practical advice to technical managers solving problems in the real world. It was a success, and not only for managers, but also, somewhat surprisingly, for younger employees interested in management. 

Camille currently works as the head of platform engineering at Two Sigma, a tech hedge-fund. 

Key Milestones

[1:14] Camille’s backstory.
[2:09] Camille’s career at Goldman Sachs.
[6:56] Moving to a startup company as an engineering manager.
[14:52] Camille’s writing journey.
[31:42] Camille’s current company.
[34:46] Why people in tech should write?
[38:49] Major challenges when you manage software engineering

Key Quotes

“Work in a job where you like the people you’re working with, and you’re challenged, but not too much. That job exists, and you don’t have to quit tech to find it”. In every company there are jobs that are technical that make a big difference in the company”. “You’re probably not doing your job if you’re spending any significant period of time writing code when you’re managing”. 

“You’re probably not doing your job if you’re spending any significant period of time writing code when you’re managing”. 

“As a manager, you are not simply telling people what to do. It’s a lot more nudging people. You have more authority, but very little ownership of your time. Your time belongs to other people”. 

“The best way to be a CTO is to co-found your own startup…It’s not common to work your way up to being a CTO”. “If you want to be an author, start blogging. Being a good writer is really a valuable skill”. 

“If you want to be an author, start blogging. Being a good writer is really a valuable skill”. 



Other Resources

The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier
97 Things Every Engineering Manager Should Know
by Camille Fournier



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