Career Ladders

A sample of career ladders I use for my organization, open sourced for anyone.

DX Engineer I #

  • Vocal champion for a technical community's interests within the company. Has a keen eye to the landscape and context of our users.
  • Advocate for our technologies along many axis: open source, conferences, technical posts, demos, and social media.
  • Communicates internally and externally in a respectful manner.
  • Develops sample code and/or demos.
  • Helps debug technical problems developers and operators encounter with our platforms, reporting back to product or PRing fixes as appropriate to the context.
  • Submits bug reports for issues in our products & services.

Experience: Typically requires a minimum of 2 years of professional experience.

DX Engineer II #

  • Works on engineering initiatives that address concerns regarding improving the developer experience.
  • Writes technical posts that at once answer common questions/address technical concerns that might inhibit developers from working with our products with ease and also pay mindful attention to our site’s SEO and key metric goals.
  • Represents the company by delivering technical talks at conferences, meetups, podcasts, and hackathons.
  • Proficient in the appropriate use of social media to improve awareness of product and technology.
  • Pays attention to how the landscape affects the product and makes suggestions or files issues in reference to this greater context.
  • Listens to the priorities and concerns of others, and acknowledges differing perspectives. Anticipates others’ reactions.

Experience: Typically requires a minimum of 4 years of professional experience.

Senior DX Engineer #

At this point, a person is mastering how effective they can be as an individual contributor.

  • Defines and executes on an advocacy plan for specific interest/skill area to grow adoption of our platform.
  • Actively participates in Engineering efforts that help streamline the Developer Experience of our Product.
  • Works on tools and integrations, both internal and external to the company.
  • Knows the difference between lower and higher standards of quality in Developer Experience by actively trying out other tools in the ecosystem.
  • Effectively communicates these efforts with global communities, but only once they are up to a high quality and standard.
  • Identifies unaddressed issues and resolves, escalates, or finds the appropriate owner to ensure the highest level of quality.
  • Talks, posts, and demos are of high caliber.
  • Trusted advisor and technical liaison between our technical communities and our Product/Sales teams.
  • Understands and represents partner needs around a product category to inform the planning of new features, changes, and need for adoption.
  • Demonstrates openness to others’ ideas. Adapts their communication style to most effectively communicate with the target audience. Effectively and accurately shares credit for ideas and collaborative efforts.
  • Adapts to most effectively engage and influence the target audience with clarity. Speaks to our product when opportunity presents itself, but must be genuine and clear.
  • Helps support the work of their peers both on the team and in the community at large, by pair programming, reviewing, and providing mentoring.
  • Gathers customer impressions of products and services and integrates this feedback into decision making.
  • Adjusts well to shifting priorities when necessary.

Experience: Typically requires a minimum of 6 years of professional experience.

Staff DX Engineer #

At this point, the majority of one's time is spent scaling their own skills to help others.

  • Actively participates in meetings, and creates cross-team collaboration where necessary to address business goals.
  • External spoken materials such as speeches and workshops are refined and polished, practiced well so that the least amount of disturbance during presentation occurs and the audience feels respected.
  • Works on integrations or materials that aid in partnerships within the ecosystem.
  • Demonstrates the ability to speak to our product in a genuine way that outlines the credibility of the best features of the product from a business perspective. Must be truthful.
  • Preemptively goes through issues or community forum, helping people out where they can and pointing them to materials that can get them set up properly and smooth the developer experience of their workflow. Notices when issues are reoccuring and creates resources that clarify or solve these issues. Makes sure the resources are easy to locate.
  • Coordinates efforts across the team rather than working in a silo. Makes sure that people feel included in varying projects, and that their voices are heard.
  • Speaks to business goals while creating content.
  • Works on API proposals alongside our Product team. Is open to building out examples and use cases to validate concepts, and is also equally open to hearing "no".
  • While working on Product Engineering rotation, carefully documents processes that aren’t clear. Makes sure to work on the tickets assigned to them and works on the engineering efforts that aren’t glamorous to keep the team moving quickly.

Experience: Typically requires a minimum of 8 years of professional experience.

Principal DX Engineer #

At this point, one is helping others be the best that they can be, removing themselves and meeting others where they are.

  • Develops proven systems and approaches to advocacy. Replicates those systems and approaches across the team so that others may learn from and improve on them.
  • Deep industry knowledge and awareness of the competitive landscape. Incorporates competition analysis as appropriate into strategy.
  • Not only leads, but ideates new engineering efforts. Provides guidance and vision.
  • Mentors and actively drives the technical skills of the immediate or extended team.
  • Removes barriers by working with others around a shared need or customer benefit.
    Creates strategies that cross organizational boundaries to achieve broad business goals or influence.
  • Anticipates issues or implications that their ideas would have on others, and pursues mutually beneficial strategies.
  • Participates thoughtfully in customer meetings on occasion.
  • Sets clear and challenging goals for a portfolio of work, and pursues them with enthusiasm and passion. Understands business objectives and incorporates these into this body of work. Critically reviews multiple plans and adjusts as needed.
  • Proactively communicates and addresses necessary trade-offs.
  • Drives measurable growth by scaling/mentoring teams, affecting engineering roadmaps positively, managing key metrics, creating research or programs which will deliver product adoption.
  • Partners with other key people or platforms in the industry to drive awareness, adoption, and effectiveness of our tools.
  • Anticipates the needs of those around them. Is respectful in terms of async hygiene, exhibiting care that their teammates can get in touch with them or knows their status during working hours. Fills out process docs without having to be asked.

Experience: Typically requires a minimum of 10 years of professional experience.

Distinguished DX Engineer #

  • Figures out the industry-wide pieces of functionality that are missing that can unlock potential for customer growth at scale and implements them, either through engineering tasks, open source work, or advocating with product for features.
  • Partners with other products or people in the industry to create meaningful and useful product alliances that enable our customers to be productive, while also considering the execution in terms of business impact such as SEO and site traffic or monthly active developers.
  • Understands the impact on our OKRs of their activity and chooses precisely what they’re working on in terms of strategy of that impact without being asked.
  • Actively advocates for others internally and externally, making sure that their work is seen. Extends their social capital to aid other people.
  • Carefully considers communication modality when collaborating, especially in tricky circumstances.
  • Selects appropriate platform for their material, and builds relationships with people across the industry while doing so.
  • Effectively communicates when there are sharp edges of the developer experience with our product owners, advocates and teaches the impact of the changes necessary, but can also talk through the caveats of the change. Understands the tradeoffs of product engineering time and their proposed feature next to other priorities.

Experience: Typically requires a minimum of 12 years of professional experience.

Misc: Tech Lead #

A Tech Lead is responsible for leading a particular project, and responsible for the quality of its technical deliverables.

Anyone can be a tech lead at any stage in their career.

  • Involves a good amount of project management- keeping the trains running on time, keeping folks unblocked, and raising concerns to management when folks are stuck.
  • May at times involve mentoring folks and pair programming.
  • Still involves coding/participation and IC work on a project. This might also mean picking up slack to fill in gaps to round out a project.
  • Helps organize and facilitate productive feedback and feedback sessions with stakeholders.
  • Creates alignment with the overall project goals and how the execution is carried out. Brings up conflicts in a productive manner. Also, commits to the product vision once set.
  • A tech lead gently enforces standards- culture and attitudes included. If the team has misalignment, a tech lead spends time alongside the Engineering Manager to guide them towards productivity.

Note: Developer Experience is a hybrid of Engineering and Developer Advocacy/Developer Relations. If you are using these ladders for Advocacy, you may need to remove some Engineering tasks.