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Career

Engineering Management Career Ladder

This career ladder serves to give an overview of how you can progress your career at Abtion and become an Engineering Manager (EM).

As a prerequisite, we require people to have moved beyond level 2 on our individual contributor (IC) career ladder before they can transition into a role as an Engineering Manager. This is required as we believe it is important that you have grown your technical skills to a certain level before you start leading highly technical individuals.

Engineering managers are expected to be able to check off most items under “Impactful”, “Simple”, “Communication” and “Respectful teammate” for the corresponding level in the IC career ladder. Although you will not be evaluated on your ability to test highly complex logic, we believe testing is an essential engineering practice that you will continue honing and teaching.

While the engineering management track includes non-development tasks, it is worth pointing out that most of your time will still be spent on development and other client-focused work. You will gradually spend more time on managerial tasks as you move up the career ladder but check the “Time expectation” section under each level to see how your time will be split. EM-related tasks include, but are not limited to, 360 reviews, 1-on-1s, administrative work and attending engineering management meetings.

Any feedback on this career ladder is appreciated, and we encourage that you make pull requests with suggestions for improvements.

Level 3: Engineering Manager

Time expectation: Engineering Managers are expected to use about 20 percent of their time (~5.5 hours/week) on non-billable/EM-related tasks. The remaining time will be spent on development or other activities related to client projects.

Impactful

  • Manages a set of people consisting of approximately two direct reports.

  • Identifies growth opportunities for their direct reports and proactively ensures that these opportunities are pursued.
  • Adjusts processes and practices regularly to maximize the efficiency and performance of their team and/or direct reports.
  • Identifies pain points for their direct reports and proactively ensures that these pain points are solved.

Coaching and mentoring

  • Provides direct reports, manager, product managers etc. with timely and actionable feedback.
  • Motivates direct reports to keep them ascending the career ladder for both the IC and EM tracks and uses the career ladders to keep track of their progress.
  • Coaches developers on how to set goals that push them out of their comfort zone and assists them in succeeding.
  • Empowers direct reports to own their work.
  • Ensures direct reports are aware of growth and learning opportunities and helps them leverage these.
  • [ ] Empowers direct reports to speak up about their pain points.

Management/HR

  • Suggests compensation changes and manages promotions in collaboration with the CTO.
  • Coordinates vacation with the direct report, product manager, traffic manager, or other relevant parties.
  • Approves/suggests uses of the direct report’s development budget and assists them with practical matters when necessary.
  • Runs yearly 360 reviews with their direct reports.
  • Partners closely with the CTO to set the direction for the team and proactively provides updates on progress.

Communication and facilitation

  • Attends early meetings with clients to set realistic expectations with sales and the client.
  • Communicates strategy and progress within the team and to external stakeholders.
  • Encourages effective meetings with clear agendas/purpose and actions.
  • Resolves tension, interpersonal and technical conflicts within the team.
  • Clearly communicates expectations.
  • Ensures new hires are onboarded successfully in collaboration with relevant parties.
  • Drives and organizes the hiring/interview process in collaboration with the Executive Assistant.

Level 4: Senior Engineering Manager

Time expectation: Senior Engineering Managers are expected to use about 30 percent of their time (~8 hours/week) on non-billable/EM-related tasks. The remaining time will be spent on development or other activities related to client projects.

Impactful

  • Manages a set of people consisting of approximately four direct reports.
  • Has the required maturity to manage individual contributors at a higher skill level than themselves.
  • Uses their experience and relevant data to make fast and informed decisions.
  • Has a track record of growing people across various teams.
  • Consistently seeks to improve processes at the company such as interview practices, onboarding, defining roles, etc.

Coaching and mentoring

  • Deals with performance issues and misaligned expectations and understands their role in bringing an employee back on track.
  • Assists new engineering managers in how they can better plan and support the growth of their direct reports.

Management/HR

  • Has established a track record of retaining and attracting excellent developers.

Communication and facilitation

  • Uses their experience to identify headcount needs when planning new projects.

Level 5: Senior Engineering Manager

Time expectation: Engineering Managers are expected to use about 40 percent of their time (~10 hours/week) on non-billable/EM-related tasks. The remaining time will be spent on development or other activities related to client projects.

Impactful

  • Manages a set of people consisting of approximately six to eight direct reports.

Coaching and mentoring

  • Coaches new engineering managers and uses their experience to grow them.

Management/HR

  • TBD.

Communication and facilitation

  • TBD.

Level 6: Senior Engineering Manager

Impactful

  • Manages a set of people consisting of approximately eight or more direct reports.

Coaching and mentoring

  • TBD.

Management/HR

  • TBD.

Communication and facilitation

  • TBD.