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Ockam - Career Ladder Guide

Overview: Ockam Career Ladder

Understand and chart your career trajectory at Ockam.
At Ockam we . It is the responsibility of the team to provide an environment where every individual is empowered to be world-class in their role and to enable individuals to achieve more than they could dream possible for themselves.

This level guide is intended to help the team align expectations and create a framework where we have a common language to describe growth paths. It is part of a larger ecosystem around career growth, learning, and career development. Regular 1:1s between a team member and their manager, continuous feedback and conversations about alignment and growth, as well as quarterly goal setting and feedback sessions and bi-annual performance reviews complement the this level guide.

Career Ladder Goals:
Give team members career perspective and map of progress
Provide framework for performance evaluation and feedback
Inform hiring

Expand each section below for a summary of how this guide was created and how you should read it:
🏗️ Framework
The components of Ockam’s new career ladder are broken down into
@Key Area

At Ockam, there are 4 key
@Key Area
broken down into 13
, which are in turn comprised of several related
. The framework is summarized as follows:
Impact: The Impact Key Area outlines the effective outcomes and influence that are expected at that level. To what extent can the team member impact the team’s overall delivery. Impact is broken down into 2
that reflect the results Ockam expects from each role on the team:
Functional Skills: The Functional Skills Key Area outlines skills and deliverables that are required to facilitate the team’s day-to-day tasks. What is necessary for a team member to deliver on their specified purpose within the larger team. Functional Skills are broken down into 6
that represent how we go about our work at Ockam:
@Technical Capabilities
@Team Building / Coaching
@Prioritization / Execution
@Engineering Strategy
@Organizational Building
Behavior: The Behavior Key Area acts as a benchmark of how Ockam expects our team members to promote and live Ockam values and culture in a team setting. The manner in which the team member executes their role within the team. Behavior is broken down into 4
that correlate with what Ockam expects from our team:
@Collaboration / Communication
@Living Values
(such as initiative, autonomy, EQ, learning, agility, being a team player, and maturity)
Continuous Learning: The Continuous Learning Key Area reflects whether a team member has demonstrated continuous and consistent growth of the
of prior levels. Continuous Learning is broken down into 1
that represents Ockam’s expectations for ensuring skill maintenance:
@Skills Continuity
📈 Levels
This levels ladder outlines expectations and examples of a team member’s
at every level. Ockam uses seniority levels to set increasingly high expectations of our team members as they progress through each role and provide a clear way to track personal career progression. Ockam uses titles to make it clear to everyone internally where someone is in their career progression at Ockam. Levels, titles,
are the basis for discussions and feedback between a team member and their manager(s).

Levels are absolute. Each level stands for itself.
Graduating our expectations through L1 to L8 provides a greater level of precision and granularity. Role goals become more short-term as a result and progress can me measure more effectively.
We don’t use titles like ‘junior’, as it can be disempowering for those that are in that role and doesn’t accurately portray the impact and value that all our team members have.
Each level builds on the criteria from the preceding level. For example, an IC4 must also meet all the criteria for an IC3.
Levels 1-4 generally focus on engineers executing work.
Levels 5-10 generally focus on executing projects and monitoring and guiding others in their work.
Individual Contributors (IC) and Engineering Managers (EM) can exist at the same Ockam level with different job criteria. Becoming an EM is not a promotion—it's a different role on a parallel track. Some criteria are shared between ICs and EMs at the same level (as indicated by “[Shared]” in the levels ladder).
ICs begin at L1. EMs begin at L5.
Scaling Attributes:
generally scale through areas of impact (e.g., own work on
@Team, Teammates
@Across Teams
> company). Impact is not a linear progression, especially at the top of the ladder.
only scale through a limited number of levels generally because certain
hit a growth limit at a certain point depending on role-type. For example IC2s have heavier knowledge requirements, whereas EM5s have heavier team building requirements.
at different levels: Since growth is not linear or streamlined, we expect that team members will demonstrate
at different levels (e.g., debugging skills at IC4, but communication skills at IC1). We’re addressing this as follows:
The levels ladder is not an exact checklist, it’s a solid guideline, and smaller deviations are to be expected. Not all team members will be at the same point in their career and expectations of them will differ depending on a team member’s experience and capabilities. If consistent overall growth is visible, such deviations will not stand in the way of promotions or raises.
Ockam aims to ensure that each team member is recognized at the most accurate level for their unique skill set and contributions.
Practically addressing deviations:
Deviations beyond -1 level from a team member’s current level should be used as a basis for discussions with their manager about growth opportunities and what the organization can do to support this person in leveling up.
Deviations beyond +1 level from a team member’s current level should be used as a basis for discussions with their manager about how the team member can use these particular strengths for further growth and supporting others, e.g. through mentoring.
🧗‍♂️ Growth
How do team members level-up?
Team members should feel comfortable discussing career growth with their manager, including discussing tentatively which level fits best to the team member’s abilities and actions. At Ockam, we strive to create a culture of positive feedback and recognition—we do this through our career reviews and ongoing 1:1s, whereby we can provide mutual constructive feedback and thoughtfully reflect on the expected
and gauge if most of those have been successfully achieved on a regular basis.
Talent assessment is part of our growth framework at Ockam. It is important for us to be able to identify and retain team members who drive the success of our organization and mitigate risks of lack of performance and attrition of key team members.
Once we put someone in a level, we can’t really “take it back”. So when we promote someone, we need to be sure that it’s the right decision for all involved parties. For example, it’s better for the
@Team, Teammates
to have you perform solidly at IC5 than to struggle at IC6.
We promote team members to the next level after they demonstrate consistent
@Rate of Growth
at that level.
: This assessment relies on the role criteria for an applicable level and the extent to which the team member meets the requirements of that level and produces results.
@Rate of Growth
: This assessment reflects the speed at which a team member has developed over the time period, whether the team member is currently working at their full potential and whether the team member demonstrates a willingness to grow and develop their skills.

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