Plato Engineering Career Ladders
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Engineering Career Ladder v1.0

This doc is to share Engineering Career Ladders that we gathered from our community of the best tech companies. Do you have feedback about this doc? Email me: quang@platohq.com



Track:
Management
Carreer Ladder:
Square Management



Career Ladder
2
Level
Axe
Prioritization & Execution
15
Technical Excellence
8
Leadership & Collaboration
18
Team Building & Hiring
11
Coaching & Development
10
Scope & Impact
14
Experience
4
Skill
Skill
Skill
Skill
Skill
Skill
Skill
L5 // A new manager
18
• Drives execution by organizing team work, setting goals, and holding the team accountable.
• Monitors and escalates issues with team pace.
• Empowers team members to own their work.
• [Shared] Prioritizes and values unowned or undesirable work that enables the team to move faster.
• Is accountable for the technical output of the team.
• Upholds a high technical bar while making pragmatic tradeoffs.
• Sets direction for the team on a regular cadence in partnership with their manager.
• Collaborates with stakeholders including customers, product managers, and others in development and execution of the team’s roadmap.
• Communicates strategy, rationale, and progress within the team and to external stakeholders.
• [Shared] Works with their team and adjacent teams to solve problems. Escalates problems that have wider scope.
• Resolves interpersonal and technical conflict within the team.
• Hires for their team (by collaborating with recruiters, defining roles, sourcing, taking candidates to hiring bar, selling their team and Square, etc).
• [Shared] Conducts engineering interviews.
• Coaches, provides timely, actionable feedback, and invests time in career development of team members; e.g., via 1:1s and aligning employee growth with opportunity.
• Responsible for recruiting, performance reviews, performance management, promotions, and career planning in partnership with their manager.
• Manages a team, typically consisting of 4 to 5 direct reports.
• Must have the maturity to manage ICs at higher levels than themselves.
Engineers and managers typically acquire the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to meet the expectations of this level with a relevant Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of relevant industry or academic experience.
L6 // A strong independent manager
20
• Works with team members to define what success looks like so that the positive impact for customers is clear; sets goals, defines metrics, and tracks progress.
• Clarifies ownership and decision making for the team. Delegates ownership of tactical decision-making but maintains responsibility as tiebreaker where necessary.
• [Shared] Crosses team and service boundaries to solve problems.
• [Shared] Monitors and adjusts team pace to instill urgency for success but protect from burnout.
• Able to represent and be accountable for the technical output of the team, either through personal experience or strong communication lines with senior engineers.
• Independently responsible for coaching, development, and career management: setting performance expectations, career planning, performance reviews, managing low performers, compensation reviews, promotions, and terminations.
• Resolves interpersonal and technical conflict within and outside the team.
• [Shared] Works through others. Lifts the skills and expertise of those around them.
• [Shared] Advises manager with insights and recommendations to improve the team.
• Independently plans and executes changes to team staffing in service of company goals: identifying gaps, defining roles, and managing team size.
• [Shared] Recruiting participation increasingly becomes filling open engineering headcount for Square, not just for positions on the immediate team.
• Independently responsible for coaching, development, and career management: setting performance expectations, career planning, performance reviews, managing low performers, compensation reviews, promotions, and terminations.
• Resolves interpersonal and technical conflict within and outside the team.
• [Shared] Works through others. Lifts the skills and expertise of those around them.
• [Shared] Advises manager with insights and recommendations to improve the team.
• Manages a team or two, typically consisting of 4 to 8 direct reports, or even larger if necessary.
• Ownership includes product or platform features.
• Independently responsible for all aspects of people management.
• Has demonstrated ability to successfully lead people, teams or projects multiple times in different contexts.
Engineers and managers typically acquire the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to meet the expectations of this level with a relevant Bachelor’s degree and 8 years of relevant industry or academic experience.
L7 // An organizational leader
15
• Works with managers to define their team’s goals by clarifying and maintaining consistency with larger organizational goals.
• [Shared] Stays aware of changes around the company to anticipate and prevent obstacles from hindering team performance.
• [Shared] Ensures technical designs are properly evaluated for important projects and advises teams to improve execution.
• [Shared] Influences senior leaders on engineering strategy
• Represents goals, metrics, and successes to senior leadership for all teams reporting into this manager.
• Works with and through managers to set team vision, mission, and strategy and the positive impact for customers.
• [Shared] Uses negotiation and patience to collaborate with other senior leaders, ensuring progress and setting the example for others.
• [Shared] Collaborates across teams and disciplines to solve problems and resolve technical debates.
• Plans the growth of their organization and scales the team.
• [Shared] Recruiting participation increasingly becomes sourcing, selling, and closing offers for managers, senior ICs, and/or tech leads.
• Coaches new engineering managers and technical leads, for succession planning and growing the organization.
• [Shared] Mentors other senior engineers or managers on strategy, collaboration, influence, execution, and other aspects of leadership
• [Shared] Demonstrated success leading large, strategic, or complex areas that have clear impact to the success of Square.
• Manages multiple teams and managers, or has a track record of influencing and delivering projects with company-level impact and priority.
Engineers and managers typically acquire the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to meet the expectations of this level with a relevant Bachelor’s degree and 12 years of relevant industry or academic experience.
L8 // A company leader
16
• Effectively prioritizes work across teams to maximize impact on the company’s success.
• May own budgeting for their projects, both from a people allocation standpoint and from a dollar standpoint.
• [Shared] Influences teams across Square to achieve broader company goals as well as team goals within their organization.
• Works with other leads to set policies and processes that span Engineering.
• [Shared] Recognizes, influences, and/or resolves critical issues that may affect the company direction.
• Works with senior leadership and/or the executive team (Core) to align the division’s team vision, mission, and strategy with the company as a whole.
• [Shared] Leads the organization to success with little guidance or direction from senior leadership and/or the executive team.
• [Shared] Actively contributes to broad business strategies, decisions and processes.
• [Shared] Collaborates with other L8s and teams to influence meeting broader company goals.
• Designs their organization to maximize impact and respond to the changing needs of the business.
• Builds autonomous teams that can function without high levels of oversight.
• [Shared] Serves as coach and mentor across all of engineering.
• Manages an organization that directly impacts Square’s success. The organization can consist of multiple teams, high impact teams, emerging teams, or teams of large size / scope; direct reports typically consist almost entirely of managers.
• Ownership includes multiple features, tools, or infrastructure.
• [Shared] Impact affects many teams, many customers, and/or a percentage of revenue.
Engineers and managers typically acquire the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to meet the expectations of this level with a relevant Bachelor’s degree and 15 years of relevant industry or academic experience.
L9 // An industry leader
11
• Works with directors and managers to create and adhere to a budget for the organization.
• Communicates strategy and process decisions made by executive team to disseminate to their organization.
• Finds opportunities to improve the entire org, through process, product, tools, or people.
• Manages relationship with executive team and assists with managing relationship with the Board.
• Ensures teams within organization are collaborating successfully to execute on company goals.
• Influences organizational design across the company to minimize friction and maximize productivity.
• Plans headcount for the organization and oversees allocation to best achieve goals of broader team.
• Coaches new directors and senior engineering managers.
• Management is largely strategic and implemented through direct reports who are managers, senior managers, and directors.
• Ownership includes a broad strategic asset at Square.
• Impact and decisions affect the entire company.


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