Which is ...✨not every opportunity exists✨at every company✨at every time.✨
Even just trying to go from intermediate to senior can get interesting. How many other intermediate or senior engineers are there?
Does your ladder include mentoring/leading others?
What are the *business* needs this interval? What are our customers' needs (you know, that reason we're all here 🙃)?
(I mean, it's fantastic from the perspective of getting to learn from the best and level up at *knowledge* really fast. Worse for leveling, tho.)
_No_ company can make use of an engineering org stuffed with engineers whose projects must have "companywide (or global) impact"
Of course, this is all assuming that your company takes leveling seriously. Most...really...don't.
That is not ultimately in your best interests, though. </3 Seriously.
Once you let a little inflation into the system, it causes more trouble than it's worth. You *must* try to be fair and consistent.
* Each level after senior (e5) gets ~an order of magnitude harder to achieve, and ~an order of magnitude fewer hold it.
* whereas if you do not advance from e3->e4 within 2 years, and e4->e5 within 3 years, you are automatically put on a PiP (FB rule, not HC rule)
So here are a few strategic tips for leveling up.
2) When evaluating prospective roles, choose ones where your specialty is part of their mission, or at least key to its execution
3) Always ask to see the ladder when interviewing. If they hedge or fumble, don't take that job.
* (Ladders should be living documents that adapt and change with every review cycle.)
Develop your judgment around what needs to be done, and do it.
Want to become an E6/E7? Probably don't join a startup that already has people functioning at those levels,
This is obvious to us with the management track (if you want to go from M->Dir, don't join a startup that already has directors and managers who want to level up) but seemingly less obvious with engineering.
But it's perfectly reasonable to express your career objectives in the interview and make sure you're on the same wavelength.
Etc. All fair game.
Relax. Managers don't find this uncomfortable at all, it's their bread and butter. Ask away. ☺️