Sourcegraph design career development framework

Our career development framework is here to help you understand the expectations of your role, and to provide a common language for you and your manager to discuss and plan your career growth. It is also an important part of our larger goal of ensuring everyone is equitably recognized for the impact they have at work, and to reduce bias in promotions and hiring.

What are the expectations of my role?

There are currently six levels for designers at Sourcegraph. A level is composed of three categories, each with a summary statement and several example behaviors. These categories are:

  • Strategy
  • Execution
  • Teamwork
It’s important to understand that what is listed in the level descriptions are examples, and not checkboxes for promotion. The expectation is that you demonstrate a level of impact consistent with each of the category descriptions for your level.

Levels

Level Strategy Execution Teamwork
IC1

Entry level. Starting out in their career and needs guidance is most areas.

  • Delivers assigned designs to solve known problems
  • Gets considerable amount of hands-on support
  • Learning to collaborate with their team triad
  • Actively learning across all areas
  • Focused on execution
  • Learning from their team triad
Learning what strategy is
Should be able to execute on essential design skills
Learning how to be on a team
  • Understands their product
  • Knows our competitors, their solutions, and gaps
  • Knows Sourcegraph’s target customers and buyer personas
  • Knows who’s using their product, their jobs, tasks, use cases, and goals
  • Knows the strategy and vision for our company, product, their program, their group, and their team
  • Works toward the vision for their product area
  • Knows the metrics and outcomes we aim for in their product area
  • Learns from team how to understand customer and business problems
  • Asks for and use existing research to inform their solutions
  • Is learning about the fundamentals of system design
  • Talks to colleagues inside of their team affected by their work
  • Explores different ways to solve problems
  • Identifies pros & cons, questions, implications
  • Uses our design system
  • Follows fundamentals of good UI design
  • Seeks support to conceptualize a hypothesis that will be tested through a prototype
  • Works closely with engineers to understand and work around constraints
  • Knows and learns to apply our Design principles
  • Understands and applies our company values
  • Actively looks for opportunities to learn and develop
  • Builds their self-awareness
  • Is optimistic and positive about growth opportunities
  • Builds strong relationships within their team
  • Regularly communicates their work and status clearly and coherently
  • Provides rationale for their decisions
  • Actively seeks feedback
  • Appreciates and considers all feedback with an open mind
  • Makes every day count. Has a bias for effective action.
  • Learns to prioritize what’s important
  • Is part of representing design in their team
IC2

Developing: Completes assignments which have clear, near-term objectives. Operates independently to perform routine tasks.

  • Delivers end-to-end designs to solve known problems
  • Gets some hands-on guidance and direction
  • Collaborates closely with their team triad
  • May have growth areas in some competencies, but actively learning
  • Primarily focused on execution
  • Contributes to their team triad
Understands the importance of strategy and delivering on it
Autonomously delivers on assigned work
Functions as a valued team member
  • Understands their product
  • Knows our competitors, their solutions, and gaps
  • Knows Sourcegraph’s target customers and buyer personas
  • Knows who’s using their product, their jobs, tasks, use cases, and goals
  • Knows the strategy and vision for our company, product, their program, their group, and their team
  • Works toward the vision for their product area
  • Knows the metrics and outcomes we aim for in their product area
  • Consistently leverages knowledge of their product area and competition to make decisions
  • Actively seeks out new and deeper insights about customers to deeply understand their needs, make decisions, and increase confidence
  • Leverage knowledges from Sales and Support to better understand and serve customers
  • Actively contributes to their team’s strategy and roadmaps
  • Frames their work to relate back to the long-term goals of the product
  • Consistently focuses on driving outcomes, not just outputs
  • Influences how their team defines success metrics
  • Drives adoption for their product
  • Understands the value of making decisions with data over opinions.
  • Knows and learns to apply our Design principles
  • Understands and applies our company values
  • Actively look for opportunities to learn and develop
  • Builds their self-awareness
  • Is optimistic and positive about growth opportunities
  • Builds strong relationships within their team
  • Regularly communicates their work and status clearly and coherently
  • Provides rationale for their decisions
  • Actively seeks feedback
  • Appreciates and considers all feedback with an open mind
  • Makes every day count. Has a bias for effective action.
  • Knows and prioritizes what’s most important
  • Owns their work
  • Represents design in their team triad
IC3

Mid-level: Represents an area of specialization within the organization. Independently resolves complex problems. Contributes to cross-functional projects. Trains others.

  • Delivers impactful solutions that solve customer problems and move business metrics
  • Growing autonomy, guided as needed
  • Proficient across most competencies for their level
  • Contributor to team roadmap
  • Co-leads their team with their PM and EM
Starting to contribute to strategy work within team
Independently drives key work with team
Part of the connective tissue within the team
  • Consistently leverages knowledge of their product area and competition to make decisions
  • Actively seeks new and deeper insights about customers to deeply understand their needs, make decisions, and increase confidence
  • Leverages knowledge from Sales and Support to better understand and serve customers
  • Actively contributes to their team’s strategy and roadmaps
  • Frames their work to relate back to the long-term goals of the product
  • Consistently focuses on driving outcomes, not just outputs
  • Influences how their team defines success metrics
  • Drives adoption for their product through measurable design decisions
  • Begins to utilizes metrics to analyze the results of their projects and discover where they can be improved
  • Understands the underlying motivations for our customers
  • Challenges and influences their team’s understanding of the problem
  • Pairs with their researcher, analyst, or PM to do research
  • Talks to their customers regularly
  • Designs coherent systems, not just interfaces
  • Integrates their system with our broader product
  • Understands the technical system, worsk around constraints with engineers
  • Explores a broad range of solutions in Interconcepts and detailed designs
  • Involves cross-functional partners in explorations
  • Narrows down to the best solution using strong rationale
  • Reflects our design principles in their designs
  • Designs holistic flows, not individual screens
  • Chooses design patterns based on strong rationale
  • Reflects our content design principles in their UX writing
  • Contributes to our design system
  • Uses layout, hierarchy, typography, color, and motion based on a strong rationale
  • When appropriate, aligns their designs with our brand guidelines
  • Creates detailed prototypes to test microinteractions
  • Knows which prototyping method best suits their situation
  • Evaluates their work by what’s shipped, not what’s in the design file
  • Works closely with their PM to decide on best way to scope their project
  • Makes smart trade-offs that balance quality, speed of delivery, and learning—shipping is only the beginning
  • Works with the team to define the metrics which can be used to evaluate the success of their efforts
  • Analyzes project analytics post release and advocates for iterations which will improve outcomes
  • Consistently moves projects forward with data over opinions.
  • Consistently uses the Design principles to make decisions
  • Proficiently runs projects with the R&D toolkit
  • Lives our values in their work and interactions
  • Consistently seeks out opportunities to improve
  • Is resilient when they face setbacks
  • Sets learning and personal development goals
  • Improves the health of their product team
  • Proactively shares feedback with partners to help them develop
  • Helps their team be more inclusive
  • Supports recruiting or interviewing efforts where possible
  • Makes the complex clear and concise in writing and speaking
  • Persuades and influences others with strong opinions, weakly held
  • Consistently gives feedback in a way people can hear and apply
  • Is adaptive to how other people work and communicate
  • Works autonomously but knows when to ask for help
  • Is proactive without waiting for direction from others
  • Plans their work, focusing on goals, not tasks
  • Balances effort versus reward
  • Makes smart trade-offs
  • Co-leads their product team with their triad
  • Is generous with their time and feedback
  • Manages up
IC4

Senior: Brings domain expertise to complex projects. Role requires contribution outside the direct area of responsibility. Leads interdepartmental projects.

  • Works directly with a team(s) within engineering (Product)
  • Delivers impactful solutions that solve customer problems and move business metrics
  • Manages complex projects mostly autonomously
  • Comfortable in solving complex problems
  • Major contributor to team roadmap
  • Co-leads their team with their PM and EM
  • Eligible for entry to the manager track
Drives strategy with triad
Drives execution for business within team
Leads team culture within triad
  • Shows deep understanding of their team’s products and competitors in their solution design
  • Actively seeks new and deeper insights about customers to deeply understand their needs, make decisions, and increase confidence
  • Leverages knowledge from Sales and Support to better understand and serve customers
  • Grows their influence on the future vision for their product area
  • Actively plans for how their designs will help us surpass our competitors
  • Takes ownership of their team reaching business outcomes
  • Pairs with their Product Marketing Manager to influence how they bring their product to market
  • Effectively uses product analytics to identify how products can be altered to deliver better outcomes for the business
  • Understands the underlying motivations for our customers
  • Challenges and influences their team’s understanding of the problem
  • Leads quantitative and qualitative research
  • Solves complex system design challenges
  • Diverges and converges quickly and effectively
  • Practices first principles thinking for larger projects or when innovation is a requirement
  • Designs clear and elegant interfaces for complex systems
  • Refines the details of interaction design to achieve a high level of polish
  • Acts as a steward for our design system
  • Designs interfaces that are functional, beautiful, and delightful
  • Raises the visual design bar in a way that it creates business value
  • Pairs with an engineer to find design solutions through functional prototypes
  • Improves the way their team ships product
  • Proficients in defining and evaluating metrics which can be used to analyze the effectiveness of their solutions
  • Models moving projects forward with data over opinions.
  • Role model for our principles and values within their team
  • Is a person who other design team members proactively reach out to for feedback and mentorship
  • Identifies opportunities to refine our principles and values
  • Consistently seeks out opportunities to improve their team or group
  • Knows and manages their triggers for fixed mindset
  • Actively seeks out and applies lessons and inspiration from the success of others
  • Proactively motivates partners by sharing insightful and relevant feedback
  • Co-owns the health and inclusivity of their product team
  • Shares their ideas with the industry by writing or talking publicly
  • Supports Sourcegraph events
  • Uses storytelling to communicate their work in an engaging way
  • Anticipates feedback to address it proactively
  • Communicates effectively with group and org leaders to influence their thinking and decisions
  • Actively helps their triad and team align
  • Is decisive to make progress, not just take action
  • Drives resolving dependencies with others
  • Maximizes opportunities: when needed, goes beyond the project and the role
  • Raises problems when they see them
  • Owns their team’s work, consistently seeking to provide more value
  • Works beyond design, within and across teams, peers, and partners to ensure their team delivers high-quality, impactful results
  • Identifies and anticipates risks, proactively develops solutions
  • Promotes accountability for design efforts by helping other designers define and use metrics to analyze results of their projects
  • Shares a long-term vision that influences the team’s roadmap.
IC5

Expert: Provides innovative breakthroughs to toughest challenges and acts as a force multiplier for product teams while also increasing design quality and speed of execution. Influences management on strategic direction. Will have an impact on multiple organizations, countries/regions and disciplines as well as outside companies. Not all career paths include level 5.

  • Spanning the engineering team (group level)
  • Leads design delivery across the group
  • Helps drive group’s product vision in collaboration with group leads
  • Leads design within a product team if it’s short-staffed
  • Manages ambiguous projects autonomously
  • Acts a force multiplier
  • Excels at concept design, system design, and interaction design
  • Highly efficient, excellent at balancing effort vs reward
  • Contributor to group strategy and driver for the group vision
  • Coaches and guides designers in their group to help them grow and deliver impactful and high quality work
  • Eligible for transfer to manager track
Drives strategy across group (engineering)
Leads standards and key business initiatives across group
Helps to establish and model team behaviors across the group
  • Deeply understands their group’s products and competition
  • Identifies gaps and opportunities in customer understanding for their group
  • Contributes to the group strategy
  • Collaborates with group leads to turn the group strategy into a product vision
  • Steers the group’s design execution toward reaching business outcomes
  • Actively influences how their group brings products to market
  • Promotes accountability for design efforts via advocating and mentoring designers in the use of product metrics. Data over opinions.
  • Identifies new problems and opportunities for their group to solve
  • Questions and fills knowledge gaps for our strategic projects
  • Designs connected, modular systems that help us move faster in the future
  • Solves complex system design debt
  • Drives divergence and convergence for strategic work at the group level
  • Drives improvements to our design system and tooling
  • Drives improvements to our product’s overall visual design
  • Creates or advocates for tools and resources to help the entire design team become better at prototyping
  • Improves the way their team ships product
  • Prioritizes and helps drive discussions on analytics solutions and systems with the goal of improving the utilization of data based decision making in the design process
  • Models how to move complex work forward with data over opinions.
  • Role model for our principles and values for other designers
  • Contribute to refining our values, principles, and how we interpret them
  • Role model for growth mindset for others, contributing to their development
  • Co-owns the health and inclusivity of the design team in their group
  • Mentors designers in their group and supports their growth
  • Highly effective communication skills. Writes and presents concisely and clearly.
  • Helps teams in their group to get the right things done, fast
  • Resolves deadlock situations
  • Coordinates design work across multiple teams
  • Prioritizes the most impactful initiatives to take on
  • Drives excellence in the group’s design execution
  • When necessary, leads design work across multiple teams and projects
  • Shares a long-term vision that influences the group’s roadmap
IC6

We haven’t yet finalized the description of this level at Sourcegraph. Like IC5, this is a different role than the levels preceding it based not only on performance, but also business need, and (like IC5) what impact at this level looks like may vary more from person to person than at preceding levels.