Sourcegraph engineering 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?

We have shared expectations for all engineers, regardless of level or role. On top of that we have additional levels showing how a teammate’s impact, scope, execution, and teamwork varies by level.

  • Impact: The tangible and positive difference made through one’s contributions to the company’s mission.
  • Scope: The breadth and depth of one’s technical and non-technical expertise, including how one maps business goals to technical solutions.
  • Execution: The ability to consistently and efficiently translate plans into outcomes.
  • Teamwork: The art of collaborating effectively with others, both within and outside the organization.

Expectations for a level add to the expectations of earlier levels. In addition, we expect engineers at all levels to exhibit our values.

We expect every engineer to eventually reach at least level 3. It is the responsibility of your manager to track this, and to ensure that you are given the support and opportunities needed for career growth.

Successful engineers at Sourcegraph

In order to make the level descriptions below a bit more tangible, we also have the following document: Successful engineers at Sourcegraph.

When do I get promoted?

You are eligible for promotion when your manager can demonstrate that you’ve had at least one quarter of high performance at your current level and at least one quarter consistently performing at the next level. This includes having demonstrated impact consistent with the next level. Technical growth alone is not sufficient for promotion. See our documentation on impact reviews for more about the promotion and compensation process.

All Levels

  • Impact

    • Directly contributes to achieving the company’s strategic goals and long term success.
  • Scope

    • Has high productivity and output, with frequent and meaningful commits.
    • Ships regularly.
    • Writes high-quality, well-tested, well-documented, maintainable code that aligns with the style and practices of the codebase.
    • Writes high-quality documentation in order to solicit and receive the best feedback on proposals.
  • Execution

    • Seeks out work, rather than waiting for work.
    • Applies diligence through the entire software lifecycle: planning, coding, documenting, shipping, demoing, supporting, and improving your software over time.
    • Finds simple, correct solutions. Implements them in the expected time (or escalates early). Iterates as needed.
    • Seeks out opportunities to simplify and streamline our current systems. Considerings the broader implications of changes.
    • Enhances the maintainability, resilience, and performance of existing systems. Understands their importance to our business continuity.
    • Can work remotely & async. Knows how to manage time, work, and communication.
  • Teamwork

    • Escalates early and efficiently when blocked, stuck, overloaded, or sees a better way to achieve our goals.
    • Does not gate-keep. Accelerates and unblocks colleagues.
    • Communicates thoughtfully and proactively to keep stakeholders informed and identify risks.


  • Impact: Delivers clearly defined projects of small to medium technical risk.

  • Scope: Primarily focuses on their team’s code. Utilizes general software engineering knowledge.

  • Execution: Defines work scope and identifies gaps such as missing requirements within that scope.

  • Teamwork: Generally works with a handful of people, primarily engineers, PM, and design partners on their team.


  • Impact: Clarifies project scope and delivers projects of medium to high technical risk.

  • Scope: Primarily focuses on their team’s code and architecture. Pulls on broader knowledge of Sourcegraph. Strong generalist skill set. Starting to develop some areas of expertise.

  • Execution: Identifies gaps in the overall project, not just the parts within their scope.

  • Teamwork: Actively contributes to a collaborative and respectful team culture. Collaborates across teams, focused on their direct areas of work.


  • Impact: Delivers highly technical, open-ended, potentially ambiguously defined projects.

  • Scope: Often works on components outside their immediate domain. Demonstrates some specialized skill sets on top of their general knowledge.

  • Execution: Identifies gaps in the product experience as well as engineering gaps. Identifies areas ripe for improvement.

  • Teamwork:

    • Actively mentors junior team members.
    • Gives feedback which influences the work of others.
    • Gathers input from customers and users to guide decisions.


  • Impact: Deliver projects with high technical and organizational risk.

  • Scope:

    • Recognizes overarching technical issues beyond their immediate domain and suggests solutions.
    • Goes into whatever codebase is needed to solve the problem.
  • Execution:

    • Clearly translate between engineering goals and business objectives.
    • Identifies, proposes, and implements solutions to fill the gaps between engineering efforts and goals.
  • Teamwork:

    • Influences the direction of the engineering organization.
    • Uplifts entire teams. Actively shapes the engineering team’s culture.
    • Helps others understand the company direction, detects misalignments, and provides missing context.


  • Impact: Drives and delivers top-level company initiatives with only broad strategic guidance.

  • Scope:

    • Applies technical expertise to the company’s most challenging problems.
    • Influences the company’s overall technical direction.
    • Uses domain expertise to deliver important differentiators for the company.
    • Provides solutions that are examples for others to follow.
  • Execution:

    • Brings conviction about what problems we should solve.
    • Identifies and implements ways that engineering can help advance business goals.
    • Drives external alignment when it helps to advance our business goals.
  • Teamwork:

    • Expertise is recognized across the company. Actively shares insights, upleveling others.
    • Works with Engineering and Product leadership to ensure alignment between engineering and business goals.
    • Identifies the right project owners. Hands off projects without just dropping them in another team’s lap.

Management Levels

Level Proficiency Execution Teamwork Additional Notes/Key Points/Examples

Accountable for the performance and results of a small team of professional individual contributors..

  • Years of experience: Typically 0-2
  • Has IC4 equivalent technical knowledge.
  • Understands the technical aspects of the team they manage.
  • Provides technical guidance to the team.
  • Still writes some code.
  • Ensures work is done to a high technical standard.
  • Follows management best practices including regular 1:1s, team meetings, planning and retrospectives.
  • Delivers feedback on career growth and impact review results.
  • Assists reports in setting goals for both impact and personal growth.
  • Builds their team through effective hiring and onboarding.
  • Proactively manages reports who do not meet our high performance standards.
  • Establishes a culture and processes that promote good decision-making.
  • Delegates work effectively and sets clear expectations for ownership and execution.
  • Operates a single area or a couple of smaller areas of our services, with one or two teams with several individual contributors who report to you.
  • Responsible for the operational, people, and roadmap aspects of your area.
  • Focused on the operational details of your area, understanding the needs of your customers, and ensuring your team is performing effectively to serve those needs.
  • Has IC4 equivalent teamwork expectations.
  • Proactively builds teams by implementing team processes and creating opportunities for teammates to connect.
  • Ensures team members are happy and engaged, as measured by impact reviews.
  • Proactively resolves interpersonal conflicts.
  • Collaborates with cross-functional partners to balance product needs with technical feasibility.
  • Effectively able to convince and challenge teammates and cross-functional stakeholders using valid expertise and respectful communication.
  • Actively seeks dissenting opinions, disconfirming evidence, etc.
  • Shares a long-term vision that influences the team’s roadmap.
  • Helps retain customer relationships and incorporates solutions/suggestions from them.
  • Ability to delegate and clearly communicate capacity needed to work on those areas.
  • Manages a one or two teams team of individual contributor professionals.Greater than 50% of time spent on manager duties vs. individual contribution.
  • Responsible for managing teammates performance and annual impact reviews.
  • Analogy: captain of a smaller crew; takes people on day trips.

Accountable for performance and results of a medium sized team or multiple small teams.

  • Years of experience: Typically 2+
  • Has IC5 equivalent technical knowledge.
  • Possesses a strong technical understanding of their team’s systems and a high-level understanding of our technical systems.
  • Provides technical guidance to their teams and other teams.
  • Ensures work is done to a high technical standard and helps define those standards.
  • Still writes code (per the Sourcegraph expectation that everyone writes code) but not necessarily on the critical path for projects.
  • Establishes high standards for development and architecture.
  • Develops team capabilities through training and strategic hiring goals.
  • Proactively cultivates leadership skills in team members.
  • Defines team goals and strategies that align with broader organizational goals.
  • Translates those goals and strategies into effective roadmaps for the team.
  • Operates a single complex area or a couple of medium sized areas of our services, with one or two teams with several individual contributors who report to you.
  • Continually improve and expand the operational footprint of your area as complexity/scope increases.
  • Effective at driving debate and goal setting with the manager team.
  • Has IC5 equivalent teamwork expectations.
  • Set the bar for operational, people, and roadmap aspects of your area and advise/coach other managers effectively on the process.
  • Coordinates priorities and commitments between teams to ensure the successful delivery of goals.
  • Develops strong technical leads to oversee the day-to-day of their teams.
  • Provides technical expertise internally and externally, informing what can be achieved.
  • Regularly shares knowledge to influence and up-level large and/or senior audiences.
  • Persuades and challenges clients and internal stakeholders, using valid expertise and respectful communication.
  • Responsive to a variety of unexpected requests for advice or consultation; gracefully handles more frequent context-switching.
  • Enables those around them to be successful.
  • Proactively provides feedback and flags concerns that are going on within the org.
  • Leads a medium-to-large sized team.
  • Responsible for managing teammates performance and annual impact reviews.
  • Individuals are more seasoned and have broader influence than M3.
  • Analogy: captain of a ship; takes mid-sized vessels on longer voyages through bumpy water (strong tactical decision-maker, handles unforeseen issues).

Accountable for the performance, results and strategic direction of a department.

  • Years of experience: Typically 4+
  • Technical expectations in line with M4.
  • Stays up-to-date on industry trends and their impact on the business.
  • Generally manages managers.
  • Define goals and strategies for achieving those goals in a thoughtful and persuasive way.
  • Translates goals and strategies into effective roadmaps that coordinate efforts across teams, including those outside of their direct management.
  • Analyzes and communicates engineering and business tradeoffs.
  • Occasionally represents the company externally.
  • Accountable for the performance and results of a large organization, such as a regional function, a large product line, large sales areas or a global job family.
  • Provides leadership and mentoring to expert level individual contributors.
  • Hire and develop your teammates effectively.
  • Primarily focuses on cross-functional and cross-team collaboration.
  • Accountable for team building within teams, but effectively delegates most of it to managers or TLs.
  • Coaches managers and technical leads in team-building skills.
  • Adapts organizational structures to make teams most effective at meeting goals
  • Proactively minimizes organizational friction.
  • Typically reports to M6 or VP-level. Usually will be a “manager of other managers.
  • Sets priorities and the strategic direction of the department.
  • Role may have complexity such as multi-site/ country/ regions, or large team size.
  • Responsible for managing teammates performance and annual impact reviews.
  • Sizable financial responsibility relative to other roles within the function.
  • Requires very little direction.
  • Analogy: captain of a large ship; takes large vessels on long voyages through treacherous waters (strategic battle-tested leader, directs operational units).

Accountable for the performance and results of a large organization, such as a regional function, a large product line, large sales areas or a global job family.

  • Years of experience: Typically 6+
  • Technical expectations in line with M4.
  • Embraces and drives change; stays up-to-date on industry trends and their impact on the business.
  • Understands the current landscape of our business; plans with business needs in mind.
  • Establishes processes and structures that promote effective execution and accountability.
  • Develops a high-level technical vision aligned with business needs and secures buy-in.
  • Represents the company externally on a regular basis.
  • Defines growth and hiring goals.
  • Own a significant business area - entire service or multiple services.
  • Set the goals for and own the operational responsibility for the entire business area.
  • Focus is on driving outcomes with significant impact through others.
  • Develop leaders in your area and you raise the bar on quality across the company.
  • Drive significant org changes across the company to improve throughput, retention and customer outcomes.
  • Collaborates with peers across the company to align goals across departments and disciplines.
  • Uses their visibility to set a strong example of our culture and values.
  • Likely reports to head of a major org (SVP or VP level).Often has very large team relative to the function.
  • Usually has global responsibility.
  • Likely has major financial oversight or influence on operational expenses.
  • Role is very strategic in nature with long-term impact.
  • Analogy: oversees several boat captains; capable of directing a fleet of large ships safely through a tropical storm (inspires action, coordinates simultaneous initiatives). Directs efforts of both air and ground search parties (Inspires action, coordinates simultaneous initiatives).