14 Comments
Aug 12, 2023Liked by Ryan Peterman

This is a great guide. Another small thing I would mention is that ideally your work fits into an easy to understand narrative, like “I helped reduce latency, resulting in cost savings for the org + higher retention for users” or “I increased scalability through automation of manual processes and automated monitoring/alerting of our data pipelines”

Expand full comment
author

Agreed. The better your work ties into a narrative the easier it is for people to understand the work during performance reviews. That's why its often better to have one large workstream rather than a bunch of smaller, unrelated wins

Expand full comment
Aug 11, 2023Liked by Ryan Peterman

Thank you so much for a detailed guide, Ryan. This is super insightful!

Expand full comment
author

Glad it was helpful Aditya!

Expand full comment
Aug 19, 2023Liked by Ryan Peterman

Hey Ryan, when you say to “take on L(X) scope”, you mean that in FAANGs, different engineers may have the opportunity to switch projects/teams from time to time?

E.g. you join a team that takes care of system A and it ends up not being that impactful, then you switch to a team that has more impactful opportunities?

Expand full comment
author

When I say "take on L(X) scope" I mean take on projects that are big enough. Take a look at the section called "Project Scope" in this L5 article to see the criteria (https://www.developing.dev/p/faang-career-ladder-mid-level-l4)

Let me know if that doesn't answer your question!

Expand full comment
Aug 20, 2023Liked by Ryan Peterman

Thanks for answering! That kind of answers, my question was more in the line of: How accessible it is for software engineers to have the opportunities to take on those projects?

If you are an L4 let’s say, how often do you have the opportunity to choose? Do you just tell your manager “Hey I want to change to a new project” ?

Expand full comment
author

If I was an L4 looking to take on an L5 project, I'd chat with my manager explicitly about that. That begins the discussion on how you can position yourself to take on L5 scope.

Your manager probably has an idea of some work that is big enough or could grow into L5 scope. It might be as simple as them suggesting you take on a larger workstream after you finish projects you already have in flight.

You could also chat with your tech lead or other Senior+ engineers to think of bigger projects. Even if you source these projects from outside your manager, I'd still run it by your manager to confirm it is big enough for growth to L5.

Expand full comment

Great breakdown of what's required to get promoted to L5.

Having been in many promo committees, I'd like to add a small nuance to the "Uplift Your Teammates" section. Here any type of behavior that is helping others or providing guidance is very valued, not just within the context of mentorship relationships. So for folks reading, don't let not having a mentee hold you back from helping others.

Additionally, many companies also value citizenship, which is also a nice bonus to promo packets. Examples: interviewing, participation in ERGs or events, taking initiatives to solve a problem for more than just yourself etc.

Hope this helps!

Expand full comment
author

Agreed 100%. Uplifting others doesn't need to be limited to 1 on 1 mentorship. Thank you for sharing this extra context

Expand full comment
Aug 12, 2023Liked by Ryan Peterman

Hi Ryan, thank you so much for the guidance. Can you please elaborate more on what you do mean by engineering craft?

Expand full comment
author

Glad you liked it! Engineering craft is when engineers improve the codebase, contribute to production excellence, and own the health of what they build.

I list a bunch of examples in the Engineering Craft section of this L3 -> L4 expectations post - https://www.developing.dev/p/faang-career-ladder-junior-l3-vs

Let me know if you have any follow up questions

Expand full comment
Aug 11, 2023Liked by Ryan Peterman

Love this, especially the conciseness! At Google and Amazon, L4/ SDE2 is considered terminal now.

Expand full comment
author

Interesting, I didn't realize they had changed it. I will update the guide to reflect that now. Thank you for letting me know :)

Expand full comment