Welcome to Glossier's Engineering Ladder, where you’ll find job descriptions and levels for everyone on the engineering team. As Glossier grows, we wanted to bring some structure and clarity to our promotion process. We were inspired by Foursquare, Kickstarter, and Rent the Runway’s public engineering ladders, and are happy to share our work with the broader tech community in the hopes that it may be useful to others.
How to use this ladder
In reading through the Ladder, you’ll notice that our role definitions are intentionally lightweight - providing room for interpretation. For example, we don't have separate roles to distinguish between frontend, backend, or devops roles, but rather have laid out a set of definitions that describe what we expect from you at each stage. While you may be motivated to move up within Glossier’s Engineering Team (that’s great!), keep in mind that this isn’t a race. It takes time, hard work, and commitment to move along your track, and you should expect to spend the time it takes, years in some cases, at each level.
How we measure progress
To make ladder progress more measurable, we include a list of example skills and behaviors with each job description. The skills and behaviors should be referenced during 1:1s with your manager. Which ones are you doing well with? Where could you use some help and improvement? You can expect your manager to keep track of how you perform in your role over time and to invest a meaningful amount of time ensuring you're consistently challenged, support, and moving forward.
At Glossier, we make a clear distinction between Management (People) and Architect (Technical) paths. It’s a point you will likely reach in your career, if you haven’t already, and a common distinction within software engineering teams. There is no one path through this framework. It is up to you and your manager to navigate, finding good ways to align your interests with Glossier’s needs. Through this process, you will always learn and grow, thereby increasing your impact on the company.
The Chartbeat Engineering team sums up the question nicely: “Do I want to build bigger and better systems, or do I want to manage bigger and better teams?” One path is not superior to another, they both require leadership. In this sense, we don’t see management as a promotion, but a career change. Here is how they break down:
Like a typical Architect track, these are primarily technical roles that don't generally involve people leadership. As you move up they include increasing levels of technical leadership and responsibility. As a thought leader, you’re looking longterm and getting the team to share your vision. Most of the Engineering team will fit into these roles.
Like a typical Management track, these roles represent the people leadership and management path within the Engineering team. While of course we still expect technical proficiency from everyone in these roles, you are more focused on hiring, team organization, and helping people up the ladder than those in a strictly Technical path.
The Engineering Ladder
|4||Staff Engineer||Engineering Manager|
|5||Principal Engineer||Director of Engineering|
|6||--||VP of Engineering|