Career Ladder

Here are software engineer levels at Better together with expectations of what you need to do in order to operate at those levels.
Illustration by Yaxin Bai

Overview

The ladder is broken down into three different parts:

  1. Technical excellence: we value people with a strong technical core, and we won't compromise with this when we promote people!

  2. Initiative: a big part of operating at a higher level is not just doing what you're told, but to identify new value for the team/department/company.

  3. Influence: the best way to be a 10x engineer is to make 10 other engineers 2x more productive.

How are promotions between levels done going forward? Generally, the intent is for your manager to make an assessment and see what level you've been consistently performing at for the last six months. If it's determined that salary wise or title wise you're at one place, but you're performing according to a higher level, then your comp/title will change to reflect the new level that you've been showing that you're on.

What does it mean to consistently perform at a certain level? It means hitting essentially all points on that level and all levels below. This means that someone on a lower level might hit some points at a higher level. But it's not enough to hit some of those points in order to get a promotion: you need to make sure to hit almost all of them. There will be some managerial discretion here and of course this system isn't meant to trump common sense in terms of who is crushing it.

There's a lot of stuff in this doc, but the most important thing is that delivering business value will be what’s ultimately rewarded at Better. Since it’s very hard to estimate business value directly, we rely on a number of “proxies” for it, which are the things that are articulated in the career ladder. Common sense around who delivered most value will always trump anything on the career ladder.

The ladder

Click on the titles in the ladder to learn more

Associate Software EngineerL3

  • Technical excellence
    • Is able to work on tasks independently for a few weeks or up to a month

    • Works effectively with other engineers to build out a working feature

    • Is able to quickly unblock themselves to understand the task assigned to them

    • CS fundamentals & adheres to engineering best practices

  • Initiative
    • Field public questions to help triage issues

    • Strives to ensure own code is high quality by soliciting review/feedback, resolving comments and ensuring appropriate unit test coverage

    • Identifies potential improvements in personal efficiency

  • Influence
    • Builds stable relationships with other coworkers. Understands basic use case of team's product (or domain area)

    • Participates in Jira conversations, standups, or other team meetings

Software EngineerL4

  • Technical excellence
    • Shows a grasp of the basic style guides and design patterns

    • Works autonomously on projects up to a week or two in scope with minor supervision

    • Is able to quickly unblock themselves and complete groups of tasks assign to them

    • Writes code that's reasonably readable and easy for other people to follow. Consistently exhibits good engineering practices

    • Gives clear updates on how a project is going and when to expect it to be finished

    • Debugs basic things in production using developer console and similar basic tooling

    • Understands team projects well

    • Starts to identify how features relate to security threats

  • Initiative
    • Activly participant in on-call rotations, helps triage issues, starts to tackle and debug technical incidents

    • Participates in code-reviews, actively commenting on PRs

    • Identifies points of friction within engineering processes

  • Influence
    • Partners with product on understanding concrete product requirements and translating them to working features and/or software. Understands part of team's domain

    • Constructive pull request reviews, occasionally points out issues to their team members

    • Participates in Jira conversations, standups, or other team meetings

Software EngineerL5

  • Technical excellence
    • Shows a good understanding of the tradeoff between perfect and done

    • Works on projects autonomously for a few weeks with little supervision

    • Breaks their work into smaller deliverables and ships valuable changes incrementally in small chunks, released often

    • Code follows general best practices for idioms. The system design matches industry standard patterns

    • Generally unambiguous communication that's to the point

    • Debugs complex things by cross checking and systematically ruling out cases by looking at logs, metrics, and other things in creative ways

    • Understands team business and product domain well, is familiar with adjacent teams' business and product domain

    • Solid understanding of the common security threats and recommended solutions for those problems

  • Initiative
    • Handles most oncall issues independently

    • Considering how standards evolve, making suggestions for improving code quality more broadly within the team, mentoring more junior engineers

    • Propose solutions/improvements to existing processes

  • Influence

    • Brings observations to management and leadership of potential issues

    • Regarded by the PM as someone who reliably ships things and can be trusted to make decisions

    • Helping others with code-reviews, reviewing erds, and mentoring junior engineers

    • Create content that contributes to Better's body of work and presence within the tech world

    • Unblocking team progress through strategically executing on their own work

    • Start participating in recruiting (This includes helping out with karat interview review, to intern/entry level interview, to doing sell calls, college recruiting trips...)

Senior Software EngineerL6

  • Technical excellence
    • Trusted to set aside time here and there for whatever technical improvements they believe in

    • Leads a larger initiative for maybe a month or two ie: factor out a piece of code into a separate service

    • Breaks their work into smaller deliverables, considers how tasks can be effectively distributed within the team

    • Strong opinions and knowledge about the current technology landscape, argues for/against various architectural decisions impacting projects of various sizes

    • Generally unambiguous communication that's to the point, assumes good intentions

    • Takes ownership of postmortem follow up items, proactively ensures that a high SEV issue doesn't repeat

    • Understands team business and product domain well, is building mastery in another domain, for example, infrastructure (AWS, Kubernetes, Plutus), platform (Tinman, RBAC, Authentication), and business (Mortgage, Real Estate, etc.)

    • Generally up to date on the current technology landscape and trends, starts conversations around areas we could take advantage of

    • Solid understanding of security threats and uses this knowledge to proactively point out security issues in pull requests or similar

  • Initiative
    • Frequent contributor to and jumps onto preventing/mitigating outages often! Not a passive bystander

    • Driving conversations about technical decisions, leading change to one or more standards within a team, creating influence through PR reviews

    • Shows initiative and independently execute process improvements for the Pod

  • Influence
    • Articulates problem statements, sizes opportunities, and brings substantive ideas to leadership on how to improve the organization/product direction

    • Trusted to interact with & represent the team with other stakeholders/PMs to drive decisions

    • Responsible for coordinating technical projects that involve other Pods or Subject Matter Experts

    • Create content that requires coordination with other stakeholders or is recognized within the tech world

    • Unblocking other members on the same team to be more effective

    • Participates in recruiting – helps out with interviewing. Always gets feedback into the system quickly

Path to Engineering Manager

Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager

  • Senior Software Engineers L6 and higher are eligible to start progression into the management track

  • Either indicated interest or given direction by a manager - director/senior manager creates a 6 month plan and identifies areas to focus on

  • As part of the mentoring influence, should be assigned 1 to 2 L3-L5 engineers to mentor and as direct reports - ideally new team members

  • During the 6 months course, the engineer should become an effective tech lead in the current pod, assisting PMs with technical product management

  • Over the course of the 6 months, decisions between the engineer and director/senior manager will be made whether to continue on the Engineering Track or transition to Manager Track, together with title change

  • Candidates that were previously Engineering Managers/Tech Leads with 1-5 direct reports and with less than 4 years of management experience, should follow this track as well: hired as L6 Senior Software Engineers and provided a plan to move into the management track over their first 6 months

  • As Engineering Manager, Senior Software Engineers moving into this track and getting assigned L7 level, there might be a compensation change required to fit into the right bracket. It is important to try to move into the Management track while in L6/L7 to avoid this

Senior Software EngineerL7

  • Technical excellence
    • Identify and prioritizes technical improvements backed by data, industry trends, experience, while considering business constraints, to deliver on important initiatives

    • Leads a large and complex initiative for multiple months ie: introducing a new piece of technology

    • Influences the sequencing series of projects/deliverables to provide incremental values

    • Strong opinions and knowledge about the current technology landscape, influences adjacent teams' designs to promote better holistic system design decisions

    • Clear, crisp communication that's easy for other people (including PMs/Business) to follow, can hold peers accountable without placing blame

    • Addresses reliability issues systematically by measuring standard reliability KPIs and designing processes for engineers to respond to automated alerting while keeping noise low

    • Is an expert in their team's business and product domain, has mastery of several other domains (infra, platform, business)

    • Up-to-date on technology trends, can weed through the noise to find signal, and creates leverage through relevant recommendations

    • Solid understanding of security threats and uses this knowledge in the planning phase to mitigate future threats

  • Initiative
    • Has mastery of SRE domain, often defining SLOs and SLIs, mentors others on their Pod

    • Guiding technical conversation towards best technical solution, reducing information asymmetry through spirited debate and open/honest conversations; facilitates a culture of psychological safety

    • Identifies systemic engineering challenges from onboarding and developer experience, to system hotspots and actively working to improving those areas

  • Influence

    • Identify and prioritizes technical improvements backed by data, industry trends, experience to convince leadership on the best solution for problems

    • Partners with pod leaders

    • Help the pod start thinking about strategic challenges and how they align with the team priorities and business goals.

    • Create content that has significant visibility, such as an external publication or a conference talk

    • Unblocking other teams on the related projects to be more effective

    • Helping improving the questions and signals we get from Interviews to ensure that we have the highest technical bar at Better

Path to Engineering Manager

Hired as Engineering Manager

  • In order to be considered being hired into Engineering Management role directly, candidate must have been an engineering manager for more than 4 years and have management at least 5 engineers for a minimum of 2 years - Engineering Managers with less experience will start under the accelerated “Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager” track described above and will work with hiring manager during the hiring process to define a plan

  • Expectation is to manage a 50% smaller team than in the previous position, enlarging the team by hiring in the first 12 months

  • Assigned 2-3 direct reports immediately upon joining

  • Should be showing all technical excellence, initiative and influence required for L7 Senior Software Engineers

  • Senior Engineering Managers / Director in the reporting line will create a plan and mentoring

  • Expected to code and be fully hands on

Staff Software EngineerL8

  • Technical excellence (Generalist)
    • Consistent track record of great technical judgement to the point where they have full autonomy to spend their time on whatever they think is most important for the business

    • Actively contributing to the core feature, platform, infrastructure, that's shared across the tech team (backend eg. AWS, RBAC, EventBus, CI) (frontend eg: apollo, graphql, design systems)

    • Strong opinions and knowledge about the current technology landscape, can argue for/against modern technologies and their place at this company

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Great at debugging complex outages and acts as an incident commander, has the foresight to bake in solutions that will prevent issues from happening ever again in the future; focuses on robustness, observability, and measurability in the context of key SRE KPIs (MTTR, MTBF, etc.)

    • Seen as an authority on major parts of the codebase and various technologies

    • Able to do trade-off analysis to understand the scaling, reliability & security concerns of introducing the other technology it Better to solve a large class of problem

    • Advanced understanding of security threats, proactively identifies larger classes of attack vectors, and sets aside time to protect the company

  • Technical excellence (Specialist)
    • Consistent track record of great technical judgement to the point where they have full autonomy to spend their time on whatever they think is most important for the business

    • Synthesizes inexact problem statements into a technology strategy, especially those pertaining to a highly specialized area

    • Deep Technical Knowledge in a particular technology and/or business area

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Great at debugging complex outages and acts as an incident commander, has the foresight to bake in solutions that will prevent issues from happening ever again in the future; focuses on robustness, observability, and measurability in the context of key SRE KPIs (MTTR, MTBF, etc.)

    • Specialist often have a very particular skill set that makes them have very detailed knowledge of Better (Business Context, Platform Context, Infrastraucture Context)

    • Up-to-date on the trending changes on group of related technical industries

    • Advanced understanding of one specific industry technology

  • Initiative (Generalist)
    • Promotes best practices to prevent outages from happening, reduces likelihood of incident recurrence

    • Set and promotes best practices

    • Improving the developer experience and expertise through documentation, mentoring, teaching, and consensus building

  • Initiative (Specialist)
    • Promotes best practices to prevent outages from happening, reduces likelihood of incident recurrence

    • Set and promotes best practices

    • Develops tools, libraries, services, or processes that reduce engineering cost of delivery across common problem areas

  • Influence (Generalist)

    • Collaborates with peers to influence the Group's technical decision making in the context of business objectives

    • Solid understanding of the product area and strategy covering the team/multiple pods. Trusted as the solution provider for complex business problems across teams. Working with eng, product and business folks provide the sound tech decision making, trade off plans, to solve for the business challenge

    • Not just aware of the business priorities, but actively promotes knowledge to other people about what's important for the business and how the work fits into that bigger picture

    • Create content that achieves significant external recognition, such as a paper that is cited or a conference presentation that is often mentioned

    • Identifies opportunities, defines processes, builds technology to support self-service platforms

    • Help evaluate and sell very senior candidates by digging deep technically to extract the right signal so the right decision can be made

  • Influence (Specialist)

    • Trusted to have excellent technical judgement to the point where they have full autonomy to spend their time on whatever they think is most important for the business (scoped to the Group)

    • Solid understanding of the product area and strategy covering the team/multiple pods. Trusted as the solution provider for complex business problems across teams. Working with eng, product and business folks provide the sound tech decision making, trade off plans, to solve for the business challenge

    • Sets technical north star for specific pieces of infrastructure, and gets buy-in from all pods with in a group. Coordinates implementation efforts as a program across different pods

    • Create content that achieves significant external recognition, such as a paper that is cited or a conference presentation that is often mentioned

    • Identifies opportunities, defines processes, builds technology to support self-service platforms

    • Help evaluate and sell very senior candidates by digging deep technically to extract the right signal so the right decision can be made

Path to Engineering Manager

Hired as Senior Engineering Manager

  • Should have managed teams of at least 15 engineers for a minimum of 5 years

  • Assigned 4-6 direct reports immediately upon joining

  • Expected to grow team by 2-3 times in the first 12 months and groom / hire at least two EMs

Senior Staff Software EngineerL9

  • Technical excellence (Generalist)
    • Trusted to have significant expertise and high judgement to set the vision and design the right long term solution for a large customer segment or stakeholder

    • Subject matter expert or authoritative representative for a particular technology or business area

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Mitigate complex risks

    • Understand problems that plague several teams and able to help groups build the optimal solution considering trade offs

    • Able to do trade-off analysis to understand the scaling, reliability & security concerns of introducing the other technology it Better to solve a large class of problem

    • Advanced understanding of security threats, proactively identifies larger classes of attack vectors, and sets aside time to protect ourselves

  • Technical excellence (Specialist)
    • Trusted to have significant expertise and high judgement to set the vision and design the right long term solution for a large customer segment or stakeholder

    • Subject matter expert or authoritative representative for a particular technology or business area

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Mitigate complex risks

    • Understand problems that plague several teams and able to help groups build the optimal solution considering trade offs

    • Up-to-date on the trending changes on many related technical industries

    • Advanced understanding of one specific industry technology

  • Initiative
    • Promotes best practices to prevent outages from happening, reduces likelihood of incident recurrence

    • Setting squad standards

    • Partnering with peers and leading engineers, to build a suite of services or technologies that significantly increase a Squad/Group's output

  • Influence (Generalist)

    • Collaborates with peers to influence the Squad's technical decision making in the context of business objectives

    • Solid understanding of the product area and strategy covering multiple team/squads end to end. Often viewed as the go to expert in the area. Involved in defining solutions, shaping strategy across the area, working with all stakeholders to propose and lead solutions, strategically and tactically. Can articulate the proposal and win buy-in naturally and independently from senior leadership

    • Solid understanding of the common security threats and recommended solutions for those problems

    • Create content that achieves significant external recognition, such as a paper that is cited or a conference presentation that is often mentioned

    • Identify and remove bureaucracy, provide performance review recommendation to respective management teams for related team members when working within a project capacity.

    • Help close on the outstanding candidates by digging into their professional and personal goals and how Better help them accomplish their goals

  • Influence (Specialist)

    • Trusted to have excellent technical judgement to the point where they have full autonomy to spend their time on whatever they think is most important for the business (scoped to the Squad)

    • Solid understanding of the product area and strategy covering multiple team/squads end to end. Often viewed as the go to expert in the area. Involved in defining solutions, shaping strategy across the area, working with all stakeholders to propose and lead solutions, strategically and tactically. Can articulate the proposal and win buy-in naturally and independently from senior leadership

    • Leads an R&D initiative around deep, complex/esoteric, specialized subject matter to make a business case

    • Create content that achieves significant external recognition, such as a paper that is cited or a conference presentation that is often mentioned

    • Identify and remove bureaucracy, provide performance review recommendation to respective management teams for related team members when working within a project capacity.

    • Help close on the outstanding candidates by digging into their professional and personal goals and how Better help them accomplish their goals

Principal Software EngineerL10

  • Technical excellence (Generalist)
    • Recognized expertise and judgement. Designs innovative, game-changing approaches. Ability to lead significant strategically, challenging or risky initiatives

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Mitigate end to end system risks

    • Understand problems that plague several teams and able to help groups build the optimal solution considering trade offs

    • Able to do trade-off analysis to understand the scaling, reliability & security concerns of introducing the other technology it Better to solve a large class of problem

    • Advanced understanding of security threats, proactively identifies larger classes of attack vectors, and sets aside time to protect ourselves

  • Technical excellence (Specialist)
    • Recognized expertise and judgement. Designs innovative, game-changing approaches. Ability to lead significant strategically, challenging or risky initiatives

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Mitigate end to end system risks

    • Understand problems that plague several teams and able to help groups build the optimal solution considering trade offs

    • Influencing the future of a specific technology

    • Advanced understanding of one specific industry technology

  • Initiative
    • Identifies and prevents global risk through best practices

    • Setting squad standards, work with tech team across the engineering organization to design consistent standards

    • Partnering with peers and leading engineers, to build a suite of services or technologies that significantly increases multiple Squad's output

  • Influence (Generalist)

    • Collaborates with Staff+ to influence the company's technical decision making in the context of business objectives

    • In Depth knowledge of the plastform and multiple product suites end to end. Working with senior leaders, contribute to company strategy in related to the relevant product suites. Identify focus area to close the gap between strategy and development. Leading highly specialized expert teams working in project capacity from time to time close the gap, oversee implementation from idealization to production. Smoothly context switch from project to project, from team to team. Can present larger initiatives to CEO & exec level people.

    • Evaluate next generation technology trends and introduce the applicable ones to improve the product and/or platform capability. Working with engineering leadership, creating standards and guidelines, enforcing best engineering practices

    • Examples: Speaking at Conferences

    • Identify and remove bureaucracy, provide performance review recommendation to respective leadership for related teams when working within a project capacity.

    • Help close on industry leaders and executives across the company

  • Influence (Specialist)

    • Collaborates with Staff+ to influence the company's technical decision making in the context of business objectives

    • In Depth knowledge of the plastform and multiple product suites end to end. Working with senior leaders, contribute to company strategy in related to the relevant product suites. Identify focus area to close the gap between strategy and development. Leading highly specialized expert teams working in project capacity from time to time close the gap, oversee implementation from idealization to production. Smoothly context switch from project to project, from team to team. Can present larger initiatives to CEO & exec level people.

    • Evaluate next generation technology trends and introduce the applicable ones to improve the product and/or platform capability. Working with engineering leadership, creating standards and guidelines, enforcing best engineering practices

    • Examples: Speaking at Conferences

    • Identify and remove bureaucracy, provide performance review recommendation to respective leadership for related teams when working within a project capacity.

    • Help close on industry leaders and executives across the company

Distinguished Software EngineerL11

  • Technical excellence (Generalist)
    • Recognized expertise and high judgement. Designs innovative, company-changing approaches that deliver value to an industry. Ability to lead our largest challenging, strategically important and risky initiatives.

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Mitigate company strategic risks

    • identifying problems that will plague the organization before they come to pass so we can avoid them altogether

    • Able to do trade-off analysis to understand the scaling, reliability & security concerns of introducing the other technology it Better to solve a large class of problem

    • Advanced understanding of security threats, proactively identifies larger classes of attack vectors, and sets aside time to protect ourselves

  • Technical excellence (Specialist)
    • Recognized expertise and high judgement. Designs innovative, company-changing approaches that deliver value to an industry. Ability to lead our largest challenging, strategically important and risky initiatives.

    • Strong understanding of how to structure communication that best suited for the audience - whether it's an engineer, product, executive, or a customer

    • Mitigate company strategic risks

    • identifying problems that will plague the organization before they come to pass so we can avoid them altogether

    • Renown as a leader driving significant change in a specific technology

    • Advanced understanding of one specific industry technology

  • Initiative
    • Identifies and prevents global risk through best practices

    • Setting squad standards, work with tech team across the engineering organization to design consistent standards

    • Partnering with peers and leading engineers, to build a suite of services or technologies that significantly increases multiple Squad's output

  • Influence (Generalist)

    • Collaborates with Staff+ to influence the company's technical decision making in the context of business objectives

    • In Depth knowledge of the plastform and multiple product suites end to end. Working with senior leaders, contribute to company strategy in related to the relevant product suites. Identify focus area to close the gap between strategy and development. Leading highly specialized expert teams working in project capacity from time to time close the gap, oversee implementation from idealization to production. Smoothly context switch from project to project, from team to team. Can present larger initiatives to CEO & exec level people.

    • Evaluate next generation technology trends and introduce the applicable ones to improve the product and/or platform capability. Working with engineering leadership, creating standards and guidelines, enforcing best engineering practices

    • Examples: Speaking at Conferences

    • Identify and remove bureaucracy, provide performance review recommendation to respective leadership for related teams when working within a project capacity.

    • Help close on industry leaders and executives across the company

  • Influence (Specialist)

    • Collaborates with Staff+ to influence the company's technical decision making in the context of business objectives

    • In Depth knowledge of the plastform and multiple product suites end to end. Working with senior leaders, contribute to company strategy in related to the relevant product suites. Identify focus area to close the gap between strategy and development. Leading highly specialized expert teams working in project capacity from time to time close the gap, oversee implementation from idealization to production. Smoothly context switch from project to project, from team to team. Can present larger initiatives to CEO & exec level people.

    • Evaluate next generation technology trends and introduce the applicable ones to improve the product and/or platform capability. Working with engineering leadership, creating standards and guidelines, enforcing best engineering practices

    • Examples: Speaking at Conferences

    • Identify and remove bureaucracy, provide performance review recommendation to respective leadership for related teams when working within a project capacity.

    • Help close on industry leaders and executives across the company

L12

At this level, there is no technical counterpart.

L3

At this level, there is no management counterpart.

L4

At this level, there is no management counterpart.

L5

At this level, there is no management counterpart.

L6

At this level, there is no management counterpart.

Engineering ManagerL7

  • Typical Experience

    • Internal promotions without prior engineering management experience require L6 Senior Software level as well a complete “Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager” cycle

    • External hires should have at least 2 years of experience managing engineers

  • Scope & Impact

    • Manages an independent team (pod) of 3-10 engineers

    • Ownership of a segment of over Better.com platform including multiple complex features, tools and/or infrastructure

    • Significant technical contributor, expected to spend ~50% of time as IC, decreasing towards 20-30% as the number of direct reports grows above 5 and falling to about 0% with 8-10 reports

  • Competencies

    Technical Excellence
    • Understands the systems and products owned by their pod, how customers interact with them, and how they fit into the larger business. Applies this understanding to identify and prioritize key net-new improvements, while ensuring the team continues to deliver on important initiatives

    • Communicates effectively with team members and stakeholders,. Balances expectations, priorities and individual accountability based on team/technical limitations and tradeoffs. Proactively communicates with stakeholders, senior manager, to set and re-set expectations when appropriate

    • Understands the team's business and product domain well, understands adjacent domains to their team and how to collaborate to get work accomplished, and partners with them to make sure the larger system is being considered in business and technical decisions

    • Up to date on the current technology landscape and relevant trends. Works with others in their technical area to grow their understanding of the team's domain and technology. Leverages this knowledge to drive better decision making

  • Prioritization & Execution
    • Identify the types of problems that can be delivered based on the team composition & come up with a plan on how to adjust expectations with stakeholders or grow the team with the right composition

    • Is directly responsible for the career development of their team members, continually challenging them to raise the bar. Addresses areas of underperformance. Acts as a hiring manager, taking direct part in the hiring process and helping to ensure that they bring a wide variety of experience into their team

    • Partners with product and business leaders to create strategies that align their pods with the short and long term technical and business needs of the company

    • Is keenly focused on creating ROI in the short and mid terms. Appropriately pivots based on new learnings and changes in context

  • Coaching & Development
    • Proactively and constructively provides feedback to immediate peers & their teams. Seeks guidance and / or support from manager as appropriate

    • Drives regular 1-1s with direct reports. Provides active coaching and feedback to support day-to-day execution and growth

    • Proactively flags tactical risks to projects to manager, along with plan(s) to resolve. Effectively surfaces concerns & questions from the team

    • Supports effective performance management culture within team and direct reports

  • Leadership & Collaboration
    • Partners with product and business on near-term vision and month-to-month planning for team

    • Uses data-driven arguments and business cases to craft project plans and pod-level roadmaps with product partners

    • Has deep awareness and expertise of at least one workstream

Since EM is L7, being promoted from L6 SSE, is an actual promotion with a new level

Senior Engineering ManagerL8

  • Typical Experience

    • At least 2 years of Engineering Manager experience at Better or at least 4 years as Senior Engineering Manager outside of Better managing a team of 20+ people and 3+ engineering managers if joining at Senior Engineering Manager level

    • Promoted after showing constant and reliable performance as Engineering Manager over a course of at least 2 years delivering several complex projects, and building and mentoring solid range of direct reports

  • Scope & Impact

    • Directly manages individual contributors and/or engineering managers across multiple pods (10+ engineers)

    • Ownership of multiple complex and related segments of Better.com’s platform

    • Manages up to three pods inside of the same squad with each pod consisting of an Engineering Manager with 3-8 direct reports each and up to 3 L8/L9 Senior Software Engineers reporting to Senior Engineering Manager directly

    • Technical contributions generally insignificant, but capable of contributing if necessary

  • Competencies

    Technical Excellence
    • Understands all of the systems and products owned by their broader team, how customers interact with them, and how they fit into the larger business. Has a deep understanding for how they will evolve over time and applies this to their regular decision making

    • Communicates effectively across teams and leaders, adjusting their approach to fit their audience. Proactively communicates with stakeholders to set and re-set expectations when appropriate

    • Understands the team's business and product domain well, with a clear understanding with related domains/engineering areas, and how their work interconnects. Partners with other teams to properly understand and consider the larger system before making business and technical decisions

    • Actively researches and understands current relevant engineering trends and selectively identifies the ones could be beneficial to their teams. Enables their to appropriately leverage new external knowledge

  • Prioritization & Execution
    • Identifies how to break down problem spaces across pods with clear ownership and fair and appropriate allocation of engineering resources. Plans for and executes on the plan to grow the team across the pods with the right composition

    • Continually raises the bar for team members and takes advantage of opportunities for growth and development through delegation or stretch assignments. Addresses areas of underperformance. As a hiring manager, proactively recruits high potential candidates

    • Partners with product leadership and engineering leadership to create pod-level roadmaps. Keeps open communication to ensure that missions and strategies are feasible from a technical and resource constraint standpoint

    • Makes prudent trade-offs between long vs short term ROI and level of effort required

  • Coaching & Development
    • Effectively provides behavorial and technical feedback to peers & their teams. Tends to do this in more autonomous and proactive fashion than manager level

    • Is able to support longer term career development of direct reports and skip levels. Ensures workstream assignments and long term development plans align with goals and abilities of team members

    • Proactively flags tactical and strategic risks to projects to manager, along with plan(s) to resolve. Effectively surfaces concerns & questions from the team. Provides actionable insight into cross-team dynamics

    • Supports strong performance management culture within broader function via feedback and participation in calibration sessions

  • Leadership & Collaboration
    • Partners with product, business, and function's engineering leadership re: longer term technical and organization plans for team

    • Effectively represents technical perspective in cross-function discussions

    • Effectively represents technical perspective in cross-function discussions; is meaningfully familiar with related workstreams

Since EM is L7, being promoted from L6 SSE, is an actual promotion with a new level

Director, EngineeringL9

  • Typical Experience

    • At least 2 years as a Senior Engineering Manager (L8) at Better.com or 4 years as Director of Engineering elsewhere, if hired directly into the role or combined with Better.com experience

    • When promoted to Director of Engineering, a Senior Engineering Manager should have mentored and trained several Senior Software Engineers to become Engineering Managers

    • Promoted to Director role after showing constant and reliable performance as a Senior Engineering Manager for several consecutive cycles

  • Scope & Impact

    • Manager of managers, no direct IC reports except L8/L9 Principal Software Engineers

    • Leads multiple engineering teams, totaling 30-50 engineers, and Engineering Managers, Senior Engineering Managers and, optionally, other Directors of Engineering

    • Manages teams/pods of one or multiple squads

    • Negotiates employee salaries, team budgets etc

  • Competencies

    Technical Excellence
    • Anticipates the impact of architectural changes across technical areas and makes intelligent engineering tradeoffs. Understands how the systems and products within their domain affect the product as a whole and applies this to their regular decision making

    • Communicates clearly and effectively across teams and departments, adjusting their approach to fit the levels and communication styles of their audience

    • Understands the business processes and market opportunities of the area of Better their org supports, and partners with product and business stakeholders to design technical solutions

    • Ensures a proper balance between 'new' and 'useful', as well as 'build' vs. 'buy'. Is accountable to ensure that their teams to keep their skills current as appropriate

  • Prioritization & Execution
    • Manage scope and resources for their full organization to ensure pods can execute and deliver business value as autonomously as possible. Plans ahead to ensure the organizational design will scale and evolve as needed over time

    • Positively influences the engineering culture within their and adjacent teams, and ensures engineering growth and learning opportunities are ever-present. Supports high standards in hiring within their and adjacent organizations

    • Is responsible for balancing long and short term deliverables alongside product and business partners. Owns building mission and strategy level roadmaps. Is responsible for making sure this work stays on track, or adjusting/pivoting as necessary

    • Effectively manages long term portfolio of projects to create value for Better

  • Coaching & Development
    • Works closely with peers who lead cross-functional organizations to build trusting partnerships that lead to improved outcomes for Better

    • Effectively coaches and develops team members into high performing managers and senior managers. Helps to drive highly effective calibration and review processes for team

    • Proactively partners with manager to identify and resolve long term strategic risks to immediate domain

    • Is an advocate for impact-based performance culture within function and in Better, more broadly. Drives high quality calibration and review sessions within team

  • Leadership & Collaboration
    • Is responsible for developing a North Star vision and reconciling progress towards the North Star with quarterly progress

    • Engages and helps to influence strategic cross-functional discussions, e.g. squad and multi-squad roadmap creation

    • Drives strategy for functional area and all related workstreams

Senior Director, EngineeringL10

  • Typical Experience

    • At least 2 years as a Senior Engineering Manager (L8) at Better.com or 4 years as Director of Engineering elsewhere, if hired directly into the role or combined with Better.com experience

    • When promoted to Director of Engineering, a Senior Engineering Manager should have mentored and trained several Senior Software Engineers to become Engineering Managers

    • Promoted to Director role after showing constant and reliable performance as a Senior Engineering Manager for several consecutive cycles

  • Scope & Impact

    • Manager of managers, no direct IC reports except L8/L9 Principal Software Engineers

    • Leads multiple engineering teams, totaling 30-50 engineers, and Engineering Managers, Senior Engineering Managers and, optionally, other Directors of Engineering

    • Manages teams/pods of one or multiple squads

    • Negotiates employee salaries, team budgets etc

  • Competencies

    Technical Excellence
    • Anticipates the impact of architectural changes across technical areas & actively influences these changes. Understands how the systems and products within their domain affect the product as a whole and applies this to their regular decision making

    • Communicates clearly and effectively across teams and departments, adjusting their approach to fit the levels and communication styles of their audience. Regularly engages with C-level

    • Understands the business processes and market opportunities of Better as a whole, and partners with product and business stakeholders to design technical solutions

    • Is responsible for ensuring that their organization has appropriate access to industry knowledge, whether through training, conferences, networking, and / or experienced external hiring

  • Prioritization & Execution
    • Identify & enact ideal organizational structure to maximize productivity and minimize overlapping initiatives

    • Positively influences the engineering cultureacross Engineering broadly, and ensures engineering growth and learning opportunities are ever-present. Broadly supports high standards in hiring within Engineering

    • Is responsible influencing broader product and business vision within area. Owns building mission and strategy level roadmaps with Product Leadership that has cross-functional buy-in. Is responsible for making sure this work stays on track, or adjusting/pivoting as necessary

    • Works cross-functionally to create net-new opportunities for innovation and value in a self-driven fashion

  • Coaching & Development
    • Establishes broader network with Bettter to build trusting partnerships that lead to improved outcomes for Better outside of immediate remit

    • Effectively coaches and develops team members into high performing directors

    • Proactively partners with manager to identify and resolve long term strategic risks to Better more broadly

    • Creates performance-based culture within functional area. Ensures level of execution continually increasing

  • Leadership & Collaboration
    • Constructively influences cross-functional partners to carve space for multi-quarter execution and value-add around the North Star vision

    • Leads major cross-functional projects & generates buy-in for them

    • Drives strategy for functional area and is able to apply multiple years of focused experience in support of this

VP of EngineeringL11

  • Typical Experience

    • At least 2 years of experience as Director of Engineering at Better.com or 4 years of experience as Director of Engineering or similar elsewhere if hired into the role (or combined with Better.com experience)

  • Scope & Impact

    • Leads multiple teams/squads totaling to 50+ engineers

    • Manages 7-8 Engineering and Senior Engineering Managers and Directors of Engineering

  • Competencies

    Technical Excellence
    • Understands the architecture of the systems in their domain, the needs of the product and business, and the steps required connect the two. Understands how those systems inteconnect to the larger organization and business, and makes data-driven strategic decisions accordingly

    • Communicates clearly and effectively across department. Successfully engages/partners with other teams/leaders across the organization and encourages direct reports to do the same

    • Proactively identifies problems & opportunities that can impact the organization before they come to pass so that their team is able to with high agility. They demonstrate and share a clear understanding of how they system as a whole is affected by ongoing business decisions

    • Owns team's holistic approach to industry trends, relevant tools/languages/technologies, and engineer training to ensure we are skillset growth and technical/business needs. Is responsible that Better is, where appropriate, engaging externally with the industry

  • Prioritization & Execution
    • Focusing on a larger time horizon. VP should identify & act on new and/or modified organizations to drive new lines of businesses for Better, as well as influence the areas for additional investments

    • Owns headcount-related risk and succession planning within their org. Forecasts and builds headcount and recruiting plans to ensure we are staffed with the right people and skills to execute on today's work and adapt to future challenges. Fosters a culture of learning and growth to attract, motivate, and keep top talent

    • Owns the larger vision of the products and services within their domain, and how those products interact with the current and future state of the rest of the roadmap. Responsible for direct reports building out the detailed short/mid-term roadmap while they focus on the larger vision and strategic direction of the product over the next few quarters to years

    • Ensures entire domain is creating meaningful ROI at the Better company level and is balancing short term delivery with long term innovation

  • Coaching & Development
    • Constructively influences cross-functional organizational design and/or strategy via feedback and building trust

    • Is responsible for maintaining high quality coaching & development across function and/or business unit. Supports it as key part of team culture

    • Provides peer-level feedback for manager as appropriate

    • Constructively supports improving performance bar across function and cross-functional partners

  • Leadership & Collaboration
    • Owns multi-year strategy for either a horizontal function or a verticalized engineering team

    • Identifies long term needs to support Better and creates momentum behind net-new and highly complex cross-functional projects

    • Influences company's direction using specialized knowledge & experience

SVP of EngineeringL12

  • Typical Experience

    • At least 5 years of experience managing an engineering team of 300+ engineers

      Proven ability to successfully take over a team of 150+ engineers and scale to 300+

  • Scope & Impact

    • Oversees an organization of 200+ engineers

    • Manages directly several Directors of Engineering and VP of Engineering