Good question, Michael. What I’m saying is that promotions shouldn’t be given on the basis of doing well in the context of current job role expectations. For example, suppose a level-3 engineer is assigned a gnarly data refactor and gets it over the finish line; that’s great, but it may not be sufficient reason to believe they’d be successful driving a platform-wide re-architecture that would require project planning and soft-influence skills, which is what a level-4 role may entail. On the other hand, if a level-3 engineer is already wrangling several teams and getting buy-in on cross-cutting initiatives, that may be a sign that they’d thrive with the additional scope of responsibilities that a promotion would entail.

Consulting CTO open to projects. I’m a serial entrepreneur, software engineer, and leader at early- and mid-stage companies.

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