How does career development work for engineers at accuRx?
TLDR: A public progression framework, public salary bandings and dedicated pastorally focused weekly 121s with your line manager provide the foundation for how career development works for engineers at accuRx.
Hi, I’m Calum, one of the Engineering Managers at accuRx. Our job is to support engineers to thrive and scale the engineering community.
I’m going to tell you about how career development works for engineers at accuRx. I would love to hear from you if you have any questions, I’ll keep an eye out for comments.
🌄 Your career journey
We believe career development is a personal journey. An expedition into unknown territory.
We believe that’s a journey you’re uniquely qualified to lead, so we won’t tell you what to do, but if you visit accuRx land, we will share the journey with you and provide support along the way.
What can you count on on this expedition?
🗺️ A map
You need to know where you can travel to, how to get there and what it would be like when you arrive.
Here is your first map. We have defined roles and progression opportunities between the roles.
Most engineers at accuRx have a technical focus, so the core path is technical.
Engineering management is a sideways move.
You don’t need to manage to progress. We have parallel engineering and engineering management paths. Each path allows you to increase your impact and influence.
If you’re interested in line management opportunities, you don’t need to commit to the engineering management path. You can line manage up to two other engineers on the engineering path. For example, we’ve partnered with Ada, the National College of Digital Skills, in Tottenham, to set up an apprentice scheme. Max, one of our Product Engineers, is a line manager for Augustine, an Apprentice Product Engineer. This has given Max the opportunity to explore line management and has made the apprenticeship scheme a great success!
More experienced engineers wear different hats depending on business needs and your interests.
These maps tell you where you can travel to and how you can travel between different roles.
How do you get there in detail and what would it be like when you arrive?
We have a public progression framework for every product engineering role (we’re working on this for DevOps engineering and Engineering Management too!).
The framework tells you what’s expected for each role. For example, a Senior Product Engineer is expected to continuously provide useful feedback to others. There is a card in the framework for that expectation with examples of doing and not doing it.
We have explicit company values. The framework is organised around those values and answers that question what does it mean for an engineer at accuRx to embody them, with the additional performance area of mastery.
The framework helps you know how to travel between different roles, which is to demonstrate the expectations in the framework, and also what it would be like where you get there.
You can read more about how it works in the README.
Our public salary bandings helps you know how pay is decided and how it relates to your career progression.
We use the same progression framework and pay bandings in pay decisions for hiring and in pay review.
🧭 A GPS
On a journey you also need to know where you are right now.
We have a strong formal and informal feedback culture at accuRx, continuous improvement is one of our five values!, so you receive feedback in many ways.
As well as knowing what you’re doing great at and identifying opportunities to improve, you also receive regular feedback specifically on how you are performing against the progression framework. This includes at what role you’re performing overall and at what level you’re performing in each to the six performance areas.
This gives you the information you need to confidently know where you are at the moment so you can plan.
🧙♀️ A guide
A map and a GPS is all very well but in unfamiliar territory you want to know there is someone looking out for you in your journey.
A core responsibility of every engineer’s line manager is to support their career development.
Every new engineer has a plan for their first 90 days, describing what success looks like in their role, has weekly 121s with their line manager where they get guidance and support in their career development and has six monthly performance reviews where they receive formal feedback against the progression framework and that’s when pay and title decisions are made too.
🔧 How it works
So you’ve had enough of this tenuous explorer analogy, quite understandable! How does this actually work in practice?
As a candidate applying for an engineering role…
Each part of the interview process is designed to learn about an aspect of the progression framework.
Here’s a screenshot from our internal hiring docs illustrating how we’re thinking about this.
Our engineering interviewing process doc describes this in more detail.
As a new starter…
Every new starter has a 90 day plan. Your line manager initially creates this and you work on this together. This describes role responsibilities, what success looks like, what support you might need and key tasks for your first 30 days. The progression framework provides the foundation for this.
You have a weekly 121 with your line manager where you have the opportunity to discuss career development possibilities, challenges and get feedback. No matter how busy the week or what’s on, we always commit to this.
Engineers can make their own personal copy of the framework and make notes against it.
Your line manager will support you in seeking out opportunities you need, for example that might be finding a team where you get more exposure to ambiguous problems in order to demonstrate you can responsibly own ambiguous problems if you were an engineer working towards a Senior Product Engineer role.
Every six months…
We have a six monthly performance review cycle. You and your line manager review your performance against the progression framework. You can demonstrate your performance in many ways including things you’ve built and feedback you’ve received. The engineering community line managers run calibration sessions so that we are being as unbiased and fair in the performance reviews as possible. Pay decisions are made based on our public salary bandings and performance against the expectations of each role.
You can read how pay and performance reviews work in more detail in our employee handbook.
📅 What’s next
We’re reviewing our job titles to align with industry standards.
We’re extending the framework for DevOps Engineers and Engineering Managers.
Let me know what you’d like to hear more about in the comments 🕵️.