#10: The Career Frameworks


Welcome to the 10th issue of the Mektup. Here is what I think about this newsletter: sending a letter (Mektup means letter in Turkish) to you every two weeks and intending to hear back from you. I'm still excited to send every letter like it's day one. Meanwhile, I'm still considering different formats for the newsletter. So, if you have a wish, hit reply and send it over!

Now, onto the Mektup.

For the last half-year, I've been working on engineering career frameworks (clearly defined career ladders for software engineers) to describe what's expected from each engineering level. I've moderated many sessions in our team. Observing how everyone evaluates themselves and others brought many learnings.

Career frameworks give opportunities to individual contributors. Although it introduces a hierarchy in which many people are disturbed, the engineer gets a seat at the leadership (decision) table. Otherwise, many decisions are accumulated on managers who, most of the time, are not experts on the engineering side.

Dropbox recently published their career framework, and other companies talked about it before as well. One great thing in Dropbox's framework that many companies don't have is separating the roles in individual contributor tracks such as quality assurance, reliability engineering, security engineering, etc. This separation help all level of engineers to see how exactly they can grow in their careers.

Junior software engineers asked me many, many times about how they can grow their skills. If you are a junior or mid-level engineer looking for ways to develop your (technical & non-technical) skills, have a peek at these frameworks.

In more senior roles such as staff-level engineers, the hassle is a little bit different. Staff engineers usually struggle to define their impact on the company and its scope. While evaluating people with a career framework at work, I've often seen engineers being required to bring examples to the table. If you are operating on a senior+ level, that isn't easy because your work involves multi-teams and multi-year projects. Hence, it's hard to convince the manager with demonstrated skills in finished projects.

Looking at multiple frameworks from different companies gives hints and solutions to help you achieve the next level. So, my recommendation is to look at the frameworks I listed below, even if you have one defined at work. Focus on how you can grow without the limits that your company imposes on you. Try to determine your existing impact and plan for the future.

Here are the frameworks I am already aware of:

P.S.: You don't need to learn another programming language every three months.

Alright, now onto what I have shared over the last two weeks.

What I Published Over Last Two Weeks

I published one podcast episode and two articles.

🎙 The Software Architect Role | Systems & Architectural Thinking - 1

The new episode of my podcast, Software World, is live! In this episode, I have no guest for the first time. I had mentioned The Role of Software Architect and shared my mind map in this newsletter before. Now, with this episode, I talked about it altogether. The episode is shorter than the previous ones. So, please give it a listen and let me know how you like it!

✍️ "Why Can't This Be Done Sooner?"

The question, "Why can't this be done sooner?" by Larry Page makes you deeply understand the approach you're taking, question it, find the gaps in your knowledge, and analyze the risks better so that you make an informative decision while moving faster.

✍️ A Life without Problems - The Happiness

In a blink of an eye, we're happy. We may be achieved a goal or finalized a project. These kinds of happiness usually last for one blink, maybe two, but not forever. The important part is that accepting we will always have problems. Then, we can choose which problems we should care about the most.

End Note

As always, if you are enjoying Mektup, I would love it if you shared it with one or two of your friends. You can send them directly here to sign up. They will get this issue as a gift when they sign up. I try to make Mektup one of the best and actionable emails that you get to grow your software engineering and leadership career.

Newsletter Last Updated: Jan 15, 2022