Dropbox Engineering Career Framework
IC3 Quality Assurance Engineer
I scale myself, the teams and projects I support through my expertise in testing and test planning and I leverage my expertise to drive effective quality process
Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity
Collaborative Reach
Organizational reach and extent of influence
Impact Levers
Technical levers typically exercised to achieve business impact
  • I own and deliver projects in service of quarterly goals on the team
  • I independently identify the right solutions to solve ambiguous, open-ended problems 
  • I work primarily with my direct team and cross-functional partners while driving cross-team collaboration for my project
  • Project Leadership - I define and deliver well-scoped milestones for a project. I may be a technical lead for projects on my team
  • Product Expertise - I actively keep customer needs in mind and leverage input from product stakeholders as available to determine the right technical solutions to deliver customer value quickly
  • Mentorship - I actively level up less-experienced members of my team by helping them with their craft, providing guidance, and setting a good example

trophy Results

Key Behaviors
  • I deliver some of my team’s goals on time and with a high standard of quality
  • I understand my customers, the business’s goals and my team’s goals. I ensure my work will have the greatest customer impact
  • I can identify when my results aren’t moving the needle for our business/team goals or serving the needs of customers in a meaningful way and work with manager to redirect my focus
  • I get work to a simple place by focusing on the heart of the problem and prioritizing the right things
  • I proactively identify new opportunities and advocate for and implement improvements to the current state of projects
  • I take responsibility for any failures on my project and take action to prevent them in the future. I embrace and share the learnings from those failures
  • When I encounter barriers, I unblock myself and my team by proactively assessing and eliminating the root cause 
Decision Making
  • I make informed decisions by consulting the right stakeholders and balancing details with the big picture. I execute against the spirit, and not just the letter, of the requirements
  • I understand the implications of my decisions and adjust my approach based on the impact and risk in the short and long-term
  • I make timely decisions but don’t cut corners that would compromise my customer’s trust

glowing star Direction

Key Behaviors
  • I embrace change and adapt quickly to it
  • I’m able to navigate ambiguity and remain resilient through ups and downs
  • I ask questions and contribute to new ideas/approaches
  • I experiment with new approaches and share what I learned
  • I work collaboratively with my manager to set realistic and ambitious short- and long-term goals and break them down to smaller projects for my team or myself
  • I execute the development roadmap for complex, multi-phase projects, possibly as a project tech lead

deciduous tree Talent

Key Behaviors
Personal Growth
  • I proactively ask for feedback from those I work with and identify ways to act upon it
  • I have self-awareness about my strengths and areas for development
  • I drive discussions with my manager about aspirational goals and seek out opportunities to learn and grow
  • I contribute to interviewing and assessing candidates to help us build a diverse and talented team by conducting more advanced domain-specific and leveling interviews
  • I am able to represent my team’s initiatives and goals to candidates in a compelling way
Talent Development
  • I model integrity and a high standard of excellence for my work. I leverage this to influence and establish best practices
  • I support the growth of my teammates by taking into account their skills, backgrounds and working styles
  • I solicit and offer honest and constructive feedback that is delivered with empathy to help others learn and grow

rainbow Culture

Key Behaviors
  • I build relationships across teams and help get to positive outcomes
  • I proactively communicate and coordinate my team’s requirements with other groups and teams in engineering
  • I am capable of working with cross-functional stakeholders to identify technical blindspots and clarify ambiguity in their ideas.
  • I avoid blame and solve the right problems, disagreeing and committing when necessary
Organizational Health
  • I contribute to a positive sense of community on the team (e.g. engage in team lunches, team offsites, and other group activities, help with new-hire on-boarding)
  • I listen to different perspectives and I cut biases from my words and actions 
  • I practice the Dropbox Diversity Commitments on a regular basis
  • I tailor my message to my audience, presenting it clearly and concisely at the right altitude
  • I proactively share information so the right people are informed and aligned
  • I foster effective communication across the team and promote inclusive meeting culture

owl Craft

At this level, I drive medium-to-large projects that could span multiple quarters, potentially across multiple teams and multiple QA Engineers. I drive process improvements within each of the teams that I work with and may take on quality improvement projects that impact the larger organization. I often lead the quality direction of my team.
QA Collaborative Reach at L3 
QA Engineers typically support multiple teams, sometimes at the scope of an area.  
Key Behaviors
Testing Fluency
  • My testing is informed by knowledge of architecture/implementation of a feature and consistently avoids redundant testing or unnecessary testing
  • My test cases includes thorough edge cases, including those not explicitly called out in the spec (possibly written through the use of code inspection or through boundary testing principles etc…)
  • I have a deep understanding of the surface area under test and its integration points and use it to craft highly targeted and accurate test coverage
  • I have deep expertise in one or more types of testing (e.g. frontend, backend, automation, usability, or a specific platform) and some familiarity with other types of testing
  • I can consistently point out non-obvious flaws or under-specified scenarios in a spec
  • I can consistently notice bugs that are not obviously incorrect behavior (e.g. the embedding of incorrect assumptions)
  • I can sometimes identify and explain the root cause of bugs in areas where I have domain expertise
  • I provide highly valuable test case review in areas I have some familiarity with
  • I have a basic understanding of test automation, which tests should be automated vs. run manually and  provide basic guidance on how specific tests should be automated (e.g. unit test, end to end test)
Testing Strategy
  • I independently identify high risk projects that I should embed in. I am learning to execute using an engagement model where I provide the right level of impact to projects by varying levels of support. 
  • I drive and plan testing of projects that could span multiple quarters, potentially across multiple teams and multiple QA Engineers
  • I am able to drive the creation of a quality bar for complex launch reviews with assistance of senior leaders (Product DRI, Eng TL, Local QA TL,  etc.).
  • I am able to propose and advise on reasonable quality metrics for the projects I work on with assistance of senior leaders (Product DRI, Eng TL, Local QA TL,  etc.).
  • I am able to prioritize test coverage via subtle criteria (e.g. technical component breakdown) or appropriately balancing multiple different criteria
Quality Process Strategy
  • I understand and establish the right quality processes for my team given the challenges they’re facing
  • I notice and appropriately address quality process or testability gaps on a team, including getting buy-in from the team to address these problems
  • I identify and drive to resolution impactful quality process improvements 
  • I may drive quality processes across multiple teams, not just the ones I am assigned to
  • I am capable of taking on highly impactful quality-related work that is not being done on the team even if it is beyond the scope of traditional QA responsibilities
Quality Assessment
  • I proactively and clearly report status and quality risks to partners and teams for the projects I own, leverage quality metrics, and can effectively distill this data from other QAEs and/or Developers. 
  • I detect and alert the team to important risks they are unaware of and work with the team to develop solutions to those risks 
  • I notice up front and compellingly advocate for addressing quality risks on my project (e.g. compressed timelines, untestable components) before they become a problem
Quality Advocacy
  • I effectively teach and explain basic Testing Strategy principles to the cross functional members of the development team, enabling them to take on this work for low risk projects with minimal support
  • I provide clarity and principles regarding which bugs should be fixed
  • I show strong customer empathy and use it to argue for improving product flows or experiences that are non-obviously flawed
  • I effectively leverage the data from quality metrics to advocate for customer impacting product improvements