Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

IC4 Quality Engineer

I autonomously improve the quality process exercised by my group and drive very broad or highly technical projects

Scope Area of ownership and level of autonomy / ambiguity

  • I own and deliver semi-annual/annual goals for my team.
  • I am an expert at identifying the right solutions to solve ambiguous, open-ended problems that require tough prioritization.
  • I define technical solutions or efficient operational processes that level up my team.

Collaborative Reach Organizational reach and extent of influence

  • I am a strong leader for my team with my impact beginning to extend outside my team
  • I increasingly optimize beyond just my team by driving cross-team or cross-discipline initiatives

Impact Levers Technical levers typically exercised to achieve business impact

  • Technical Strategy - I play a key role in setting medium-to-long term strategy for business-impacting projects.
  • Project Leadership - I autonomously define and deliver technical roadmaps of larger projects, often involving cross-team dependencies.
  • 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

🏆 Results


  • I deliver many of my team’s goals on time and with a high standard of quality
  • My understanding of the business context and my team’s goals enable me to have the greatest customer impact and allows me to make independent technical decisions in the face of open-ended requirements
  • 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 — potentially having broader business impact across teams or products
  • I take responsibility for my decisions, and 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, and focusing on the solutions
  • I respond with urgency, and drive urgency in my team to operational issues (e.g., SEVs), owning resolution within my sphere of responsibility
  • I actively seek out and eliminate sources of toil on the team and help reduce the impact of KTLO and SEVs
  • I am unafraid of declaring a SEV when needed

Decision Making

  • I make informed decisions by having productive debate with the right stakeholders, seeking diverse perspectives, balancing details with the big picture, and optimizing for the company
  • I understand the implications of my decisions and adjust my approach based on the impact and risk (e.g. choosing a more iterative approach based on the degree of uncertainty with respect to product fit, while maintaining a view of the long term arc needed to accomplish business goals)
  • I leverage insights about customers to inform decisions, balancing value for the customer with other business goals
  • I make timely decisions and don’t cut corners that would compromise my customer’s trust

🌟 Direction


  • I embrace change and adapt quickly to it
  • I remain resilient through change by staying calm under pressure and taking care of my well-being
  • I navigate ambiguity by focusing on the greater purpose, goals, and desired impact to move forward one step at a time


  • I have a growth mindset and am comfortable experimenting with new approaches, learning, owning the outcomes, and sharing what I learned
  • I am beginning to push boundaries to generate and implement ideas that aim to drive our products and tools forward
  • I set audacious goals, take risks, and share lessons learned


  • I define the technical roadmap for impactful multi-phase projects, refining it as the projects progress to deliver customer value quickly, and provide leadership for the people executing on the project
  • In partnership with my manager I define my team's priorities and secure buy-in by engaging stakeholders, and aligning with company priorities and customer needs
  • I generate excitement for my/the team's strategy

🌳 Talent

Personal Growth

  • I proactively ask for feedback from my manager, team, and cross-functional stakeholders. I know my strengths, and identify ways to take actions on my development areas
  • I have self-awareness and connect with others with empathy
  • I drive discussions with my manager about aspirational goals and seek out opportunities to learn and grow (e.g., PGP, Dropbox-offered training, leveraging perks allowance etc.)

Team Development

  • I model integrity and a high standard of excellence for my work. I leverage this to set and hold the bar for quality and best practices for my team (e.g. via code and design reviews)
  • I identify and support areas of growth for my teammates that take into account their unique skills, strengths, backgrounds and working styles
  • I solicit and offer honest, constructive, direct, and actionable feedback that is delivered with empathy to help others learn and grow into the next level
  • I actively contribute to interviewing, and gain the trust of candidates and can represent Dropbox's mission, strategy, and culture throughout the interview process
  • I am able to represent my team’s technical challenges to potential candidates in a compelling way (e.g. 1:1 sell chats, blog posts, public speaking)

🌈 Culture


  • I promote and role model Dropbox core values, leading by example
  • I build relationships and drive coordination across teams & disciplines, helping get to positive outcomes
  • I proactively communicate and coordinate my team’s requirements with other groups and teams in engineering
  • I am effective at working with cross-functional stakeholders to identify technical blindspots and clarify ambiguity in their ideas
  • I engage in productive conflict with thoughtful questioning and have the courage to state my point of view
  • I avoid blame and solve the right problems, disagreeing and committing when necessary to move decisions forward

Organizational Health

  • Working with my manager, I leverage the unique strengths & skills of the members of my team, and help identify talent gaps required for team success
  • I enable others to bring their authentic selves at work and contribute to building community at Dropbox
  • I ensure diverse perspectives are included, leveraging inclusive meeting practices
  • I practice the Dropbox Diversity Commitments on a regular basis
  • I champion good virtual first practices that help my team collaborate effectively
  • I help shape the Dropbox engineering culture through my involvement with activities outside of my team (e.g. presenting tech talks, participating in Eng RFCs, creating interview questions, planning hackweek)


  • I communicate with clarity, brevity, focus, and tailor my message to my audience presenting it at the right altitude
  • I proactively share information so the relevant stakeholders are informed and aligned
  • I seek to listen and understand others
  • I am effective in holding crucial conversations even when uncomfortable
  • I influence stakeholders across a variety of audiences

Culture Leader

  • I act as a partner to my manager in setting the cultural tone for the team. I support an environment of psychological safety where all Dropboxers are included and heard to support connection, empathy, and productive conflict where dissenting opinions are valued and addressed
  • I help my team network and build relationships across Dropbox, creating connection and inclusion across my team and with other teams

🦉 Craft

Software Design

  • The expectations for L3 Software Design are still applicable here (though some specialist engineers may go deep in this area)
  • I am able to give quality feedback on technical designs for both feature and test infrastructure designs written by cross-functional partners (ex: can include development of multiple features/components together) and QE peers. I ask probing, insightful questions that solidify choices and surface erroneous assumptions.
  • I effectively and quickly debug cross-module issues, and may intuit where bugs might lie due to my deep knowledge of revenue and customer impacting workflows.

Architecture Design

  • I am able to deeply understand technical designs with multiple components interacting across API or system boundaries. I effectively build and execute test scenarios that uncover technical bugs/failures between components. Based on my deep knowledge of the features/infrastructure/tooling supporting features in my products, I’m able to surface risks and potential mismatches in expectations between system components.
  • I effectively manage quality for major feature development projects and major refactor projects reliably - including generating and reporting quality metrics/measurements, active participation in technical and design spec reviews, and surfacing and reporting on risks throughout the PDLC

Technical Strategy

  • I’m responsible for alignment of my quality practices to the overall QE team strategy, making tradeoffs where appropriate in consultation with my Engineering Manager.

Quality Engineering Fluency

  • The expectations for L3 Quality Engineering fluency are still applicable here (though some specialist engineers may go deep in this area)
  • Partnering with my EM, I identify and develop high impact quality management strategies that will have a lasting impact on my QE teams ability to effectively manage quality for highly complex and ambiguous projects.
  • I effectively engage with QE peers outside of my direct scope/team to remain in alignment on the needs of our customers and overall business goals. I use this information to inform how/when/where I deploy my quality practices.
  • I partner closely with SDET’s to develop testing & automation strategies for complex feature development cycles that have a heavy dependency on test automation and require non-traditional approaches to quality management
  • I look for ways to simplify quality practices and participate in technical discussions on how to simplify feature code and test infrastructure. I prioritize tasks that lead to increased quality process efficiency and developer productivity.
  • I can find ways to improve quality management efficiency as measured by cycle time, ramp-up time, or other similar measurements.
  • I avoid re-inventing the wheel by leveraging other Dropbox solutions or off-the-shelf solutions with possible trade-offs in mind. I develop approaches and documentation that can be extended and adopted y other teams at Dropbox to increase efficiency
  • I avoid introducing toil and future maintenance work by proactively avoiding scaling issues and providing adequate documentation.
  • I actively contribute to the quarterly/annual strategic planning for my direct QE team.
  • I have built/maintained relationships with cross-functional partners that allow me to effectively participate in product planning sessions where I successfully have quality initiatives prioritized as first class items that are actioned against with the right level of urgency an investment.

Quality Assessment

  • I independently drive a set of quality metrics/measurements that align with my QE team goals and have impact that reach beyond my direct QE team to influence QE department goals and priorities, and may impact cross-functional team goals as well.

Test Automation & Infrastructure

  • I effectively advocate for automation framework extensions that will lead to more efficiency in my quality management process
  • I effectively troubleshoot and surface issues to SDETs regarding the automation scripts I consistently run as part of my feature development and regression testing cycles

Business Acumen

  • I engage in listening sessions (All Hands, Quarterly Business Updates, etc.) to increase my learning and guide my work/priorities
  • I have a working knowledge of Dropbox’s org/team structure and how teams work together across Dropbox, and am able to help my team effectively collaborate effectively with other teams across our org