Dropbox Engineering Career Framework

IC4 Reliability Engineer

I autonomously deliver business impact by leading multi-phase, cross-team reliability efforts across a team, broad product capability or technical system

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

Decision Making

  • I make informed decisions by consulting the right stakeholders and balancing details with the big picture
  • 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 but don’t cut corners that would compromise my customer’s trust

🌟 Direction


  • I embrace change and adapt quickly to it
  • I’m able to navigate ambiguity and remain resilient through ups and downs by staying calm under pressure and taking care of my overall well-being


  • 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 have a growth mindset and am comfortable experimenting, learning, and owning the outcomes


  • 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
  • I define my team's priorities and secure buy-in in partnership with my manager
  • I generate excitement for my/the team's strategy

🌳 Talent

Personal Growth

  • I proactively ask for feedback from those I work with, 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

Talent 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 skills, 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 contribute to interviewing, and gain the trust of candidates. I 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 avoid blame and solve the right problems, disagreeing and committing when necessary

Organizational Health

  • Working with my manager, I leverage the strengths & skills of the members of my team, and help identify talent gaps required for team success
  • I motivate others to bring their authentic selves every day and contribute to building community at Dropbox
  • 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 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

Culture Leader

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

🦉 Craft

I play a role in ensuring the quality of my team’s technical work, both code and software / systems designs to sustainably operate systems with high reliability. I am responsible for designing the software or systems required in my area of ownership and ensuring that they meet their reliability objectives. My understanding of business context and purpose enables me to make technical decisions aligned with longer term reliability needs, not just immediate requirements.

Systems Fluency

  • I deeply understand and can improve at least one of the impactful systems utilized at Dropbox and am considered the expert on the system or am driving improvements across many impactful systems more broadly.

Systems Design

  • I help define the team’s reliability targets (SLO/SLAs) to meet the appropriate goals for a service.
  • I can prioritize fixing major system reliability issues and with appropriate levels of failure for the next phases of the company vs daily problems.
  • I help drive the team to define the risk matrix for a service.
  • I help drive the process to onboard services in production by meeting the dropbox’s standards to build and operate services efficiently.
  • I analyze patterns in incidents and identify improvements needed in my systems in how we operate and design software.
  • I am able to create coherent designs with multiple components interacting across API or system boundaries; bugs do not creep in at the boundaries between components due to mismatches in expectations of what is technically feasible.
  • I am capable of rolling out a component or major feature (and deprecating an existing system or feature) reliably - including appropriate monitoring, paging, etc are in place, and that failure domains are understood and characterized appropriately before large scale rollout. For early stage products, I am able to roll out with an eye toward achieving learning goals untainted by poor quality.
  • I design clear success metrics and achieve those metrics consistently post-launch through the lifetime of the system. For early stage products, those success metrics may be oriented around learning goals rather than usage goals, given the inherent unpredictability of achieving product/market fit.

Code Fluency

  • The expectations for code fluency do not go up beyond L3 (though some specialist engineers may go deep in this area).